My personal response to this unusual time in history has been varied, moving from a fear-based emotional roller-coaster ride to an increasingly calm, pragmatic, and emotionally sustainable progression, punctuated by moments of true equanimity.  It is the uncertainty that gnaws the most, but more reason to come to accept and befriend it.  In addition to staying as connected as I can, my solution is to continue my work with as clear an intention as possible, staying the course.  So, although shows and other events have canceled, the work continues.  Here are some of the highlights so far this year:

The Sampler Quilt

I continue to print, paint and otherwise employ natural dyes in a variety of ways and use the by-products of that work to various ends.  When I work with any dye class, I tend to have a lot of bits available for piecing.  I am now deliberately creating pieces of cloth specifically for a sampler quilt, which I hope to have completed in the Fall of 2020.  This may be ambitious but I am weekly working toward the goal.  So far, I have 2 sets of modules either completed or being stitched (and appliquéd), one in Cochineal & Logwood; one in Cochineal, Logwood and Madder.  Next up: Weld, Myrobalan and Pomegranate (alone and with Indigo). I am posting these results regularly on IG (@kathycoltartisan) and FB, and will certainly show the quilt as it grows.

Petal-Una Collection 

My artisan apparel project progresses.  I am determined to keep all lines of inquiry open in the studio and wearable work continues to offer opportunities for exploration and cross-fertilization. I’m also currently working on my web shop and exploring other means of sharing this work in the absence of my regular seasonal studio sales. If you’re interested in learning more about this work, follow this link.

New Art

I developed a curious aversion to “nuno” felting during my cancer experience.  Perhaps the end of that line of work was looming anyway. In any case, now that I am in thrive mode (getting busy livin’), I am finally liberated from that particular prison of the mind, and have begun to reengage – not with felting per se – but with the ideas I was exploring through felting.  This hiatus (and who knows how long it will last) has allowed me to incorporate new materials, forms, ideas and motivations, as well as explore the intersection between my chosen media and other non-fiber media.  There is much more to come here.  My eyes are wide open.

Workshops 

Before the “stuff” hit the fan, I was able to facilitate a workshop and also record further reflections on Indigo.  Late last year, I had scheduled a workshop on direct application (painting/printing) with natural dyes.  That was supposed to take place in late-June.  It was, of course, canceled.  Unfortunately, I have not yet found a way to convey this work on a digital platform without taking an inordinate amount of time from my studio activities, so that will have to steep some more.  Perhaps all will be revealed in the coming months.  Meanwhile, there is much to do elsewhere and I will still look forward to the time when we are able to gather again in a live workshop setting.  (I trust this day will come again one day.)

Finally, It is an odd set of circumstances that leads us all to where we are at this moment.  Life is short.  There is much to do but still time to rest and receive.  I am therefore grateful to my yoga teacher Uma Devi and her Guru, Swami Jaya Devi, at Kashi Atlanta, as well as Dunya McPherson and her work, DanceMeditation.  Thanks to live-stream and the ubiquitous Zoom meeting, I have been able to reincorporate these vital movement pathways into my life.  This has been a great gift in these times.  Keep working on cultivating/activating those blissful moments in the studio, in your work, on the mat… and carry them into your lives as fully and as often as you can!

Last July I quietly entered the 10th year of my textile/fiber entrepreneurial adventure.  I have been working with cloth, fiber and allied processes for over 20 years but doing so as a livelihood came a bit later.  10 years is a milestone, worthy of much review and assessment.  As 2015 came to an end, I began that review.  In the midst of my musings on the past year’s fiber/textile-art, design, and making, I had a chance to see a couple of shows which I found inspiring (note to self: get out and see more work by other makers!).  Here are some impressions:

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Early December: I am fortunate to have a friend who insists I see Indigenous Beauty at the Michael C. Carlos Museum* (s/a my postscript below) before it closes (alas, it did close on January 3rd).  We go together and supplement the show’s interpretive content with our own; I am always enriched my friend’s observations.  Much of the show’s gratification for me is in its substantial assemblage of textile-based artifacts, largely vestments, bags, sheaths and shields.  Many of these pieces are imbued with ritual significance.  As we walk through the gallery, the energy and vitality of these pieces fills the space with a palpable solemnity; beauty, indeed, and truthThis work has deep roots.  I am reminded that the fiber/textile continuum stretches far into the past (well beyond the time of the makers of these artifacts), and far into the future during which, if humans manage to survive the Anthropocene, textiles will be re-visioned through both familiar and as yet undiscovered materials and techniques.  I am privileged to be a participant in that continuum.

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Currently at the Ventulett Gallery, Fractured features works by Lynn Pollard and Karen Reese Tunnell.  In contrast to its title, my impression of the work of these two artists is one of continuity and solidity.  Both artists works’ are quite complex, layered with rich, abstract detail and nuance.  Each body of work “speaks” in visual “harmonics”: one quietly powerful, contemplative, the other energetic, vibrant, and assertive. Both resonate with something almost primordial, owing much of their intensity to the careful management of inherently unpredictable base techniques (successive indigo vat immersion and marbling, respectively).  I feel a kinship with these artists and recognize a shared source of inspiration.  Seeing this show reminds me of how lucky I am to have gravitated toward textiles and fiber as my central media/formats.  If you have any doubt as to the power of techniques and materials generally associated with fiber/textile craft to move the heart and soul on a universal level, go see this show.  It will change your mind.  Show closes on January 22, 2016.

Postscript:  Turning over a new leaf, my husband and I went to the Carlos this past Sunday.  I happen to live within walking distance of the museum and although my intention has always been to make the connect at least one a month, I have not been able to do so.  This year, I hope to make good on my intentions! K.C.