I always have a vision that I am going to do more writing in a given year than I wind up doing – best laid plans… But it has been a busy and fruitful period in so many other ways. Here are highlights from this last quarter of the year, starting with my natural dye workshop which finally happened in September!
I participated again this year in annual Hambidge Auction. I am grateful for the space the Center provides for artists/creators at all stages of their careers to meet, make and/or meander and contemplate. Perhaps one day I will make it there as a resident myself! Meanwhile, the work continues in my own humble studio. See more about 3-D and Stitched Modules. Images L to R: “Receptive 4” plus 2 tannin/indigo/ferrous stitched modules; last: another tannin module with a recently completed piece from the “Receptive” Series.
The work continues as this facet of my art/design practice enters its next phase. Visit the Petal Website to see more of this work, including the latest pieces created with wax-resist cloth which I produced this past Spring/Summer.
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.
I am into my 10th year as a full-time fiber and textile artist. So many individuals have supported my endeavor along the way that I have decided to dedicate space in this blog to singing their praises. One such individual, who has been in my life from nearly the beginning of this 10-year journey, is Char Z. An energetic spirit, Char leads an active, rich and diverse life. Among other things, she is a creative herself, working in a variety of media. She is an enthusiastic student of technique and has a cultivated keen appreciation of the creative works of her fellow craft-artisans. Not only has Char been there through all of my felted work but she has also nurtured the emergence of my wearable micro-line, Petal-Una Collection. She wears each unique piece with great flair. I recently sat down with Char, in honor of our 10th year together, to look at the impressive group of pieces of my work (mostly wearable) she has added to her collection over the years. I am deeply indebted to Char and honored to know her. Here is a gallery of highlights from my visit – the earliest work appears first.
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.
I have been doing a lot of sewing lately – making garments for my clothing collection, petal-una. (Scroll down for images of some pieces from the new Spring collection). I started this limited edition and one-of-a-kind collection as a counterpoint to felting. I also wanted an opportunity to learn new skills and develop possible wearable formats for my felted cloth. Alas, sewing has never been one of my favorite tasks but the scale of my enterprise makes hiring someone impractical. As it turns out, it has been an eye-opener for me on a variety of levels.
As I construct these garments, it occurs to me how remote the act of clothing construction is from my mind when I slip into my clothes each day. In spite of my understanding of the skill required to design, engineer and assemble clothing, I acknowledge taking this basic facet of living wholly for granted. Anyone who spends time and energy making their own clothing will recognize the investment made in each article, whether it is mass produced or a one-off piece. Creating the petal-una collection myself raises my awareness considerably. After putting together even a modest body of work such as this, I can only say that garment worker/sewing professionals of the world are unsung heroes! This is particularly the case given the fact that many apparel manufacturing factories throughout the world reflect 19th century industrial standards and practices a 21st century post-industrial/Western worker would not tolerate.
There was a time when sewing was a common ingredient in most households (long before the mechanical-electric, let alone the electronic sewing machine). My great-grandmother made household accessories and most of the clothing she and her children wore. As far as I can tell from existing photographs, the clothing she created was stylish and sophisticated for the era. As I grew up, I observed my mother doing the same thing for economy and pleasure. With the apparent patience of Job, she plunged into twin outfits, costumes, and other miscellany for my sister and I, as well as clothing for herself. Long before sergers were available, I recall her skillfully assembling and smartly wearing slim-fitting, knit dresses inspired by Diane von Furstenberg’s high-fashion line.
When I was old enough to navigate the machine, I was given basic sewing instruction. I did manage to complete some projects. Unfortunately, though, I have little memory of anything but suffering at the machine, and my impatience resulted in many a frustrating session which usually ended in my mother bailing me out and completing the most tedious aspects of a given project. Of course, I did later figure things out on my own. I took a home-economics class in high school (do they still offer those anymore?) and made tailored clothing which actually fit and which I wore proudly. However, I was attracted to the idea of fashion but not creating it for myself – it was cheaper and easier to buy something when need arose and since I was typically wearing jeans and t-shirts when I wasn’t in my school uniform, there was little motivation to sew. As time passed and I left home, except for the occasional curtain, my sewing career ended…that is, until I started “enriching” fabric and needed a way to give it 3-dimensional life. Given my checkered history with sewing, it is a bit ironic that I assemble my own modest designs today. Nevertheless, sewing is now an integral part of my creative process and I am learning to enjoy it more an more…really!
Racerback Tee, Narrow Scarf and Market Skirt
Hand-dyed, Hand printed Racerback Tee
Tee and Cropped Jacket
Racerback Dress & Cropped Jacket
Knit Racerback Dress & Cropped Jacket, hand-dyed, hand printed