Debby Henning, Zebra Arts
I have been hand dyeing fabrics for about 20 years. I love playing with colors to create new combinations. The changes in colors always surprise me. You may get completely different colors from the same batch of dye, but different fabrics. That’s what makes it interesting. I sometimes create my own scarves, which adds another layer of work, but the end results is different than the standard scarves made for dyeing.
Hand bound books are another passion. The book covers I create involve using fabric for the base. I add a treatment of texture using a variety of tools. Then layers of acrylic paint to give the depth of color and enhance the textures.
The fabric is then adhered to book boards, the paper torn down or cut, and the stitching begins. Each book takes about an hour to stitch together with the Coptic binding. The overall process for creating one book takes about 2-3 days of work. They are a work of love and enjoyment.
I love playing with color with my scarves and books and seeing what can develop, sometimes the most unusual color combinations make the greatest end results. I find this a mystery but exciting to play with and manipulate. The colors very seldom come out looking the same way twice, but that’s the challenging part of the process.
I find inspiration in everyday things that are around us, plants in the garden; the sun rising and setting; the trees as they change during the seasons. I am an avid gardener so I utilize many color combinations from my gardens in my art processes.
My dad and mom gave me the gift of being able to see every day things as art. Dad gave me the nick name Zebra as a very young child, of course I didn’t appreciate it then, but it gave me a great name for my art adventures, Zebra Arts.