05/08/2020

Weekly Artist Residency in Motherhood Check-In

My residency work focuses on materials I can find on my 0.2 acre property in Eugene, Oregon.

This week I found some new colors in the backyard!


This color is the result of Evernia Prunastri Lichen soaked in ammonia for two months. This was just a little test, I put the yarn straight in the jar with the lichen and ammonia for two days. In a few more months I will strain the dye bath and heat it and this should yield a pinker pink.

I love color surprises! This color is the result of a mystery shrub taking over my backyard. The roots appear to be red so I tried them in a dye bath and here we are, with carrot orange! On the waste yarn gleaned from a local fiber mill the mystery shrub yields a color somewhere between salmon and peach which is also so lovely.

Before Covid I had been making nets of yarn dyed with plants found near the ocean where I lived shortly after having a baby. When I found this color in the roots of a backyard shrub I felt called to make it into a net again. Previously I had thought I was making nets with ocean dyes just in their connection to that place but now I realize they also have symbolic connection to me and my mental state at that time in my life. When I lived on the coast I was in a 24ft RV with a three month old babe with nothing to do but walk down to the ocean or to the park’s laundry room. We had just arrived in this rural area so I was completely alone while my partner drove into town to work.

If my life were a novel, the fact that I chose to give myself a residency in the place of my isolating postpartum experience in late 2019 and chose netting as a medium would be a clever foreshadowing to these current days…

I love the meditative rhythm of making nets but I need to do something to keep the yarn from snagging on hands! Lots of hand washing + yard work =

Ongoing Projects

The growing pile of dryer lint and studio scrap paper is starting to feel like a stack of receipts. Or invoices? For my unpaid labor as a mother/ home keeper and artist.

Adding the new color to my daily stitch journal.

The knitted shroud is coming along slowly but surly. This piece is knit with gleaned bobbin ends from a local mill dyed with acorns and mud from my yard. It will eventually be as tall as me and used to scrub the floor of my home, leaving a ghostly image of my working body.

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04/16/2020

Body of Work

is my working title for the performative act of scrubbing a floor with mud dyed and knitted wool yarn as well as the resulting soft sculptures.

This post will give you insight into the process of making this work and where it is going.

I am moving this work into it’s next phase. The square swatches I had been making and scrubbing with were tests and I now have enough information to move onto a larger piece.

I tested weight of yarn as well as scrubbing method.

Conclusions:

Scrubbing yields the results I am looking for when I lay my hands with fingers spread wide on the cloth then pull my fingers together, scrunching the knitting between them.

The yarn that yields the results I am looking for is actually the bobbin ends from a local mill. Ewethful Fiber Farm generously gave me these beautiful ends! I love being able to use reclaimed materials in my work.


My next step is to make a larger piece of knitting, at least as big as my body laid flat…. Well actually I need to mud dye my yarn first! I will be posting that process on Instagram as I complete the steps.

The inspiration for the work came early in 2020 when I was still working 40 hours per week at a local mill as well as keeping a household, mothering and trying to make art. The work at the mill was repetitive and echoed the tasks of domestic labor. The positive aspect of this is that it provided spaces to THINK. But also to converse with my coworker who happened to be a very knowledgeable textile artist. She once described to me a kind of mitten that is made in Scandinavia where the inside layer is made of loose roving. Over time the moisture and movements of the hand inside the mitten will felt the roving.

I was inspired by this idea.

How can everyday touch create an object?

Specifically the touch of a working body?

(I tried this process with roving but it did not work as I intended so the question became..)

How can a body performing domestic labor move or manipulate a line?

A piece of knitting is a continuous line given form by working hands.