The current pandemic has had a positive outcome for Jen Ken, a self-professed performer, playwright, photographer, traveler, and hyphenate-addict; it has given her time to pursue her passion for modern colorful tie-dye. Not only this, but it has also prompted her to open an Etsy shop called ScarletDarter. And the business is simply booming!
According to Ken, she adopts the shibori technique to create her patterns. This Japanese method of dyeing, also known as the shape-resist technique, entails dyeing patterns by twisting, binding, wrapping, folding, and stitching. However, it’s the choice of colors and patterns that puts her creations in a league of their own.
Ken, who’s based in California, USA, says on her website, “I’ve been practicing shibori techniques a lot since the pandemic landed in the states. It has been the only way to direct my focus away from anxious thoughts since social distancing and safer-at-home guidelines have utterly suspended the rhythm of life.”
It goes without saying that this artist has turned the shibori technique into fine art. To create her designs and patterns, she first folds the fabric like an accordion and repeats this after folding the fabric once again. She then places it between two pieces of wood or any flat shaped object and binds the two together by means of a string or rubber bands. She then dips the bound fabric in the chosen colors to obtain her stunning designs and patterns.
Ken is inspired by the natural world and the diversity of colors she finds in nature. It stimulates her to create newer fabric folds and patterns and fuels her desire to explore the full range of colors and palettes. She has been able to achieve a more consistent vibrancy in her colors and discovered new resist methods to create cool patterns. Through all this, she endeavors to stay relevant to modern tastes.
Ken is keen to show her technique through her craft videos but has not found the time for it. For now, one can pick and choose from her wide range of collections on her Etsy shop.