Exploring Natural Color: Cara Marie Piazza
Long time friend of TAC, Cara Marie Piazza, is one of those artists you could follow for the process photos alone. Photos on her Instagram show delicately dyed fabric laid against exposed brick accompanied with some bright and voluptuous fruit; it could all be the beginning of a composition for a Vanitas still life painting. Her photos make you want to move to the country, buy a barn and spend your days foraging. Cara Marie Piazza is the woman behind the naturally dyed lingerie line, Calyx Intimates, a brand created after earning her degree in Textiles at Chelsea College of Art and Design in London. She excels in the art of combining rich, romantic colors that reflect the beauty found in nature. Fabric is transformed from stark white to earthy florals and wild colors – a pattern that is simply created by experimenta
The pieces feel loved, and yearn to be loved. They are special to the wearer in the way that old world furniture or antique jewelry can be appreciated, because it was created with care and made by hand. Calyx Intimates differs from most lingerie brands in that it is not overtly sexy or uncomfortable. Cara’s brand is subtle and relaxed – a cool type of lingerie that is made from natural fibers such as cotton and silk, and dyed with natural materials. She uses unconventional materials for her dye baths; things one would see as food scraps or waste are used and transformed into works of art that tell their own story. I picture her line to be worn by someone whose plans aren’t dictated by others and wears lingerie to feel sexy for themselves, or in some movie based on a book by Jane Austen placed in present day worn by Keira Knightly or some equivalently beautiful actress. Honestly, nothing is sexier than someone who is both self confident and eco-friendly! But really, isn’t it time that we all got on the sustainability trend?
One of the most thoughtful aspects of Cara’s work is the emphasis that everything in nature has a second life. Cara gathers and harvests dye materials in New York, often going upstate to collect flowers, roots, nuts, acorns – pretty much anything found in nature that can produce color. Working and creating in New York City can at times be grey and lack many of the organic forms that are found in nature. Cara mentions drawing inspiration from nature’s grasp on urban environments, atrophy, architecture, fractal geometry, cartography, alchemical processes and as well as magic.
Cara’s dye work can also be found on the garments of other New York City based designers, such as Alex Waese and Natalie Marie Gehrels. She works in collaboration with other artists and mentions that it is extremely important, if not the most important tool as an artist, in terms of personal growth and sustainability.
Cara teaches workshops on her dye processes regularly. She teaches her method of eco bundling (bundle dyeing) as well as creating dye baths with natural materials in Brooklyn as well as Manhattan. This November and December, she’ll be hosting a series of workshops at Fort Gansevoort on Ninth Avenue in New York City. You can purchase tickets here.