As an artist/designer/craftsperson, I rarely felt alienated from my work during Pandemic 1.0, although the work and focus have certainly changed. Fortunately, inspiration abounds and I continue to make, if only for myself(!). We can all probably attest to the the foundation not feeling as steady as it did before – not quite back to “normal”…and sometimes, we may feel we (collectively) are regressing…. but we press on. And so it goes in my world. Here’s what’s been happening (at least some of it) and what’s on the horizon.
The third piece in my natural dye series revolves around printing/mark-making (specifically on cloth) with thickened natural dyes. 9/18-19/21, SEFAA Center, Atlanta, Georgia. Learn more.
Much of my decorative and fine art work is created with naturally dyed cloth, including emerging 3-dimensional work and hand-stitched, applique layered modules. This work continues. See more about 3-D and Stitched Modules.
My “artisan apparel” line, Petal-Una Collection continues, for now. This container for my wearable work is now entering its 10th year! From this point forward, I’ll be celebrating its unfolding as I continue to create a limited number of RTW and custom hand-dyed/painted/printed wearable pieces. Look for changes in the coming year as this part of my practice enters its next phase. Visit the Petal Website to see more.
Winding down a crazy year with a final studio update. I thank you for following and look forward to the possibility of seeing you in the new year! K.C.
I’ve been busy with several strands of work since the year began. Each have, in their own way, been integral to my overall practice. Some of them will continue to be so. Here are the highlights:
Natural Dyes. In keeping with my work earlier this year as well as in previous years, I continue my deepening understanding of natural dyes and their applications. In recent months, I have worked in a more focused way with yellow and brown tannins (Cutch and Pomegrante primarily). By blending these tannins with Indigo, and shifting them with iron, a surprisingly wide range of surface design possibilities exist. You can see some of my recent results with Pomegranate rind in my Instagram/FB feed.
Stitching. The work I have been doing with stitching has proved to be incredibly beneficial as a centering practice, as calming as it is creatively stimulating.I recently posted on a diptych I created for the 2020 Hambidge Auction. These stitched works began as modules for a natural dye sampler quilt. As I began to stitch more frequently, I realized that their creation offered space and time for intentional grounding. To that extent, the modules have become elements of a personal time capsule – part of the narrative work that will mark my pandemic experience. As both singularities and parts of a larger composite, they tell me a story of an effort to find some sort of stability in a very unstable, uncertain time. Hand stitching, especially the running stitch, can be deeply spiritual in its repetitive, focused, quiet rhythms. I have found in “stitch space” a calm refuge – necessary more than ever right now.
Artwork: 3-D. I have also begun building 3-dimensional “containers” or “vessels” which I am collectively calling “Receptive”. They are slow-going and emerge when the time is right. 2-D – My work with Black Walnut Hull and other inks continues, as does my work with enhanced monoprints. I will have more to say about these streams of work in the future.
And finally…Petal-Una Collection. Petal continues to be a destination for much of the naturally dyed/painted/printed cloth I produce in the studio. While it has been a slow year, I still managed to pull together a diverse collection. The images below include Cutch, iron-modified Cutch, and Indigo-dyed pieces. I am already brimming with enthusiasm and possibility for the 2021 collection! Visit Petal-Una Collection.
I feel like the year has been progressing at a rapid pace (even though it is only January 19th!) 2016 was the “year of the wearable” for me, primarily. I am beginning to find flow in my wearable art line, petal-una collection. That work will continue this year, likely branching, as usual, in a variety of directions…but all pointing back to the center – all of my work in the studio circles back on itself, cross-referencing, cross-fertilizing. In addition to creating art-wear in 2016, I was gifted with the opportunity to expand the horizons of my fine art fiber and interior textiles work via a decorative “tile” commission. 2016 may have been a relatively light year for art and interior works but I am ready to resume that stream of work in earnest and look forward to exploring new territory as I dive deeper into 2017.
In the spirit of fresh beginnings, I forgive myself the laying aside of regular posting and other essays/investigations initiated in this journal. My best-laid plans to more deeply pursue natural dyes were “bookmarked” while I worked on my wearable line. I will return to the naturals and pick up where I left off in the coming months. As for the other perennially set-aside plan to post regularly here, I once again begin the year with hopes of improving on that front. To the extent that I do post anything at all, I greatly appreciate your reading and following in this and other platforms (links to all of them are scattered throughout the opening page of this site)!
Wake up and stay awake. Connect and stay connected. Jump into the fire occasionally then dive into the one Ocean with complete surrender.
January 2017. K.C.
P.S. The images are from my Instagram feed – the “best 9” from 2016.
July already (yikes!!)and still much to do to pull everything together for the ACC San Francisco experience. It has been a veritable 3-ring circus (in my mind and in the studio) – between making and selecting finished work, creating an inexpensive, dynamic and functional set-up for a 10×10 booth, lining up the logistics for the trip, keeping my energy level up and my body in top felt-rolling condition, and staying open to new inspiration for future work. After many years of making, this is my first major show and I have been assisted at every level by other artists, family and friends who want to see this project finally take off (fingers crossed!). I am extremely grateful for their help (and I will be mentioning them, one by one, as the show approaches); producing an event like this definitely takes a village, as they say! I have been doing my part, working at a steady pace now. Given the physical demands of the technique, I am focusing on quality rather than quantity. The work is varied and features functional textiles along with some fine-art relief pieces and other fiber-based artwork.
In addition to my own booth, I was invited to collaborate with SF interior designer Jiun Ho in the ACC/SF Make Room installation. Back in May, I created a new wall piece along with 10 new Shelters for Transformationfor the installation (some below for some images). Other artists and designers will be featured, as well, in this series of vignettes promoting the use of fine craft objects in interior design. Images from this portion of the show will appear in the August/September issue of American Craft.
In other news, my spring petal-una collection was well received…in fact, I completely sold out!…I have already begun dying for my Fall collection which will be out in late-September. Looks like a busy high-summer on the horizon but meanwhile….many plates in the air and the focus now is on the ACC show. I have just revamped my website – please check it out – and I will continue to shoot more photographs of the work as it is finished. From this point forward, selected images and other info/commentary will be posted more regularly on a number of platforms – this blog, Facebook, Instagram (my handle: kathycoltartisan) and I will be resuming my Twitter feed (@kathy_colt). The studio work is my priority but I want to include you in the adventure! Thanks for reading/following/commenting/sharing!