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 ....it 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!....off 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,