INSIDE SARAH TREMAINE DESIGN
I grew up in rural Connecticut, my lazy summers by a reservoir and endless walks in the forest created a deep love of nature in me. My school years were a dyslexic's challenge; it took me until college to figure out how to study and love learning. Once I found how much I loved the sciences, I started to thrive in college earning degrees in Biology, Ecology, and a Doctorate in Environmental Science at UVA. After doing a post-Doc in Oslo, Norway, I came back to Charlottesville to work for an environmental consulting firm, leading a biotechnology group, remediating soils, groundwater and surface water of hazardous contaminants. This work was challenging and deeply satisfying - like being a doctor for the planet.
I started my life of craft with sewing clothes - learning from my mother on her old Singer. My grandmother and mother were needle-pointers - but somehow I gravitated to embroidery and in high school, I started knitting. Knitting really took over in my late 20's.
I started knitting professionally in 2006. For ten years, I worked part-time on my art, knitting, felting and Nuno felting various scarves, accessories and home decor items, for sale at local boutiques. In 2016, I decided to go all-in, took business classes and built my business - always developing new techniques, methods and designs!
Nuno felted garments are made by wet (water) felting wool roving into lightweight natural fabrics, such as silk. Roving is wool that has been washed and carded, but has not spun into yarn. The process was developed by an Australian fiber artist (Poly Stirling) around 1992; she used the Japanese word “nuno”, meaning cloth, to describe this method of creating a dimensionally stable, very light weight, handmade fabric from these two materials.
I use a number of different base silk fabrics, such as silk chiffon, silk habotai, and silk gauze. The nuno felted garments I make have a wonderful, light feel and drape, due to the specific layout techniques I use AND these garments are seamless & most can be worn reversibly. I have taken workshops from the finest felt designers: Marjoline Arsenault, Fiona Duthie & Charity VanDerMere. I owe them many thanks for their generosity.
All Sarah Tremaine Design garments are washable (see the another section for videos).
Botanical Printing & Natural Dyeing
All cultures have dyed or decorated fabric/ clothing/ cave walls since time in-memorial. Botanical Printing (AKA: Eco Printing) is a process where by the natural pigments in plant material (leaves, twigs, flowers, berries, roots, etc) are transferred to & mark fabric - leaving an imprint of the plants, themselves. Methods for eco printing were published by Australian fiber artist, India Flint, which has since been adopted and elaborated on by many artists.
In recent years, both eco printing and natural dyeing have been revived and techniques refined creating garments with beautiful natural colors using plants and non-toxic solutions that are readily available – soap, vinegar, steam, tannin and iron solutions, etc. All eco printed and naturally dyed fabrics maybe slightly less color-fast than those chemically dyed (think indigo-dyed blue jeans vs blue chinos) - but it is a small trade-off to have non-toxic clothing.
I have been fortunate to have been able to attend eco print and dyeing workshops with master eco printers Irit Dulman and Kathy Hayes as well as learning from French master natural dyer Michel Garcia and Catherine Ellis.
All Sarah Tremaine Design garments are hand washable (see another About section for more information).