My dyed textiles have developed in different directions. The original found textiles becoming a larger conversation in a formal, almost museum like presentation. Silk with printed text and images exploring the social exchange of food in my family. Histories presented on items that could pass as tourist merchandise. Continue reading →
Anansi invited me to his house for dinner
a tired table cloth,
patched and worn, suspended between the trees.
we dined on mangoes and pears
that fell to his web.
on silken woven threads,
I clumsily trying not to slip
from the table
precariously perched between the trees.
Conversations with My Grandmothers was not only my UBC grad piece it was the beginning of my career as a textile artist and has become what I identify as my signature piece. This post provides some back ground into the process and internal conversation of the piece long with images of some of the individual panels. Continue reading →
It came to me in a blurred flash as I lay in bed; one of those fully formed but slightly distant insights as I was on the verge of sleep. “Don’t forget this. Remember this when you wake up … The colour of rice and peas…the beans staining the rice…that beautiful brown… Can it be recreated on fabrics dyed with red beans? Can I get the direct trace of the food on fabric?” Rarely do I retain these thoughts, but this one stayed with me, this one changed the direction of my work; changed my entire practice. It grew and grew, and still it grows and develops, evolves, changes me. Continue reading →
Natural dyes are at the heart and soul of my textiles work. While most of the dye stuff I use can be found in my pantry, when I’m not using food Logwood is a favorite. I gravitate towards food as dye stuff for conceptual reasons; dyeing the textiles of my European ancestry with Jamaican foods. As a highly coveted and pirated dye during the days of colonial trade in the West Indies, logwood brings another layer to the history I infuse my works with.
Natural dyes challenge my understanding of colour. As a painter one learns how to combine pigments to create hues and colours, these are the same rules we all learnt as children. Red and yellow make orange, green is made from mixing yellow and blue. Natural dyes stain fiber through chemical reactions and have nothing to do with the painter’s colour rules. Dark purple onions produce the most beautiful pale, golden-yellow I have ever seen. Adding iron will darken and dull a dye bath to make rich greys and blacks.
Using the concepts of colour as chemical reaction I painted light washes of logwood over a canvas scrap and let the dye and fiber determine the colour. As the fabric was not treated the piece gradually fades even when kept out of direct light. This constant flux fascinates me. The piece constantly changes. I like to think of the piece as moving through time at warp speed, experiencing a rapid version of the natural fading all textiles and fibers go through.