Sara is always learning about plants and finding new color combinations. She enjoys utilizing her knowledge of many different techniques to create layers and layers of interesting patterns.

“Eco-print and flower pounding are kind of a direct, fast way to get color on fabric but I also do regular cooking and boiling of plant material. I forage for most of my colors or grow them in my garden at home, like irises and marigolds. You can always find browns and yellows, but reds and blues are hard to find locally so I usually buy those. I also do pre-modanting and prefixing, so that the fabric will accept the watery juicy dyes and pretreat with alum so that the plant dye will not fade or wash out. The other technique I have is very Japanese. I mix up my own soybeans and blend them into soymilk, which I then paint onto fabric.”

Sara is currently working on building a community dye garden at TwispWorks. She also teaches an intensive 2-day beginning dye class, as well as indigo dyeing, eco-printing and Shibori. Her art is available at the Confluence Gallery, Sun Mountain Lodge, the Goat’s Beard and at Local 98856’s annual Christmas sale.

To learn more about Sara Ashford’s art, natural textile dyes and to sign up for classes, visit Culler Studio on Facebook!


Sara Ashford was drawn to art from the time she was a little kid, and she studied art in college. But it was not until after college that Sara discovered textiles.

“My husband happened to buy me a spinning wheel on Valentine’s Day as a surprise. He also got me a class on spinning yarn.  Since I had babies at the time, I took the yarn I spun and started knitting crazy hats for them, and most people couldn’t get their kids to wear hats, but my kids loved them. That kind of got me going learning about fiber.”

From then on, Sara started learning all she could about textiles and fibers, and it was a defining moment when she discovered natural dyes and natural fibers. She now paints with natural dyes and earth pigments on all kinds of fabric, from wall hangings to wearable art.

Sara’s creative process begins with color and reflects her thoughtful nature.

“I let the shapes and colors start me out, and then when I see what comes out, that triggers the next part of the art and it builds on itself. I get very excited when I am putting the color on a piece, and then when I open it up later its always kind of surprising to me. From then on, I do more refined, detailed drawing on top so that’s when I get very quiet and still and let whatever my life and feelings and emotions happen to be come out into the drawing.”