Tag Archives: magic

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.

 

 

 

Eco Dyeing with “Clotho” and Khaos”

15 Jun

When I first moved here four years ago, I left a 93 acre WV mountain farm. Had lived there 15 years or so. Of course it was a huge change and there have been trade-offs. And once here, it was clear that cloth was calling out to me.   I didn’t  know why, But just now, looking for the name of the Greek mythological figure that emerged from the very slow cloth, I found the answer. There she was. There she has been. Clotho. “The youngest of the Three Fates who spin the thread of life.” I’ve been seduced by Clotho.

And then Jude Hill http://spiritcloth.typepad.com serendipitously appeared and between her influence and the guidance of Clotho, this journey with cloth has been an amazing series of discoveries. A delving into. Into self. Into life. And maybe most importantly, a medium for maintaining a connection with the earth.

But first the very slow cloth is nearing completion. Khaos, Greek for “the nothingness from which all sprang.”

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OK.  For the last three weeks I have been totally immersed in natural dyeing.  Dyeing utilizing vegetation in my surrounds.  And there is a ton of it here–vegetation–and not just quantity but the varieties are staggering.  So a lot of interesting cloth has emerged.  Some pretty ugly–and some really interesting.  I think I’m finally starting to understand on a very beginner’s level what steps to take to encourage cloth to accept color.   Wool is a protein fiber.  Much more receptive to color from the earth.  Silk is a hybrid of sorts.  And cotton/muslin/linen–well it really has to be encouraged.

I love muslin.  I love linen–especially old linen garments that have become thinner and softer over the years.  Two of my oldest and favorite linen shirts seemed to be begging for an update.  Shirts were soaked in vinegar overnight and then bundled up with peony leaves, yellow onion skin, purple basil that’s growing all over the place here, and a few mulberry leaves.

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Close up
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A few more peony leaves on linen:
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And my favorites. Leaves on Muslin.

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Now silk is another story all together. I bought several habotai silk scarves from Dharma Trading and have printed 5. Have 5 to go. If the results continue to improve I’m hoping to sell them either online or in a shop somewhere.

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Unexpected joys are resulting from this exercise in eco printing. Yesterday a little plant called to me over and over again. Finally I referenced my 1968 Peterson Field Guide to discover it was Heal-All or Selfheal.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunella_vulgaris

And so
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Weld and Woad in the dye garden are starting to grow. The madder is taking it’s good time which doesn’t surprise me. Roots need to be at least 5 years old before they can be used. Marigolds doing great.
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And finally, reminder to self. Don’t wait so long to post. Too much happens in between.

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