Hey, my name is Liz, the gal behind Silk and Stems. I first began working with flowers at the age of 17 in Boise, Idaho when I landed a dream job at a flower shop. I then moved to my friend’s flower shop and after that opened up my own floral business in my hometown Hailey, Idaho.
After being open for a short time at my brick and mortar, I met the love of my life and we conceived our baby boy. My partner had his careers as a teacher and park ranger in Twin Falls, Idaho which is now where we reside.
We were fortunate to give birth to our son in February 2020, right before the pandemic hit Idaho in March. To this day we have not used daycare. Yet, I wanted to be able to work and have my creative outlet that involved my passion, botanicals.
This is actually my third LLC business. I did merino wool woven rugs on a loom, then had a flower/retail storefront, and now I get to combine both textiles and flowers into a whole new medium; plant dyeing!
After getting inspired from some talented artists through Instagram I thought I might try my hand. I invested in pots, natural dyes, tongs, an electric burner, online courses and books to eventually -after trials and errors- accomplished what I am confident will be my new at-home business that which functions with my current life.
Some of favorite natural dyes to work with I’ve found are red pine bark, chestnut, black walnut hull, onion skins, acorn, black tea, quebracho and indigo…just to name several. Although there are still so many I have yet to explore. Eco printing is another beautiful method where I use coreopsis, cosmos, black eyed susan, goldenrod, marigold, and other flowers grown organically from my garden to capture the flower’s beauty onto fabric forever using a bundle & steaming process.
The process of dyeing with plants, flowers and even bugs (cochineal) is that of one which requires much patience, time and attending to. All is achieved in my backyard out of a shed. After an hour and a half of scouring (heating fabric in pot with water and natural detergent to clear oils, dirt, manufacturing gunk), an hour to two hours of mordanting (pouring out yellow water from scouring, adding in clean water and the mordant of my choice, then bringing to a simmer-which will help the color bind to the fabric), and then finally brewing a vat with the dyestuff I pick for the article being dyed and letting the fabric soak for an extensive time… usually a day and a half later (due to momming being my first job) the piece is complete. I usually also will run it through a quick cycle in the wash -typically w/o any detergent- just to rinse out excess dye. The masterpiece hangs to dry, and finally it is ready for wear.
Thank you for reading about parts of my journey to here.
Here is what you need to know about my partner LA Relaxed
"We want our clothing to inspire authentic and intentional choices throughout the day."
"Since 2015, we've remained committed to using only sustainable, vegan and cruelty-free materials. We produce in smaller batches to minimize waste and control quality.
Our factory is vertically integrated, meaning we make everything in house right here in downtown Los Angeles. We only work with certified mills and suppliers to ensure fair pay and treatment throughout our entire supply chain, not only under our roof.
We pride ourselves on fair wages, safety, and a collaborative environment where everyone feels valued. The ethical treatment of our employees (and all humans) is our top priority and the foundation we are built upon."
All additional textiles and materials are selected by hand by me to assure quality and sustainability