Raglan artist Jean Carbon’s silk art amazed Tauranga

Raglan artist Jean Carbon’s recent exhibition of her silk art and designed fashion in Tauranga was ravishingly received.  

The July to August two weeks exhibition at the Art Lounge NZ attracted hundreds of visitors, including fashionistas interested in Carbon’s unique textile design.  The exhibition titled “Reflection on Dawn” featured hanging drops of silk displaying a soft flow of mandarin colour, with swathes of silk floating gently in the air.

“I was inspired by the colours of sunrise experiences on the clifftops near my Raglan home” explained Carbon who has been involved with the Raglan art scene for many years and is known for her contribution as organiser of the popular Raglan Art to Wear event. 

After sixteen years teaching fabric technology, Jean Carbon completed a Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Technology at AUT in Auckland and continued on teaching her unique technique from her beautiful purpose-built studio in Raglan. Students can stay in separate self-contained accommodation next to her Raglan home whilst participating in Jean’s live-in workshops learning the art and techniques she uses.

“My passion is fabric, its history and origins, and the many ways it can be patterned, coloured and decorated to create garments or works of art,” 

Carbon’s textile art and fashion utilises Shibori, an ancient technique of resist dying, and clamp blocking to pattern sumptuous silk fabrics. Carbon enjoys travelling the world to obtain her fabrics from places such as Tanzania, learning the art of Shibori from traditional craftspeople while staying with them in remote villages. Carbon often combines her love of mountaineering with her fabric pursuits. She has been a regular guide on the Silk Road.  Carbon generally works with silk, finding it to be a perfect medium with its range of weights and textures to allow a large array of colours, effects and textures both vibrant and subtle. 

“Although this form of dyeing is rather labour intensive it enables a more targeted approach towards the pattern design and its placement into a unique fashion garment or piece of art” she clarified.

Her work, which also includes scarves, cushions and garments, is sold and exhibited throughout New Zealand and she is available for bespoke commissions of artworks and one-off garments.