In June I attended CAMP, a business conference for creatives held at a summer camp in Big Bear, California. We spent our days taking foraging lessons and even mixology classes—this was not the camp of my youth!—but the workshop that probably captivated me the most was indigo-dyeing with Jennifer Parry Dodge. Under the moniker ERMIE, named after her great aunt who supported her artistic endeavors, Parry hand-dyes textiles, clothing, and accessories in the yard of her Highland Park home (which she notes is now appropriately spatter-painted). Go here to listen to my interview on this week’s show.
With ombré fabrics and tie-dyed fashions swirling around style-savvy women everywhere this summer, Parry Dodge’s designs are in-demand, and her new collection, which hits the internet this week, features many collaborations with other local artists, textile-makers and fashion designers.
I met with Parry Dodge in her Eagle Rock studio, which is layered with the bright colors and psychedelic textures of both completed pieces and works-in-progress. She often uses natural indigo dye, made from a plant that produces those brilliant blues, but is currently experimenting with cochineal, a dye made from insects who feast on prickly pear fruits, resulting in a dazzling pink color. (And gives a whole new meaning to the term “bug juice.”)
Her work relies on hand-dyeing as well as traditional Japanese shibori methods, sometimes simply “painting” the dye on like a watercolor canvas or spattering colors like Jackson Pollock. But she also uses digital techniques to photograph and reproduce her designs, turning them into large-format patterns and prints. In this way, she very much has one foot (hand?) in both tradition and technology—perpetuating a craft as old as civilization yet exploring new boundaries for its application.
For her DnA Design Pick, Parry Dodge has made the ERMIE Milky Way Blanket exclusively for KCRW, appropriately named for the way the dyed and drizzled indigo evokes a distant galaxy. Parry Dodge custom-dyes the Milky Way Blanket in her Highland Park backyard, so each blanket will have its own personality. The soft, raw-edge blanket is made from 100% washed felted wool. Please allow four weeks for creation and delivery.
Approximately 64″ X 48″, 100% washed felted wool. Dry clean only. Dyed by hand by the designer using natural indigo. Made in Los Angeles.
Here are some more images from the newest ERMIE collection, which you can purchase directly from her website.
DnA Design Picks: A commissioned series of art and design objects by up and coming designers – limited edition, one-of-a-kind, and exclusive items, available to KCRW supporters at the KCRW Store.