Art as a discipline extends to many pursuits, among them are music, dance, drama, creative writing, painting and sculpture. SoMi Magazine continues its focus on those who share their artistic talents with the community.
Tabitha Thomas lives among her creations in silk. In her living room, a clothing rack adorned with her expertly-colored silk skirts and a mannequin draped with one of her signature body scarves coexist with her sofa and chairs. Rolls of undyed silk await her attention to be transformed into unique articles of clothing using the ancient Japanese technique of shibori.
Shibori, a practice of dyeing cloth, first immerged in Japan in the 8th century. Several methods are used to create patterns in color on cloth. There are an infinite number of ways in which to achieve a variety of patterns by binding, twisting, stitching or compressing the cloth when dyeing it. Children of the sixties may think of this technique as tie-dyeing, but in the hands of a skilled artist like Tabitha, it is nothing like those old tee shirts we used to wear.
Tabitha has a workshop where she sews the clothing on industrial grade sewing machines.
“I enjoy the solitude of sewing and making beautiful pieces. I like to create contrast with colors,” said Tabitha.
For 20 years, Tabitha designed and manufactured wedding dresses and hand-painted silks. For her, the childhood hobby of sewing became a lucrative profession and a successful business. In time, the market declined and there was piracy of her designs and techniques to battle. Now she works from home, inspired by designs from antique pattern books, dyeing fabric, and stitching silk fashions laid and sewn on the bias (resulting in a soft, flowing drape of fabric).
The artist sells her line at art shows and was judged “an artist of note” at the 2008 South Miami Rotary Art Festival. One of the most popular items is her body scarf. Designed to be worn in a number of ways, the body scarf can hang simply from the shoulders or be draped by knotting, tying, or worn over one shoulder. The body scarf can be worn with jeans or as an accent piece that is part of an elegant outfit. They also flatter every kind of figure.
Tabitha says that she derives great satisfaction when she sees the response from those who wear her clothing.
“They not only look beautiful, they tell me how beautiful the clothing makes them feel, too,” said Tabitha.
A resident of South Miami, Tabitha has been living here for 27 years. She has two children, both of whom are involved in the arts.
“I grew up here and returned after living in Europe. I worked at Claudia’s Boutique on Sunset for about five years,” said Tabitha.
She likes South Miami because it is accessible, friendly, inviting, and you can walk anywhere. She also believes that this is a great place to raise children.
Tabitha’s body scarves are featured on her Facebook page: www.facebook.com/BodyScarves. For more information, please contact the artist at [email protected].