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,


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