Tools of the Trade

I’m excited to announce that my friends at WE Design Studios will soon be publishing a “Coffee Cup Press” interview about my inspirations and creative process. I was finishing that up last week… be sure to keep an eye on their blog at  Sorry if you missed me - I certainly missed you! 

Having spent so much time lately on tax preparation work, it was a great feeling to put the calculator down and get back to the studio. It was nice to return to my dyes, my fabric, and my tools. One of the WE Design interview questions got me thinking about my favorite piece of equipment… 

It seems so silly - but I think that my favorite tool is actually the very humble foam brush! What can be more un-sexy than a plain grey foam brush on a plain beige wooden handle? Ah, but the colors that come off that brush after it has been dipped into a cup of dye and applied to a piece of silk! 

Though these foam brushes come in different sizes, I prefer to work with two-inch wide ones. Any smaller, and the dye is too difficult to control… And the wider brushes just don’t seem to keep contact with the silk consistently. I’ve experimented with other types of brushes, but none provide the same feeling of control that this brush does. I love the way the brush never seems to drip dyes - I can use a tiny corner to color the smallest section of silk, or create a swash of color on a large area, moving quickly and smoothly back and forth, back and forth. 

So unassuming, so matter of fact, so un-glitzy, so ready to go to work - costing about 35 cents each, these brushes last for years. From what I understand, they were created to help house painters paint trim around windows and doors; I imagine they do that job well too, but for me, I am in love with them for the way they work with the dye.


I received several lovely responses to my recent post on the new animal alphabet… I’ve chosen a few to share here: 

-Amy, massage therapist and mother of new baby Wren, wrote “I love these alphabet animals so much I am going to explode!” (And this makes me so happy!)

-Garden curator Maureen wrote and suggested V for vole - “a vegetarian version of a mole, really!” - creating a discussion on whether a Vole or a Vixen (female fox) would be more appropriate… 

-my poet niece Liz sent a wonderful photo of a Swallow Tailed Sparrow Kite she spotted in the park, and suggested this image for the ever-elusive “X” for the animal alphabet:

Thanks to everyone for your support and responses. Keep them coming - See you next week!

Response from WE Design Studios:

"Thank you so much for the kind words Rene! I’m glad you’re able to get back in the studio to create more beautiful work. We can’t wait to publish the article about you :)"