Diane Kuehn
Specializing in Wearable Art

“My natural curiosity drives me to constantly try new things. The possibilities are endless.” 

Cloth has historical roots and ethnic flavors that excite me. My lifelong appreciation and love of handmade textiles motivated me to explore historical and contemporary methods for embellishing cloth. For as long as humans have worn clothes, we have looked for ways to make them esthetically beautiful. 

My inherent curiosity and love for learning set me on a path to study under some top international artists.  Recently I traveled to Japan to explore their centuries-old textile traditions and studying the art of Shibori, which involves folding and binding fabric to create resists, resulting in intricate patterns and textures when dyed.  Witnessing their culture, learning the history, practicing the art, and meeting local artisans was one of the highlights of my life. Although I practiced Shibori before going to Japan, it is now cemented in my designs.  It would take a lifetime to learn and master yet a fraction of these methods.

Once I became intrigued by the effects of eco printing actual pigments from leaves and flowers onto cloth, my love for natural dyes evolved and is now reflected in my contemporary interpretations. Natural dyes combined with the unpredictable nature of eco printing leaves and flowers produce striking botanical prints that often offer surprises when plant pigments are transferred to fabric via direct contact and heat.  Because many variables affect the outcome of natural dyes, knowledge of their use was starting to be lost as modern commercial dyes were invented. Whereas modern mass-produced textiles require the consistency of commercial dyes, natural dyes are perfect for creating one of a kind pieces for artists. Although I use other professional artist dyes as well, I fell in love with the historical nature and complexity of natural dyes and continue to experiment in my work with the gorgeous color palette only nature can produce.

My enthusiasm for learning also brought me to a local polymer clay guild meeting, where I soon discovered how versatile clay can be. It allowed me to create unique one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces that are complementary to my fiber work. I offer a line of polymer clay magnetic scarf brooches and other jewelry, which perfectly accent my hand dyed wearable fiber. An emphasis on color, textures and patterns can be found throughout my work.  

ECO PRINTING is a direct contact printing technique. After collecting many of the leaves in my own garden, the pigments in the plants are transferred to fabric with direct contact and heat. Colors and effects vary based on the mordants and natural dyes used, stage of leaf growth, growing conditions, water PH, etc. The unpredictable nature of eco-printing ensures each piece is truly an original.

SHIBORI, meaning to wring, squeeze and press, is an ancient Japanese art of shaping cloth to create patterns and textures.  Traditionally, the main dye used was indigo and to a lesser extent, madder root.  Both of these are natural dyes.  My modern and traditional Shibori patterns are created using various natural dyes and also professional quality artist dyes.