I have recently been making occasional forays outside of my primary technique to revisit mark-making practices on cloth (specifically, mechanical resists and printing). These more immediate surface techniques are among the first I explored when I was first discovering a love for cloth – kind of the “gateway” techniques for me – when I knew I was “hooked.” Even though I embrace laminated felting as my central path to textile/fiber bliss(!), it is always interesting to see how one’s view can change in the process of exploring/revisiting other allied techniques. Indeed, I find it essential to dip back into these processes periodically to see how those roots have grown and changed as I have become more focused on laminated felting. This process is a kind of interior correlate of cultural cross-fertilization. Inevitably, for all of us who make space for them (regardless of medium or discipline), these journeys create new types of interactions and creative feedback loops which are ultimately energizing.
Of the many issues I want to examine this year (see my last post for the definitive list!), is finding satisfying and more environmentally ethical alternatives to petroleum-based colorants. I continue to use my usual dyestuffs but have been highly inspired by Australian artist, India Flint, who, in advance of her U.S. visit to the U.S., has received much attention this year for her “ecoprints.” I began my process this year by exploring the wonderful world of rust – oxidized iron fragments – in this case, oxidation is hastened by the use of vinegar. These surfaces in their intimacy are so suggestive of otherworldly terrain that they have supplied a suitable number of textural tangents to distract me from other work entirely! Here is are samples from my excursions and an impression of a piece I am in the process of completing.