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.

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