THREE days (including today) left for SALE in shop. ENDS June 17/21.
As mentioned in a previous post, i decided this year to participate for the second time with a local collective, Contextural Fibre Arts Co-operative. I did reasonably well the first time i joined in (2012) with ONE week to get stuff together! (I used the machine a lot then, and the majority of what i had was small very inexpensive textile art pins 🙂 ) This year i thought i was smart by signing up on the 11th of October for a Nov 21st date, but time got a wee bit lagged and dragged, and now i’m in the throes of panic *but* working the ol’ hoofies to the bone !
So, this year with the premise in mind that NO ONE is doing what i do, especially exclusively with natural dyes, here’s the various views of studio doings lately:
I have Organized Piles with Notes for slated work, fabrics picked out, some solid design sketches and some still in my head, labels, an inventory sheet, display ideas and display items, and am treating the whole as a Job. Yes, art can be a job, an enjoyable one, but the key IS discipline. Line it up, get her going then Go. Do.
I will have new work to show and sell, and promise the happy drool will be off my face (Well, the happy will still be, but i promise no drool.) ALL Covid protocols will be in place to keep you safe, from masks and sanitizing, to distancing and contact trace info, limited numbers allowed in and (unfortunately) only one day this time to see the vast array our group has to offer in the way of unique textile arts and crafts, from wearables to gifties to Art. If you are in Calgary, or its environs–hey Alberta!—please share and spread the word!
A long time ago, i used to play a lot in my studio. That usually resulted in 4 posts a day (!!!!!), because everything was exciting then: textile arts and mixed media were hot in the blog world, as we were all new to the internet and the windows it opened for creativity. There was MORE feedback then: people didn’t just “like” something and then flit to the next page. There were CONVERSATIONS, friendships made, active sharing and promoting of each other, and well, it just wasn’t facebook/instagram preciousness and staging.
I always enjoyed making Little Things, and at the time, it was part of a viable business as well. There were at least a hundred Yule Ghouls that flew out of my BC studio, innumerable really inexpensive wallets, the ubiquitous christmas stockings, penguin ornaments and artsy bags of all sizes. I stopped most of that when i moved to Edmonton in 2003: the market there was completely different, a lot less explorative, a dearth of innovation, and funky individuality was not cared for much…..it was crushing, as an artist and as a small business.
That coloured things for many years. I got rid of a lot of finished product simply by donating it to the Sally Ann, and once in awhile, even in such a large city, see one of the very creative bags i made, slung over someone’s shoulder. But i know they paid peanuts for it, thrift stores generally not in the biz of charging shitloadarmandleg prices, and so won’t make them again AS part of the bread and butter part of my studio. I also didn’t see the sense of having PILES and BOXES full of Things that wouldn’t see the light of day again.
BUT, i am involved with Contextural again, and there is a Christmas Sale, so let’s just think about that. Stocking up, protyping, testing, MAKING.
Anyways, blah blahdy blah. I made a pile yesterday of recent naturally dyed linens (my new favourite fabric):
I admit to just sitting and staring at it, inspired by the colours and the feel, but not sure where to go. Then i espied an unfinished project and what the heck. I gots lots of those 🙂 Combine!!!! I’m “Goin’ Minoan”, ha.
These are why i believe natural dyes in textile arts are important to me and to others with this passion, no matter their “technique” or Practice. Ixchel Suarez had asked about this in a post on FB, in a natural dye group, about the importance of natural dyes to tapestry, *almost* intimating that it was the one use of the medium/material where it was so important, but i know there are other embroiderers, knitters, weavers of all the sorts, twiners, basket makers, rug hookers, book makers, fabric designers etc. who also use exclusively natural dyes. I can’t imagine using commercially dyed threads on anything now! There are nuances to natural colour that can never be replicated in synthetic dyes, and everything always “goes together”.
I know a lot of people can’t tell the difference between synthetic and natural dyes, just to look at them. I’m at a point though myself that when i look at photos of other natural dyers work, i can usually tell what dye they used, whether it’s tried and true historically accurate natural dyes, or “food waste” S**T. Really, i can. Really! There’s something warm and poetic about madder in all its antique hues, indigo and finding beauty in the palest to darkest, no “wrong” blue as a result, clear as the golds and leaf russets of osage, the aureate luminosity of rhubarb root (as prosaic as that one sounds…), the terra cotta nobility of cochineal and cutch, the royal richness of purples from lac, cochineal and logwood. SIGH.
I haven’t done any dyeing since before we moved to our new home, too much going on, too many other projects, but i’m starting to run out of threads especially. I’m planning for 2020 (i can’t believe that at all, that it’s going to BE 2020), and trying to figure out a schedule of sorts with flexibility for making the materials i use, and then making from/with *that* making 🙂 The best i can figure is to devote a week every 2 months (as needed, because surely i won’t have to do it EVERY month) to the dyeing, a week for paperwork, putzing and planning, and two for making. That still isn’t written in stone of course: part of this whole thing is the spontaneity generated by excitement, discovery, tangent, possibility!
I’m not making Grand Art right now (with the exception maybe of the patient Samara, and hopefully others like her), but i am making art that other people enjoy, and that *I* enjoy making. I see all these together and i get excited all over again, knowing that i, me did this from “scratch”–i may not have grown the sheep or cotton plant or moth cocoon, or woven or spun the cloth and thread, but i still “made” these fabrics and fibres, i coloured them and that’s pretty damn satisfying.
Would i be as rapturous if it was the “old days” and i was using commercially bought, commercially made, commercially dyed materials? Not sure, don’t care: i am where i am, and where i need to be now, now.
I also have in mind to if not REPLICATE, but to redux, remake, re-interpret a few older works in natural dyes:
Too, there are also old techniques i favoured, themes i loved, and mediums, and i’m testing some for the use of natural dyes in them. So many ideas! Piles, heaps, hills, masses, oodles and multitudes, stacks and torrents! Good thing it’s not 2020 yet 🙂
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