Wednesday, 17 February 2010

We are all Goddesses!

Last night I was invited to talk to the lovely ladies of Forest Quilters in Kidderminster.  I do quite a few talks for Guilds & every time I come away feeling uplifted and comforted by the fact that so many women use textiles as their expressive medium.  I love hearing all of their stories surrounding fibre and cloth, personal anecdotes and narratives & there is a beautiful strength in women coming together to share & learn.  We are all Goddesses!  Thank you so much for inviting me.

On a personal level, I've really needed a confidence boost lately and the feedback on my work certainly gave me that.  I've been struggling to find a way forward and as I was talking last night I started to work a few issues out in my head helped to view my practice as the audience did I think....and I've made a few decisions.  I use found & salvaged materials in my practice but I've always dyed using Procion dyes since I've been quite impatient when it comes to adding colour to cloth.  I have dabbled with natural dyes and in particular rust dyeing but I realised last night that since I'm advocating eco & slow processes then I really should be foraging for colour just as I forage for cloth.  I understand that this will be a major change to how I work.  For a start I'm going to have to be more in tune with the seasons and collect what is available - but I think that could be a really positive step forward.

So.....not one to procrastinate! I went this morning on my foraging trip to Kinver Edge - I'm very lucky to have National Trust forests right on my door step.  I wasn't sure what I would find or even what I was looking for but I went off the beaten path, right into the woods and found this:

A fallen Silver Birch tree with bark already starting to peel away.  At this point I realised that I should have taken a much larger ruck sack!  I managed to take off most of the bark...I loved the way it came away like a skin.  Some of the bark is currently boiling away on the hob so I'll keep you updated as to the results.  I have dyed with birch bark before and produced a beautiful soft pink so I'm quite excited.  I love the markings on the bark...they're quite stitch like,



I've been planning to start a blog for a while now so here goes!  I'm hoping that it will give me a new sense of purpose and help me stay focussed in my work ...I'm fairly erratic at the moment, leaping from one idea to another without fully exploring the potential of anything.  I'm aiming to 'check in' each week to keep myself on track and I hope any readers will enjoy my ramblings.

I work as a Textile & Mixed-media Artist and am currently Artist in Residence at a secondary school - see link for my blog of the Residency - which is really taking me out of my comfort zone and pushing my practice in lots of different ways.  It's a great experience and I love working with the students - it's something I'd like to do more of.
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