Photos by David Ellis
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Ashley Dias, like so many others, found herself suddenly spending more time at home. Although the self-taught artist had been painting abstracts on canvas for a few years, she decided to use that additional time to pick up a new hobby: fiber art. While she began by knotting macrame, her explorations soon turned to creating beautiful handcrafted, dip-dyed wool tapestries.“I felt like the dip-dyeing process incorporated more of my painting background,” explains Dias, who sold her first piece to a fellow painter before launching her own company, Bad Scandi.
Crediting both her company name and fondness for minimalist design and neutral colors to her own Scandinavian heritage, Dias finds inspiration for her work in nature, landscapes, and organic motifs. Each of her tapestries features hundreds of soft wool strands that are carefully cut, hand-dyed, and suspended from a wooden panel to form subtle patterns, which create a work of art perfect for adding warmth and interest to any space. “I often see them hung above beds and sideboards, and the larger ones make great statement pieces on blank walls,” says Dias. “They lend a layer of texture, but more than that, they inspire a sense of calmness and peace.”
Describe the process of creating one of your fiber art tapestries.
If it’s a commission, I first consult with the client on sizing and design, and I draw up a design on my iPad for them to approve. The first official step is processing the wood—my husband helps with that—which we do in our garage. Then I measure and cut the yarn, adhere everything to the wooden panel, and start the dip-dyeing process. I do all my dyeing downstairs, and that typically takes a few weeks depending on how many colors there are.
On average, how many strands are in one of your tapestries?
Probably about 800 to 1,000 in each. They’re not thin tapestries—they’re fluffy and dense with a lot of strands packed in there!
What do you enjoy most about the creative process?
I love when I bring a new tapestry upstairs to trim it. The clean edges can really transform a work. I also love putting the finished product on display in my bedroom or dining room, and styling it since the decor and setting can really maximize its effect.
What do you hope people take away from your work?
I hope my work helps inspire people to create a home that feels like them. One coastal-themed tapestry I did was for a couple who live in North Carolina, and the design was based off scenery from where they got married on the beach. I love those kinds of personal connections.
What is one of your favorite pieces?
There’s a large tan/brown ombre tapestry on my website’s homepage—that one was 6 feet wide and 4 feet long, and it’s currently hanging in Makiaj Beauty, a bridal beauty store in Arizona. The client was inspired by the phrase, “Beauty has no skin tone,” so the cream/tan/brown ombre design really speaks to her company’s philosophy.
What’s on the horizon for you and Bad Scandi?
My next tapestry is a mountain landscape inspired by Alaska. Then I’m going to continue going through my list of custom commissions, and I also plan on working on some new designs for my winter release.