Headwaters Inspired Profile: Carrole Blakeman


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Distinctive textiles using the indigo Shibori technique

Carrole Blakeman has always been an artist. Curious by nature, she attended art camps and undertook a university arts education that set the tone for a creative life.

In 1983, Blakeman pursued her interest in clay and established Fireworks, a pottery business based in Belfountain, Ontario. She began teaching her craft, and this led to a passion for educating which continues today.

From earthy clay to indigo blue

But after over twenty years of clay work, Blakeman started Copper Fox Design to give priority to her ongoing interest in working with indigo dyes and natural fabrics such as wool, cotton and linen.

That lead her to the Japanese Shibori technique where fabrics are folded and bound in various configurations before being dyed.

“I like the chaos amongst the order, the unpredictable, magic alchemy process that creates uneven repeating patterns,” said Blakeman. “Working with the Shibori shaped and resist techniques makes each piece unique.”

A following of repeat collectors

Blakeman exhibits at shows throughout Ontario. Locally, her work is available at Red Hen Gallery and Alton Mill. For the most part, she makes table linens, pillows, scarves, shawls and socks.

“I now have customers who have bought a few of my pieces and look for me at shows to add to their collections,” said Blakeman. “I’m cultivating repeat buyers. I think they enjoy it for the same reason I do. Each piece is different, the shades of blue vary, and they are practical so that you can wear or use them every day.”

An ongoing learning process

Blakeman sees herself as a process-driven artist. She enjoys exploring new techniques and trying new materials, never quite certain of the outcome. “It’s using what I already know to create something new. There’s a mystique in how each piece is made.”

Blakeman’s timing is perfect. Indigo dyed fabrics have been sizzling hot for a few years on international fashion runways. So, in addition to the Vogue magazine staples such as Givenchy, Proenza Schouler and Tory Burch, you can add the name Carrole Blakeman to the fashion trendsetters.