Hi Grace. Here’s the artist’s statement you asked to see. It’s posted at my booth space. I’m open to suggestions if you see changes that could be made–and I’m not sure it’s a statement so much as an explanation–but an answer to the often-asked question–“what IS this?”
Story Cloth is an old…very old…traditional form of communication. A way to preserve and honor life. Events. Emotions. Births and yes, deaths. A way to preserve memory. Recording on cloth. Story Cloth–a blend of collage, quilting, painting and story-telling. All stitching and embroidery is executed by hand—totally unplugged so to speak–without the use of machine.
There are other names associated with this type of art– slow cloth being one. Slow– because the process is contemplative, unhurried, thought full. Slow–because cloth is not in a hurry–cannot be hurried in fact. But mostly slow because the cloth has something important to convey –- a message that has its roots deep below the surface. And the message cannot be rushed, any more than the growing forth of a plant can be rushed. So Story Cloth/Slow Cloth describes my work, for now.
I work exclusively with repurposed, recycled natural fabrics including cotton, linen, silk and other natural fibers. I hand dye/over-dye most of the recycled cloth used in my assemblages using natural sources found in nature—such as leaves, black walnuts, flowers, and bark. I also grow the dye plant indigo and use it for dyeing my blue fabrics.
Each piece of cloth that forms the story, from start to finish, also has its own intention–its own way of blending and becoming one with the whole. My challenge is to remain open to what wants to come forth. Often I find myself watching. Waiting. Arranging, rearranging. Waiting for “yes” or “no” as the cloth’s story reveals itself. The whole process–an exercise in “getting out of the way”–can take a long time. The stitching itself is contemplative and time-consuming– and often I borrow the expression needle-chanting to refer to this stitching. But time is not the consideration here. The challenge is learning to listen, and in the listening to honor the voice of the cloth and the story it reveals.
Story Cloth combines for me the need to express, the need to delve deeply into self and the need to understand the larger world in which we live. It satisfies many of my passions–working with materials from nature, communication, repurposing existing materials–and most of all, it provides an outlet for the creative energies that exist in all of us.