My materials are chosen deliberately to guide the outcome of my expression. As I delve deeper into my current exploration of a long time tradition - the art of natural dyeing (often called Eco Dyeing) - I am nurturing my connection to nature through the process of gathering plants, roots and acorns to conceptualize my designs. Art and Science intertwine as I proceed with choosing a mordant that I have made with iron, carefully bundling the elements of my composition and wrapping each chosen material tightly with string. Patience is the magic ingredient in preparing for the long steaming that can take hours. The rewards are reflected in the unique beauty of each piece of wearable art that references and celebrates nature near and far.
Born in Terrace, British Columbia, as a member of the Skwah First Nations with the Stó:lō ancestry that dates back to 1800’s, the Salish artist Sandra Prest-Froher is a descendant of her great Grandmother Tata Mary Ben, wife of (William Prest) Shiatox of the Skwah reserve in Chilliwack, British Columbia.
Sandra Froher’s abstract paintings speak to a realm of hidden truths. Her lived experiences and understanding of the world are articulated through abstracted forms and layered colours to create a visceral connection to the unseen.
The technique she employs in her contemporary abstract paintings is performed on YUPO paper infused with ink/alcohol and acrylic pigments. Using juicy colours and bold shapes to excite the mind, she channels energy through her body and blows air currents onto the pigments which interlace on paper. Through this process, spiralling layers begin to emerge, creating a surreal mixture of opulence and otherworldliness.
Sandra’s current abstract work references the hidden miracles of the subconscious mind. Her colour palette embraces metallic tones that have become intrinsic to her undertakings. Like an alchemist guided by an innate sense of knowing, her kinetic energies are materially transformed into imagery through a seemingly magical process.
Building on the prior experience of creating works of functional and wearable art, Sandra Froher is currently exploring the ancient tradition of working with natural dyes and fibres to stunning results, under her brand name Eco Tripping. Part art and part science, the process, often referred to as Eco Dyeing, involves numerous steps. One key element is the knowledge applied in foraging for natural botanical sources of dyes and pigments, the concentration and colour of which will inevitably vary between species and through the seasons. Learning and understanding how to capitalize on the properties of natural materials used as substrates for Eco Dyeing, as well as the many ways natural dyes react with various mordants, are just some of the fascinating aspects of this art-form that open up a whole world of discovery. Working with silk, tea infusions and iron mordants that she carefully prepares herself to alter and fix the dyes derived from botanicals such as eucalyptus, maple, blackberry, grape, and variety of plant matter ranging from leaves and stems to bark, roots and seeds, Sandra Froher creates one-one-of-a-kind wearable works of art that showcase as true objects of beauty.
As a multi-disciplinary artist, Sandra Froher has participated in numerous regional group, solo and two person exhibitions. and has been featured in film and print media. She resides with her family in beautiful Victoria on Vancouver Island.