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The Spaces In-Between

9 Jun

Many years ago I bought a ceramic plaque for my sister.  It was whimsical–had a figure dancing on a mountainside and the inscription read something like “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away.”  This thought was with me when I awoke this a.m.  But not quite this thought–more like “the magic happens in the in- between.”  In that place some have called “the gap.”  As in the moment between inhale and exhale.  That place where thoughts vanish.  Where all is well.  Where time doesn’t exist–is not measured by seconds–but is measured by some mysterious sense of empty space.

As I was washing out scarves from yesterday’s printing, this was on my mind.  This idea of the space in-between–and in this washing out process, the drying, the ironing, my vision shifted.  Usually I’m studying the impression of leaves–did they print?  how well? outstanding characteristics?  If you are a recorder of leaves, you know the drill, right?

But this morning my focus had shifted.  I was not so interested in the leaf shapes as in the spaces in-between the leaves.  The unplanned places.  The myriad areas that evolved on their own.  I guess some refer to this as “negative space?”  I’m not sure.But for me these spaces in-between are like portals into another realm.  They are not literal the way leaf prints can be.  Their form is unexpected, unstructured, amorphous.  And yet full of such richness and magic.

I was still contemplating this as I gazed out the kitchen windows at the woods across the road.  Without my glasses and by softly altering my gaze, the same thing happened.  The tree leaves formed delineated areas of green, but for me the mystery was in the shadows.IMG_3701  Studying eco prints, I see the same pattern–and find I’m actually having to make an effort to see the leaf prints rather than the space in between.

 

 

Walking through the house, my eye focuses on the floor rug.  Not at the dominant pattern but at the spaces in-between.  In a bit I have to get in my car.  Drive in traffic.  Unless this visual filter falls by the wayside, it should be an interesting ride.

 

 

 

May All Things Rise–Free of Persecution: prayer flag #5

29 Jan

(for Winki Allen)

Sending out this prayer this morning–may all children, women and men be free of persecution–may our country remember its origins–may we not fight fire with fire but with love and hope–and finally because today’s prayer flag also holds seeds and leaves from last year’s dye garden (woad, marigold and eucalyptus)–may the guardians of all-things-that-grow bless this little plot of earth again and may the fruit of the seeds rise high.

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Scraps of eco prints and naturally dyed cloth.  Yellow onion, madder, white oak.

Natural Dyeing & Printing Workshop

1 Apr

I seem to be good for about 5 hours before sensory overload kicks in and I CAN NOT ABSORB another bit of info.  Like a sponge unable to take in one more drop.  It’s a weird feeling.  Sensory and mental too-muchness.  The workshop–down in Asheville’s River Arts District–is being offered by Catherine Ellis.  Weaver, shibori  and natural dye expert and all ’round source of an amazing amount of information.

Last year I took her natural dyeing course but this year’s add-on–printing with natural dyes–takes the process to an entirely different level.  Working with indigo, madder, cochineal, weld etc.

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Checking reduction of indigo vat.

Learning amazing techniques for printing with color onto color.  And thinking of ways to incorporate all of this into Eco printing. image

The Language of Leaves

 

Eco printing and Color in Carolina

28 Mar

Seems like the seasons are flattening out–one leading into the other w/o much transition or distinction.  But it’s spring now and color is back on this soil’s palette.  Now–if I were more literate technically you could already be viewing the mother of all forsythias.

But I’m not.  Not quite illiterate but nearly and it’s driving me nuts.  Like just now, I tried to download pics from phone to pc.  PC didn’t recognize iphone so I had to send each image as an email to my desktop.  Then I tried to save them to insert here and they’re off on some g-drive.  I found them and can look at them but that’s it.  No idea how to move them here because wordpress doesn’t support their current format.  Do I sound frustrated.  Back in a bit.

Okay. Had different options this time.

Now look at this–while trying to upload pics of the redbud, weld and woad, dogs’ morning-sniff-about I stumbled upon this option.  A slide show.  Does it work?  Too tedious?

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Forsythia is about 25′ in width.  Image does not convey the sunshine she emits. The single rosette green plant is weld–traditional plant for yellow.  When I eco print with it, though, it leaves a wonderful green image.  The other greens are woad–similar to indigo in the way it has to be processed to give up its color.

So what I’m loving about eco printing–in addition to its beauty–is the fact that the materials I need for working with it are simply a step out the front door.  I try really hard only to use foraged material–stuff that’s already fallen from the tree or plant.  Recycling energy.  I’m also intrigued by the notion of slow color–of letting botanicals brew for however long–but truth be told, I’m not good at waiting so generally use steam to facilitate the process.

Where I was leading with this is the fact that eco printing/natural dyeing has brought home to me the adverse impact commercially dyed fabric has on the environment.   And along those same lines I’m doing somewhat of an experiment.  Trying to see if I can go an entire year w/o buying anything  new–even if it comes from Goodwill.  And I’m upcycling garments that I haven’t worn in a few years–a dress and a shirt.  Big pockets on the front–essential for all the stuff I seem to gather in a day’s time.

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and this –a coat I made during the winter by felting wool from old sweaters. Repurposed, recycled, reused.  Another R word is trying to surface–two actually.  Returning and roots. As in an idea I may blog about later.

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That’s it for now.  And please may I get faster at blogging.

Oh wait–a fine green eco print that came about from light indigo over dyed with goldenrod.

pale green

and if you’re so inclined–check out:  www.thelanguageofleaves.com

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