Sylvia Riley creates art that you can wear. Starting with plain natural fabric such as silk or fine wool, she individually dyes it, creates a pattern, cuts and stitches, so that what you are buying is an absolutely one-off creation.
Sylvia started painting on silk 15 years ago, setting up her business, Silksational, which still creates fabrics for dresses, undertakes private commissions, sells supplies and offers training. However, her aim was to be able to create a piece of clothing from start to finish, so she built on the skills she learned from her mother and grandmother and enrolled in TAFE to learn the art of drafting and cutting patterns and sewing them.
Sylvia can now make the claim that she is an artist, designer and dressmaker, which is an impressive portfolio of skills, all poured into Sylvia Riley Designs, whose range we will be welcoming back to the Handmade market this weekend.
Sylvia enjoys the process of what she calls “slow textiles”, taking time to develop her pieces so they are not only unique, but perfectly crafted. She also takes sustainability very seriously, having refined her dyeing process to be safe for her, the wearer and the environment. She uses natural dyes such as madder, pomegranate and indigo and when the colour can only be found in synthetic form, she ensures that it leaves no residue.
Hailing from Smithfield in Sydney, Sylvia only travels to Canberra for Handmade, so we can claim exclusivity. While she’s here, she loves the wholesome feel of Canberra and its green and open spaces, finding a calmness in walking the galleries, paths and landscapes. Hopefully it will provide more inspiration for her beautiful fabrics so we can welcome her many more times in the future.