Judith Bowden has been a set and costume designer in theatre for the past 25 years, she has had the privilege to work alongside and learn from an amazing creative community. Her design work has been seen across Canada. She has designed 20 seasons with The Shaw Festival. Her costume design work has also taken her to Arena Stage in Washington D.C. She started her studies in textiles and clothing design and her interest in dye and surface design techniques has been a continuing thread in much of her theatre work. She has always used hand making, dyeing, printing, stitching, knitting, quilting as part of her creative process. The pandemic has closed theatres and has currently put all theatre design projects on hold but the thinking through making has found new pathways. The exploration of place based connections has become a stronger obsession. This obsession has led to launching a small line of work around explorations into natural dyeing and contact plant printing on paper and fabrics. This work is directly connected to the plants, trees , hikes and people in the Niagara region where she makes her home with her husband Jeff Cummings, her daughter, Molly , the huge hound dog and two lovely rabbits
Sorrel and Stitchwort offers unique prints and home goods created from the plants, grasses and trees found in the Niagara region. These art works capture the natural imprints of plants found on hikes and also the annual flowers offered by local growers and florists in the area, making connections with the local environment of both landscape and people. The prints are transformed into simple fabric containers, pillows and watercolour paper prints mounted on wood boards. Each item brings natural colours, sometimes seen in watery ghosted images of the original leaves , sometimes veined detailed images of the original plant. The pieces are a captured moment of seasons and growth. They range from realistic representations to interesting patterned abstractions, all organic.