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Monday, April 6, 2015


the dresses have been made & dyed & we’ve been led to this place.  

i’m craving a sentiment that i can’t quite put my finger on.  it’s a certain mood that erases the boundaries of time.  who knows when the buildings started to crumble, the spirits left, or the roots took back their territory?  who inhabited this space before?  it’s not that i don’t have expectations, but it would be impossible to predict how today will unfold.  no doubt, there will be many offerings of place & light, but it is up to me to capture the right ones. i must wait patiently for the light.  i hope that the sunlight at the end of the day will reveal our colors of the earth … they are barely there, echoes of plants & earth.  perhaps they drew us there.

Friday, February 27, 2015

where do ruffles come from?

they are a sentiment
almost always made from simple, pure fabrics,
wavy shapes cut on the bias
laid down on curvy lines
colored & laundered & softened &
left in the sun
stitched by curiosity & not intention
by hand & by machine
there is an aesthetic that guides what they become
they start to look right when they’re a little tattered & maybe even dusty &
have become companions with the earth 
~they unlock a way in the world, 
a nostalgic view of things to come
marked with light and remembered.

Thursday, October 23, 2014


i’m not sure where i walk
or what i expect to find,
but i always anticipate
some treasure
just ahead
or maybe beneath –
next to a root or in the dark & damp,
what will its use be outside the woods?
a piece of my old oak tree,
bark that can be boiled –
my souvenir.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


 i like to think of HOMEFROCKS  as “clothes with terroir”,
 not implying that every aspect of a piece is from
 santa fe ~ our fabrics come from farther afield ~
 but that each creation is informed by the
 history & landscape of the place i live.
 i am trying to create authentic pieces
that reflect my life experience & place in the world ~
the community, the weather & the sunlight,
pieces with quality & spirit ~ 
the clothes that i want to wear.

 something compels me to photograph
 our collections amidst remote & ruined places ~
 a path is always unfolding that i try to follow as
 faithfully as I can. pairing our clothing with
 tattered haciendas throughout the southwest & colonial mexico,
a sense of high desert history seems to have emerged.

~ nancy

Thursday, February 27, 2014


native to mexico & the american southwest,  the cochineal beetle lives on
the prickly pear cactus.  if you’ve every seen prickly pear fruit, you know
the amazing color of cochineal dye ~
a brilliant pink that evokes the north american desert lands

here is the recipe we use to dye about 8 lightweight silk garments:
to make the dye ~
plan to use a 15 gallon pot for dyeing
first, add 2 oz of cochineal beetles to a 1 quart pot of water
boil for 30 minutes & strain off dye,
repeat 4 times,
add the dye liquid to the 15 gallon pot filled with water
boil your premordanted frocks ~ ( i boil the fabric or clothing in a potassium aluminum sulphate solution the day before ~ 5.5 oz in 15 gallons of water ) in the dye for 1 hour

sometimes we add vinegar to the dye bath & this yields a less bluish pink that reminds me of the shade used in south american textiles

~ nancy

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


the black walnuts i use are gathered
 at my family’s farm in pennsylvania
 every fall i look forward to the variations
 of each season’s harvest 
different shades of rich amber 
influenced by the water, the sun, & their age
an authentic resonance with the natural world
they are a personal connection 

to preserve the walnuts, i dry them in the sun

to make the dye ~

boil 15 pounds of walnuts in 4 gallons of water for about an hour,
then strain the liquid into the dye pot 
do this 6 times to fill a 15 gallon dye pot

walnut requires no mordant, but i sometimes pre-mordant with alum,
 especially if i'll  be using additional layers of botanical color

boil the wetted & cleaned fabric for about an hour, then rinse 
to see a beautiful earth & brilliant botanical color

~ nancy 

Thursday, January 9, 2014


there’s a lot we still don’t know about how a dress comes into being. modern life obliges us by delivering a bolt of silk organza paper - wrapped to our back room, and we acquaint ourselves with it, we ruffle, we tuck, we ruche, we share the fate of the fabric. forty - three spools of silk ­ thread are waiting at my right hand, to be transformed, our future.

but the dresses don’t exactly start with us, any more than a poem starts in print. the dresses don't begin when our package arrives by post, or even when i put pen to paper to trace a flutter, a flounce, a gather. but what is gathering the fabric before cloth is even involved? it is like a rhyme turning over in my mind, and it's not even words yet, just the shape of a sound, or the rhythm of a few sounds together. nothing is out loud yet. it might never be. maybe one word emerges.

i suppose the dresses can go on like that for quite a while before really getting my attention. a persistent dress eventually puts a pencil in my hand. on paper the flyaway notion approaches a phrase. to follow its meter faithfully, i need needle and thread to stitch the dress into spoken language. every flounce and pin-tuck has its origin in a stitch, no matter how tiny or hidden.

so maybe a series of stitches is becoming a slip. its progress may be mysterious. it may have to serve as its own incomplete map. i might see that a ruffle wants lengthening one minute, and the next moment i may face the flapping fabric of an immense dust - swept plaza in mexico.

the thread is still in my hand.

have i let a dress take me too far afield? it was a whisper, and nothing more. it was a couple of pretty words tacked together. it was an innocent turn of phrase. It was a couplet, a flight of fancy, and it has landed me here among the marquesas and a million barrels of mescal.

tremendous doesn't begin to describe the hacienda. abandoned doesn't quite capture it, either. inside, the hacienda is inhabited by its own winds, layers of paint and paper revealed by the breezes of time. a dusty refinement pervades.

the caretaker is in with the winds. he always finds something to sweep away. the caretaker is listening to a whisper, too, and he has made his own capture: on the display of his phone, a few delicate flourishes are visible in the dark, not much more than a flounce. he doesn't know who she was, is. she must have been of this place. or maybe this place was of hers. was, is, was. she appears to be of the same stuff as the ruffle. i try to see the photo on his phone again. just like the ruffle. a little longer, maybe, than i pictured, but as ethereal, as far - off. as near.

for me, this is an unexpected meeting. i traveled a great distance to come here. i certainly was invited. but there is no invitation to show, no formal names in antique longhand, no seal.

the thread is here, however, and the dress, and a woman wearing it. she might not know any more than we do, what we are invoking. we will be happy if we can capture even a handful of the images that turn within these colossal walls. most images are elusive! you can’t harness them. they wait for us, just out of view. they hide in time’s wrinkles!

likewise, how many flutters and seams suggest themselves to me and disappear? i can only capture a few dresses. they must be the devoted ones.