Maximal Natural Dyes / Frank Connet
As a former Sewing Seeds intern where natural dyes and natural dye plants are grown, taught, and written about frequently, it was with a heavy heart that I found myself on my worst dyeing days googling Frank Connet on my walks home from the studio. I would be reassured that non-blotchy, full, brilliant dyes are possible when they are consistently and repetitively prepared correctly.
All of Connet’s pieces are shibori-bound, naturally dyed, cut and pieced, lined and stretched over wooden frames. In pieces like Estuary II, Connet is clever – working up some sort of compositional magic momentum on the sly. Connet cuts up, disrupts, disperses and places wavy forms, semi-circles and half ellipses beside solid, evenly-dyed blocks of color and curvilinear lines. Chromatic rhythm meets squeaky-clean, formal rests and the entire piece hums with tonal and subtle gradients like virtuosic tempo shifts.
Connet works primarily with natural fibers like hemp and wool and runs a textile conservation facility out of his studio in the Chicago suburbs. For more information on his work, please check out his website as well as a 2007 interview with Chicagoarts-Lifestyle.com.