This week in the Artist Residency in Motherhood I have been working with nets, making and sculpting with paper and feeling generally directionless.
My county is moving into Phase I of reopening the economy today. This brings the same level of uncertainty to my mind as the closing of schools did in March. I was privileged to have appreciated being paused. Now I am trying to remember what I was doing before March 16th and possibly reevaluating those goals.
But with certainty I can say, until my daughter returns to school I will be here full time mothering and making art.
From the Residency Studio this week…
WIP, homemade copper ink on paper
WIP, mud dyed yarn net as a cobweb in the kitchen
Experimenting with ways to display my foraged clay vessels.
Paper bead experiment. With dryer lint, studio paper scraps and my mothers t-shirts.
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 =
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.