Monday 6 January 2014

Slow cloth

Does anyone understand this "slow cloth" concept?
I've just been reading things on the "slow cloth" fb page  and am somwhat baffled.

appropriate time, Well I am a great advocate of appropriate time - why oh why do people want to rush doing something that needs to be done properly?

skill and mastery, I have spent years studying and doing my best to learn from the old master dyers who wrote their work down.

Ethic of quality I definitely go along with, I try oh so hard to make sure that my work is the highest standard I can make it, don't understand how others can sell something that they know is inferior. I do testing on my dyeing, wash and light, I experiment, I do sample dyeing and I reject what is not good or I will put in the sale box with an explanation of why it is there!

Diversity and multiculturalism, well I work primarily from a UK perspective, I look at what was imported dye wise, when and where from. Then I look at how it can apply to the present. I work with suppliers from wherever is appropriate to a product if I can.

Fostering community not quite sure I get this bit, am I supposed to get everyone in the locality to grow the dyes for me and work with me?

A commitment to teaching. Yep definitely! Have plans in store for even more teaching than I currently do!

Joy The whole process fills my soul - I love the smells, the textures, the colours, the methods......even the tastes!

Contemplation there is no rushing with natural dyes, you have to allow them to work in their own time to get the most from them, this allows time for contemplation of what is happening, how, whether the colour is what is wanted how to change it........oh so much contemplation!

beauty  what isn't beautiful about working with nature? (even if they are chemicals!)

expression my colours will not be the same as another dyers for many reasons, but they are an expression of MY work!

Sustainable use of resources I do my best to follow this - I went into getting organic certification for my dyeing and came to the conclusion that my standards are higher than GOTS so I stick to my own, I waste as little as possible and rarely any dyestuff!

Appropriate materials Doesn't this come back to having studied and researched and learnt to do the job properly, thereby knowing that the dye is appropriate, the fibre is appropriate and the mordant is appropriate and that they all work together properly?

Pleasure  Oh yes I LOVE MY JOB!!!!!!!

So am I a slow cloth person then?

I can't say it's something that I want to be, the terminology feels much more negative than positive, it implies that I sit around doing nothing waiting for the colour to happen and that it is shoddy - not well dyed,bright and cheery. I knw that that is not what is meant but it's what it says to me!

I have been working to most of the above since the early 1990's when I started, but suddenly someone comes up with a term and everyone is supposed to buy into it, is that the idea?

 I want to be someone who has done their best to master the historical dyer's skills and pass it on to future generations so that we never again lose these skills, not just someone else who comes under some arty farty terminology! I never went to art college to learn how to waffle and get huge grants for nothing, I just get on with the job!

Wednesday 1 January 2014

Happy New Year!

I've just been out for a wild windy walk , just our village area not far, but I was inspired by the scenery around me and thought I'd share my thoughts here!

Our house in France is in a very rural setting, the village is straight ahead of us but in all other directions is farmland, much of it is agricultural, huge great fields that over the year carry a range of crops.

I thought it might be interesting to follow the fields and locality through the year see the different crops and changing colours and allow this inspiration to influence the colours and shapes of my work. 
I would like to re- visit embroidery which I haven't had time to do for many years so the designs for this will come from these images too!
To the best of my ability I will show a monthly update of how these images change, lets see what transpires through the seasons of 2014!