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, June 18, 2012

Dye Plants

Woke up to one of those beautiful, soulful and rainy days in the soft mountains around Wells this morning.
Clouds enveloping us. The strange light this time of year. The rain sounds like music on this tin roof.
I am having an adjustment to the quiet. It is lively and noisy on the "Drive" where the Vancouver house is.
Last night I woke up and felt a little claustrophobic with the quiet. 

It is going to be a busy day cleaning, rearranging and hanging in the gallery. There are enough people registered in the IMA course on Northern Dyeing for it to run. Lots of prep work now.

I am now gathering the dye plants for sampling. All of these are from the gallery garden.

Rebecca and Mark, my wonderful neighbours, went to pick up the shared greenhouse yesterday. Mandy, the archaeologist in Barkerville has given Rebecca some heritage woad seeds and rhubarb. Both are exciting growing and dyeing possibilities.

Natural dyeing with the forest bounty is always exciting. Soft and wimpy colours can be pumped up. And there is nothing wimpy about alder!

Dandelion for dye, salad and soup.
Horsetail for dye and strenghtening finger nails
Fireweed for flowers, honey and dye
Old Man's Beard Lichen for caribou food
Amazing and huge cabbage mushroom lichen thing. Size of my two hands. Possibilities!
Turns out the Old Man's Beard is in proliferation but the caribou that eat it around here are endangered. Will look for a very dense patch to gather from. There is nothing sustainable about a natural dye if it obliterates an environment. The rule of thumb regarding gathering is that you should never take more than two thirds of a patch of plants. My rule is more like one third.

So off I go with rain jacket, rubber boots, trowel, sniipers and gathering bags. I found some really amazing giant lichen that I have no name for yet. Need to bring an identification book or two. And lunch. Then for serious gallery set-up.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Bear Bangers and Wild Dyes.

Island Mountain Arts Gallery and headquarters across the street. Co-ordinates one of the best festivals ever and an
amazing school of the arts in the summer. Takes over the whole school and most community venues. 
Lady's Mantle growing prolifically through the yard. A great dye plant.

View of the small talk Gallery bird houses and Pooley Street.
J. ,one of the Wells children, freely playing cartwheels in the park beside the gallery.
Unpacking my living room.
Forget- me-knots planted by the previous inhabitant of my house.
Gallery cat Clyde and Master of the balcony supervising the lavender seedlings on the old mine table.

 The back walkway into the house. Larry's lasso parked for now.

Happily getting adjusted to life in Wells. But forgot some things...like mosquito bites on butt.

Just heard a bear banger go off near the school. At least it sounded like a bear banger. It might have been a
shotgun or dynamite near one of the gold claims. All I know is that the RCMP went by in the SUV a little while ago and then the bear banger sound happened.

Funny thing is that I was out hunting dye plants for my workshop. Easy to get distracted.

Animals live near the town and occasionally decide to come in for a visit. I personally have seen a wolf, coyotes, foxes, a bear and a young cougar just past the Wells Information Center. Will remind myself it is spring and some of the critters are still hungry. I don't plan on being anybody's main course!

Think I will go close the windows and let kitty in.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Wells At Last

I am finally home in my little house and gallery in Wells. We had an eventful journey pulling a trailer with the van and a packed moving truck. Ran into rain, sleet, and finally a blizzard over Devil's Canyon in the Pass near Wells.

Woke up in the morning to friends starting to unload the truck. They had made our beds, turned on the water, turned on the heat and cared for my new studio cat Clyde. Baskets arrived with home baked bread, mountain berry jam and hugs. Ate a first dinner with friends which consisted of fresh elk, incredble home made seed crackers, home cooked peach sambal sauce and one of Claire's delicious cherry and organic grape crumble.Walked into the "Well's General Store" and got chapped from hugs and kisses.

Have also experienced two power failures, no-see-ums, and a four day internet wrangle. The water stinks of sulphur right now. Mark, my very wonderful neighbour, climbed up slide mountain with Joel and brought me gallons of fresh spring water. The wild flowers are starting to bloom everywhere. The house is surrounded by Lady's Mantle and forget-me-nots.

Tim has been working his tail off setting up the gallery and house. We have had help every day.

Pictures of Wells tomorrow if the internet doesn't fail again.

I am home!!!