I was invited by one of my favorite makers, Inge of Windward Made to join her in a Creative Blog Hop where we answer four questions about our creative process. I was very flattered to be asked by her and hope you too are interested in reading my answers. You can read her insightful and interesting post here.
What am I working on? Right now I’m trying to capture as much of this summer’s color in fiber by dyeing yarn with plant sources.
How does my work differ from others of its genre? I suppose it would be that I dye directly from plants that I either grew myself or foraged for locally. Though, naturally dyeing is by no means new and although there are great plant dyers out there, the ratio of such individuals in the dye world is slimmer. In the beginning I wondered if I would be boxing myself into too small of a space. Would I have enough interesting color options in nature nearby? What about the fact that each batch is one of a kind and can't ever be replicated exactly? Is that really practical? But neighbors are now dropping bags of walnuts off on my back porch and pokeberries, promising to save their garden extras and keeping an eye out for certain plants I’m in need of so I can stay true to my desire to dye directly from my local environment. Eventually I'd like to progress forward to the point of using locally and more conscientiously sourced fiber, (perhaps even from my own flock!)
Why do I create what I do? I've always been a creative individual. I know this next bit has been used by every artist ever but creating is nearly as essential as eating and breathing to me. Back in 2011, I developed a new found love in knitting. Around then, my passion for gardening as well as exploring and better understanding the natural world around me was budding simultaneously. It only makes sense that the two should crash together in the form of dyeing naturally. Now I find so much happiness and almost childlike enthusiasm in seeing how everyday plants can color fiber. It's more than just making something clever or pretty. I think a lot of "art snobs" overlook craft. True craft, the end result and the process, when done for the right reasons, like creating practical and beautiful things to brighten and ease our days and to connect us to the objects we use and see everyday, has a lot of lessons to offer. Lately I've been thinking on how the color seeps into the fiber, transforms it, how some of it won't stick around without help, and how these are such powerful metaphors for so many other things in life.
How does my creative process work? With these dyes, I’m very dependent on Mother Nature and I'm rolling with the limitations, opportunities and lessons that come with that. While I do freeze and dry some materials for dyeing when it’s more convenient for me, I've found using fresh picked dye stuffs often yields the best and most rewarding results. That means things like time, rain, wind, climate, etc often dictate when and what I can dye. Because of this, when I hear walnuts plunking to the ground I realize now is the time to dye, regardless of whether or not it fits in my schedule or I'm prepared. My process is very experimental and spontaneous (which is really odd for me!) Like I said earlier, I approach this with an almost child-like way of playing and learning.
Thank you again, Inge for the opportunity to answer these questions. I've nominated 3 other creatives I greatly admire and you can expect to see their posts up in the next two weeks: Casey, Kristina and Ine.