dawn michelle russell

dawn michelle russell


Dawn’s passion for textiles was nurtured as a graduate of Ryerson’s Fashion Design program and enriched through Extended Studies – Textiles at the University of the Fraser Valley.

Creating textiles that are coloured from the earth evolved from her admiration of rocky coastlines, wooded trails and gardens.

Dawn explores traditional and non-traditional techniques imitating nature’s colours, textures and patterns. Using surface design and hand weaving she transforms linen, wool, silk and paper in an impassioned, controlled process. The result is fabric for naturally unique, one-of-kind garments. Her label, Della Terra Designs, translates from Italian as ‘of the earth.’

Her work has been shown in gallery exhibitions and wearable art shows throughout the Lower Mainland and Sunshine Coast, BC; as well as in Santa Fe, NM; Holetown, Barbados and Jeon-ju, South Korea.

artist statement

My love of textiles and fibre began at age five. At my mother’s side, I learned to sew and create doll clothes.

I enjoy exploring ways to imitate textures and patterns from nature to create unexpected textiles. Working with plant extracts, rusting techniques, and other methods that evolve from earth elements, I colour and transform handwoven silk/mulberry paper, silk, or cotton textiles.

Although I made loom-shaped clothes when I first began weaving, I used typical fashion industry pattern designing and cutting methods in my sewn work. These methods create fabric waste. I shifted my designs to zero waste in 2016 and began exploring historical cloth-cutting techniques to make garments.

The Slow Cloth/Slow Fashion movement is steadily gaining momentum and changing consumers’ perspectives of fashion in the era of sustainability. As a weaver and hand dyer, I support Slow Cloth, pursuing traditional textile-making methods with uncommon materials and natural dyes to create textiles.