Ashford Artist of the Month – Nov 23

David, of Southern Cross Fibre, was first featured in The Wheel magazine, Issue 23 with a beautiful hand dyed, hand carded and hand spun shawl. He has been a full time dyer since 2008 and has a fabulous eye for colour and exceptional spinning and weaving skills. He is the also the reason we have the beautiful 30″ Elizabeth spinning wheel!

I hope you enjoy reading his story.


NAME: David Schulz

BUSINESS NAME: Southern Cross Fibre   

Who are you, where are you from and what do you do?

I’m David, I live in Sydney, and have been a full-time dyer since 2008.

What was your background?

I spent close to 20 years as a software engineer.

How did you get started on your fibre artist journey?

I was made redundant from my IT job and gave myself six months to turn my hobby into a full-time job and never looked back.

How did your journey evolve over time?

My mum taught us three boys to knit when we were kids, but I was the only one who stuck with it. I was lucky enough to live and work in New Zealand in the early 2000’s. It truly is a magical place and I loved every second. I lived in the South Island, so the opportunities for wearing handknits was greatly increased. This was in the age of knitting blogs and before sites like Ravelry existed. Needless to say, living in a country where sheep vastly outnumber humans, it was only a matter of time before I caught the spinning bug. I bought an Ashford Traveller wheel, some Corriedale sliver, a Romney fleece, and The Ashford Book of Spinning by Anne Field via mail order, and taught myself to spin from the black and white photos in the book. My first yarn pretty much looked like something the dog coughed up. Not long after, I placed a second order for a drum carder and some Ashford dyes. Those were the days before buying yarn on the internet was a thing, and my local yarn shop pretty much sold “manly” colours in black, navy, and brown. I wanted COLOUR, particularly since I was on a bit of a Fair Isle kick at the time and you can’t knit beautiful Alice Starmore-esque creations with black, navy and brown. One of my first fibre projects was dyeing and spinning a palette of heathers in a beautiful gradation of colours I cranked out on my drum carder (pictured above). Nearly everyone I knew ended up with a Fair Isle hat. True story – I asked Richard Ashford to make me a 30″ saxony as a custom job (Ashford only produced the 24″ Elizabeth at the time and I had my heart set on a big old 30″ saxony). He said yes! He loved the wheel so much they put it into production, but it makes me happy to know I have the original prototype sitting in my lounge room 🙂

“True story – I asked Richard Ashford to make me a 30″ saxony as a custom job (Ashford only produced the 24″ Elizabeth at the time and I had my heart set on a big old 30″ saxony). He said yes!”

What do you do with your creations/art/finished pieces?

My handwovens go to family and friends. I only sell hand-dyed spinning fibre.

Where do you sell your fibre?
Via my website

How do you manage a balanced life as an artist? 

It is sometimes difficult working from home, but I pretty much keep to business hours and make sure I keep away from the office computer on nights and weekends (it doesn’t always work out that way though).

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I am constantly searching the internet for photos that inspire me – nature never fails to provide an endless array of deep, saturated colours and textures and a good chunk of my fibre colourways and weaving projects have been inspired by the natural world around us. I have created thousands of colourways over the last 15 years and I am always surprised to see old colourways (of which I have no recollection of dyeing) appear in the SCF Ravelry group and on social media.

Do you have advice for people just starting out on their fibre journey?

If you’re thinking about selling your goods, don’t forget to include your artistic talent in the price. You can’t earn an income without including yourself in the cost of your goods.  

Where will your fibre journey take you in the future?

Who knows? I’m currently enjoying weaving with my handspun and having fun experimenting with deflected doubleweave woven with handspun and cotton. Each project tends to lead one down another rabbit hole or three and I don’t think there’s any end to our fibrey adventures. One lifetime is definitely not long enough to explore everything.