Material Witness will focus on extreme textile process. Images will be posted here showing the history of my work, new work, developing projects and inspiration.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Earth Foraging

We are all trying to make sure the Fibre in the Forest Workshops are a go!

I have worked hard to come up with new and innovative textile experiences for learners using environmentally sound and sustainable methods. The workshops called "Let Loose in the Woods" was conceived by me and Hilary Young in the last couple of years. We had always planned a series of new extreme methods for textiles using a far more environmentally gentle approach than we have in past.

Research has resulted in a few tried and true methods being altered to meet a very high standard of environmental safety and little expense.

All natural dyes will be created using common and available materials that cost next to nothing.
Most of the dyes have rarely been seen and are a result of experimentation and traditional recipes. Imagine bending over in the garden and picking up a common weed and turning it into some delicious colour. Imagine doing this on completely natural and organic fibres. Imagine pulling together a work kit from the second hand store and getting to use locally avaible materials and equipment that costs next to nothing and leaves almost no environmental foot print.

Other methods will include using the sun to create burning and cooking tools. Using dirt and compost to print on fabric. Pounding things with rocks and creating beautiful surfaces and new textures. None of the breakdown methods will use harsh chemicals at all.

We will troop through the woods and learn dye plant identification, some aboriginal and other traditional methods and create an inspiration book for future projects.

The workshop is designed to give a full three day experience that will even be more intense than our usual jam packed workshop on creating extreme textiles. All of this will be done in the beautiful forest location of Loon Lake in the Lower Mainland's gorgeous Golden Ears Park.

Hilary won't be able to give the workshop with me this time. She is having her baby soon after the workshop and will not be able to do the trekking she needs to that week. She will be giving her beautiful "Mood Board" workshop, however.

I will be assisted by Lyn Fabio. She is the dynamic artist and chef from Whitehorse, Yukon. She has taught in places like Siberia and has shown all over including Korea. Her work has been featured in FiberArts Magazine. Her work is sculpture made of natural materials including gut.
An incredibly dedicated artist who always inspires me!

There is a movement of people working together to create "slow" textiles and Eco fabrics and art. The time has come for us to get really serious about the cloth we make and use. One of my favourite artists ' Abigail Doan., has just made a presentation regarding Eco fashion at the U.N. as a response to some of the information coming out of Copenhagen. There are artists all over the world who are using natural materials like silk made from spider webs and common plant fibres. Dyes are being reintroduced and considered. Charlotte Kwon, of MAIWA, has been reintroducing a series of natural dyes in an effort to create fair trade items and help artisans and growers do resposible community economic development and recreate woman friendly environmental playing fields. What a very exciting time to be involved and to learn new skills.

I went into my yard today and identified twenty dye plants that weren't planted for that reason.
Yesterday Tim and I went to the forest and very resposibly picked up pounds of materials for sampling. All of came from areas that were going to be mowed and destroyed of from windfall.
No cost and no impact.

There is always room for new ways of using old materials and methods.

See you at the wokshop which will be held at the VGFA's 40tjh Anniversary retreat. March 29 - April 9, 2010 and come and play. There are still spaces left in many of the 18 workshops.
contact www.vgfa.org.


arlee said...

It would be nice to find a regional indigenous dye plant list!

material witness said...

There will be one included in the workshop package and I will send you one after the first workshop.

B.C. Coastal regional dye plants are very different that Canadian Prairie dye plants but you have some doozies there too. My G Granny was a sheep farmer near Trochu Alberta and so was my Gran. They even showed me prairie stuff when I was a kid.

I definately owe you both for writing such a beautiful reveiw of my work awhile back.