Spring in the backyard

Spring in the backyard

Friday, May 9, 2014


Taking handfuls of plant material, wrapping it in paper, and submerging it into a dye pot is not unlike taking digital images and importing them into software meant for audio files and then exporting them out as image files once again.
As with paper transformed by dyes, the image is transformed by audio effects.
The way metals and plants will react and mark the paper is like the way digital image files are transformed by echos, decay, noise removal and equalization.
Until you unwrap the paper you don't know what you've got. Until you export the image file and open it, you don't what you've got.

Learning this process has been fun. It's been out there for a while, but as with all things digital, I am behind the cultural curve.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Lessons in Dyeing

Thank you Velma for telling me about the bedstraw–the red lines are exquisite. I owe you!

It seems ironic that when my mother died in December I suddenly was ready to bulldoze forward to experiment with dyeing paper–nearly 3 years since Velma taught me what to do! It's just two words that sound the same, but a funny coincidence none the less.

I am finding the contact plant dyeing process extremely rewarding. It is one more expression of lessons learned from the plant world. My life long passion for plants is largely due to my grandmother Alice - my mother's mother. When my grandmother died, through a last act of my grandmother, my slight interest in plants was suddenly transformed into something meaningful and vitally important. 

I don't mean to imply that now plant dyes are connected to my mother–just interesting timing with the words dying and dyeing. If anything, my connection to plants feels much more directly experiential and not sentimentalized. Some years back, when I wasn't paying attention, a great transformation happened. I no longer needed the plants to keep me close to my grandmother. Rather, I can be close to the plants for the the simple appreciation of the plants. And I can feel my grandmother without the plants to help me.

And when it come to people, I see these papers and think of Mary, Velma, and many other friends. I especially think of, and give thanks to, my sweetie Billy who works along side me in the creative process.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Learning from Velma

Right before I went back to school (a few years ago now), Velma Bolyard (Wake Robin) made a visit out West and we did some paper making and dyeing with plants. Finally, I have put her teaching into practice.

I will admit that I can be a slow learner, or at least slow on the action. When I buy or am given new clothes to wear they often sit in my closet a few months and then suddenly they are my favorite thing to wear till it falls apart.The same with a new dish or some beautiful piece of paper. It takes time for me to integrate something new into who I am.

Recently I made small pieces, just testing out different plant material.
But already, a moon book in the making. On the right - dandelion, a small violet, and grape hyacinths. Thank you Velma!