Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Roots N' Shoots Color

What once was white ..... 
"Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth......" ~Budda
.....dye baths at work        2010   eakf

I find it interesting to watch how all manner of things trend & cycle. Currently, I am following the surge/expansion in Fiber Arts ~ both in how fibers & fabrics are produced, altered, or prepped, as well as how they are then incorporated into Art.
   For one thing, I am happy to see the renewed interest in using natural dyes (Earth Hues) and the integration of fibers & fabrics into innovative mixed media explorations. I like that artists (from all walks) are crossing old lines between Art categories, and continually improving/developing techniques while still preserving original foundations of same. A look at natural dyes and their history helps illustrate this nicely. (There are a number of great new books out on this)
   We know that pigments from the earth (and it's kingdoms) supplied the first "art mediums" and that over time, as now, man - the innovator - learned more &  more about culling colors from Nature's bounties. As children we all had clues to this, as we returned home with grass stained knees after a visit to the playground or berry stained fingers from a"pick your own" field adventure.
   I have enjoyed altering colors of both paper & fibers off & on over the years; most recently this past fall, when I did a unit on natural dyes at school. To watch the students react to seeing a bag of papery dry onion skins become a dye bath that turned white cloth into subtle but lovely golden to rosy hues was very rewarding. Then to incorporate those materials into an art work - even better!
   So, even if you have no desire to begin to forage & harvest roots & shoots (and petals, nuts, fruits etc) ~ next time there is a bit left in the coffee or tea pot ~ what say you put it in a container, add heavy paper or a cut of cloth & see what you get ...... then ....... see where it takes you!
   ~ and always remember ~
"As the sun colors flowers, so does Art color life"  ~ John Lubbock

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