Fernanda Mascarenhas is a textile artist, natural dyer, performer, and graphic designer from São Paulo, Brazil. She began her artistic journey through dance. After graduating at the University, she started working as a graphic designer. At the same time, Fernanda cultivated her artistic career as an interdisciplinary performer, before falling irrevocably in love with natural dyeing.
In 2016, she started researching natural dyeing to develop a costume for her performance work. This costume won a prize, which enabled her to travel to Japan to learn more about traditional ways of natural dyeing and weaving. Since then, Fernanda has been focusing on making textile art based on ancient techniques of natural dyeing with plants. Whilst a large inspiration comes from Japanese culture, the locally grown Brazilian plants have been the main material and passion for Fernanda. Now she lives in New Westminster, Canada and looks forward to knowing the colours of Canadian plants in a deeper way.
Once I was asked how I shifted from performance to natural dyeing since it must be quite different. I think that my work is the answer to this question. I see our bodies as nature and, other than approach or technique, there is not much difference to me in how we use and navigate our bodies within a larger cycle of nature.
My work is inseparable from my body and my environment. I use as a material what I can achieve and glean: plants, fabric, paper, thread, and my body. I don’t search for the ideal hue to express myself. My way is quite the opposite: plants offer to me their colours and shapes. Then I use the results to compose my work. I try to recollect feelings about the place that the plants came from. When I stitch the scraps of fabric to compose the whole work, it seems that I can breathe that unique instant, that unique place.
In both textiles and performance, I try to catch the impermanent and ephemeral pulse of life, imprint on fabric or body, levels of memory to reveal the nature around us.