This question comes up a lot with my artist friends. The argument sometimes is that creating is an indulgence when there is much work to be done to make the world a better place.
It’s a fair point but I don’t know that I agree. Here’s why:
I am back from a restorative trip to Britain where we spent time with family and marveled at the countryside and heritage that I have for so long taken for granted.
Returning to the US has been a strange mix of sadness but also relief to be in our home. I am thinking of ways I can use my art and skills to effect change while also trying to give myself some space to recover from the journey.
While I do this I plunge my hands in soil and rely on my craft for support and healing. I include here some pictures from my trip.
It has been an exhausting couple of weeks both personally and politically. Trying to work through grief and support my loved ones is not easy and it can fog the brain.
So I did the things I know will help me. I sat in my garden and turned to my community. I performed ritual and opened myself to intuition and the divine.
Last night I met with one of my covens and we talked about the state of the world and how it should be. To the outsider this might have seemed like an animated conversation that covered spirituality, politics etc and nothing more, but in the circle we created, we were conjuring and envisioning. Magic and witchcraft can hide in plain sight. Spellwork takes many forms, and sometimes the spells happen in our subconscious.
In my fiber art I explore this and use my work as a refuge.
As a witchy woman who already loves growing plants and making potions, natural dyeing is very exciting. Every time I do it, it feels like magick. I am never sure how the color will come out. Here is a video of dyeing with blueberries that were going moldy in my fridge and the finished brooch I made from the fabric.
As my work is not intended to be washed I like to be quite relaxed and let the process lead me. This method of sitting the fabric in the dye liquid (I added alum powder as a mordant) is from Slow Stitching by Clare Wellesley Smith.
I was a little intimidated by natural dyeing at first because it seemed so technical, but if you're willing to experiment it is actually pretty easy.
Lot's of terrible things happening in the world. So what to do? Make a sarcastic video tutorial!
It's great to have a hoop both to keep your work taut, and as an easy, economical way of displaying your finished project. Check out my new video on how to do it.
Like the video? Subscribe to my newsletter and be the first to learn about my online workshops coming this summer.
My journey into showing gratitude for my friendships continues with these flags or pennants. They were created for friend and coven member Safi Mahaba. She and I have been friends for many years now and her presence in my life feeds my soul.
Her work is full of beauty and activism. The Peace Gardens that she cultivated with her partner DeWayne Barton, were one of the reasons we moved to the neighborhood we have been in for over 10 years.
I could write endlessly of how the work of these two people have been important to my family. Their love of this special community has brought it back from pain and destruction caused by the racist policies of urbanization. I am grateful for their work and friendship. That is why I made these artworks that pay homage to the land and growth.
Safi and DeWayne are working hard on the next chapter of community cultivation called Blue Note Junction. Please take time to see the project here.
It's just a week away! Here's a video of the kit participants receive as part of their registration.
The class will be on April 30th at 3 pm - 5pm at Asheville Raven and Crone.
Registration is $35.
Here I am talking about where I work. The great thing about fiber art is that it is easy to do with little to no space as you will see from my video. I also wanted to show how I use packaging for storage to avoid throwing away too much plastic etc.
This weekend I played around with making some more videos. Here's one I did on paper piecing which is one of my favorite methods. I have used paper piecing for years to make quilts, usually sticking to hexagons as you will see in the video below.
However I recently made one using sari scraps with a basic square and rectangle design, which worked really well (pictured above). Using papers is helpful with lightweight fabrics, the paper gives them stability. I get often asked: "Do you take the papers out?" Yes! You do. When you are done sewing each shape you snipe the tacking thread, remove it and take out the papers. You can use the papers a couple of times.