Dara Dammann is a natural textile designer and stylist based in Vancouver. We first discovered her beautiful work when it was tied around a bouquet by the lovely Nassi Soofi (talented girl bosses do often flock together). Dara's one-of- a-kind designs are seriously gorgeous. We sat down to learn more about her creative process, and what she loves most about running Symmetry & Grace.
All photos by Britney Gill.
When did you fall in love with textile design?
I would have to say it was about six years ago when I was going to school at Emily Carr. I have always had a love for interiors, design, and of course, linen. It was when I was at school that this love became more of an obsession. My teacher Eleanor Hannan taught me that there is no right or wrong when it comes to putting colour and pattern on cloth. Charllotte Kwon also had a lot to do with my growth and passion for textiles. She is a true master when it comes to natural dyes. Being surrounded by so many knowledgeable, intelligent women, it’s no wonder I fell in love.
Where do you go to get inspiration for prints?
The ocean mostly. I grew up on the Island and am enamoured with the beach, the layers of mountains, and the palette.
Do you have any heroes in the design world?
Daniella Witte is a Swedish interior stylist and part of the team at Elle Decoration. Her design is bang-on, with super clean styles, and beautiful neutrals.
Can you give us a brief take on what is involved in creating a one-of- a-kind print? How long does it take? How dirty do your hands get?
Regardless of what it is that I am making, every piece needs to be scoured before it gets dyed (a hot water wash with an industrial detergent to pull any sizing, starches, waxes). The fabric is then tied to create a resist, soaked, and dyed. Depending on the dye or depth of shade, it can take anywhere between one to four hours to complete the dye process. I let everything rest overnight, wash and dry it again, press each piece, and go from there. If it's a scarf, I then hand-fray the edges. If it's a pillow, I cut the all the yardage and then sew each piece. With shower curtains, I trim the fabric to the appropriate size, finish the seams, and hammer in the grommets. My hands don't necessarily get all that dirty, but my textiles are a labour of love and I do everything myself. I use similar techniques to recreate resembling patterns, but every piece is a little bit different, which I think is the beauty of them.
What has been the most rewarding thing about launching Symmetry & Grace?
Receiving photos of my textiles in other peoples’ homes. I don't think that will ever get old.
Do you have any tips for those thinking of starting their own business?
Be patient with yourself and the process—good things take time!
How do you unwind when you’re not hard at work?
I love to share a bottle of something fabulous with my man and watch him make dinner. It's the best.
Which natural beauty rituals do you swear by?
Exercise, water, and eating well. Champagne is natural too, right?
To learn more about Symmetry & Grace and find where to get your hands on Dara’s textiles, visit symmetryandgrace.com.
Thank you, Dara!