Hi there! It's been a while.
I decided to stop writing after the residency project was complete beause I was Overwhelmed. Note the capital "O". Seriously overwhelmed. Finishing a project like that, moving 5 or 6 times, working as much as I could to save up for a trip home, being home for a month, reconnecting with family and friends, planning and worrying about the future, digesting life lessons, being uprooted for so long, trying to find work, trying to make meaningful art again, etc. There were many things happening around me and inside me and I just didn't have the energy to add one goddamn thing to that pile.
*Note: as I write this, there are no fewer than ten wonderful humans I've neglected. You know who you are, and I hope you know I DO think about you every day. A massive apology and tonnes of love are coming your way.
I still feel out-of-sorts, but I think it's getting better.
Since the particulars of my absence would turn this short check-in into a ridiculously convoluted and wordy novella, I'm going to stick to the things I've been up to for the past... couple of days.
1. Cold-process dyeing and eco-printing. I have a tonne of plants at my disposal, what with the back yard and gorgeous public park nearby (responsible harvesting is my second-highest priority. The first is avoiding poison ivy and other noxious plants). I'm testing prints on silk and cotton handkerchiefs (the ideal test size) and keeping my eyes peeled for rusty bits and other things to incorporate. The first batch will be ready by next Wednesday!
Experimenting with diverse dye methods on local plants gives me a chance to plan for my future dye garden. Many wild plants I'm using have medicinal properties or are nutritious foodstuffs. I love becoming a resourceful and responsible gatherer!
2. Weaving transparencies. I've started a small series of miniature weavings inside de-constructed books, using an eccentric-weft technique on a linen warp. When you backlight the weaving you can see the design "drawn" in with weft thread. Layer those puppies up and... I'm not really sure what'll happen. Hopefully something awesome.
3. Yoga. A happy body means a happy brain, and a happy brain means more art and more love to give. I deeply miss being connected to my community through art, miss outreach and collaboration, miss seeing others get inspired.
That's all for now, amigos! It's good to be back.
Tomorrow my project will be nearly complete. Nearly means I probably need a few more wolves, and one tapestry will need to dry before being sewn to the rest of the piece, but those things are small and easy to deal with.
I haven't written much about this part of the process- the ending of things. I've been vocal about my desire to wrap this project up for what feels like months, but the ending is a weird time in the creative process. People ask if I'm pleased with the outcome, if I like it, if it was what I had envisioned at the beginning. I have no answers. I've spent so many days staring this beast in the face that I can't see it, I don't know what it looks like. The only remedy for that blindness is to put the work away for a few weeks and pull it out again later with rested hands and fresh eyes. Right now, any evaluation is impossible.
Other things: I've cleaned out my corner of the studio, and boxed up the AIR library at home. I came here with barely anything and now there's an absurd quantity of loose fibre, dyed yarn, and miscellaneous fabrics clogging up my suitcases. I'm disgusted by my ability to acquire art supplies. Where did all of this COME FROM? It's ridiculous. I could make:
4 rag rugs
1 decently large weft-faced rug
4-5 pairs of socks
8 or more scarves
AND I have a bag of cochineal, several small jars of mordants, a little bit of madder, a rusty nail, copper bits, and a jar of rotting walnuts, not to mention books... There's no way I can drag all this around with me.
Dreading a summer of moving, temporary unemployment, and possible homelessness, decluttering is just one overwhelming task on my list of overwhelming things to do right now. Ugh.
I leave you with a pretty picture of various gypsums.
If I was a rock, I wouldn't have to deal with yarns and moving. I could just sit in the earth all day and grow.