THE ART OF
by Jo Ann Manzone, Marta Marthas and Darlene Southworth
46 Ashland Gallery Guide
maple, oak, black walnut, sumac and
eucalyptus found right in Ashland.
I print on cotton, wool and silk utilizing
my knowledge of mordants to exact
vibrant and varied color.
My most recent exploration has been
the use of natural dye paste to create
additional surface design. I teach
natural dyeing and printing at Ashland
Art Center. My creative focus combines
natural elements with felt and fabric to
create unique textiles.
Jo Ann Manzone’s, “Oak Fantasy,”
2017, Hand dyed dupioni silk, dyed in
logwood and printed with oak leaves.
“Marauder’s Map,” 2016
in progress detail.
Background is silk fabric
hand-dyed with freshleaf
foreground is oak leaf
tannin and rust marked
cotton voile, hand-stitched
with black silk thread.
Jo Ann Manzone: I was attracted to
the recycling movement in the 1970’s
and since then have been mindful of
using what my immediate environment
has to offer and avoiding wasteful
practices in my art. I am a fiber artist
using natural and recycled fibers. My
interest in natural dyeing was piqued
in 2013 after attending a workshop with
Polly Stirling, a felter and natural dyer.
Polly opened my eyes to an array of
plants that offer a range of colors and
shades for dyeing.
I’ve learned many variables
of the natural dyeing
process: the seasonality
and habitat of the harvested
plants, the type of mordants
used to fix or change color,
and the type of cloth being
dyed and printed. Even
when controlling for these
variables, the results can
be unexpected and often
exciting! My favorite leaves
to print are the tannin-rich
dyes from plants
filled with surprises.
A renewable resource,
natural dyes help reduce
our carbon footprint
and provide a way to
reduce the toxins we
put near our bodies. In
this article three artists
from Ashland Art Center
share their experience
with natural dyeing and