Progress Cycles 2023
Tapestry 23” x 32”
Homegrown, hand processed and handspun flax>linen warp; handspun gifted Vermont wool; studio-grown indigo, locally foraged black walnut and dyer’s polypore natural dyes; handmade pottery buttons by the artist’s father; NASA service pins belonging to the artist’s paternal grandfather
This body of work that I’m calling Landcestors grew out of the natural fiber and dye materials that I’ve been growing, processing and creatively collaborating with for several years. Being in intimate conversation with the land through these materials inspired me to explore the possibilities of intertwining human and land stories and forms. I started with the premise that the earth is made of the same elements as the human body and experiences change and trauma as do people. Loosely using the body form as landscape, map and timeline, these pieces bear witness to the confusing nature of trauma, on both bodies and land, while simultaneously suggesting the regenerational possibilities available in the body and in the land. My vision is that the generous natural materials of Landcestors, being so close to their origins in the land, can lend themselves to reconciling and integrating the shards and twisted narratives of personal and cultural histories in ways that evoke wholeness.
Two of these torso-shaped tapestries hold elements of my personal ancestral stories, conceived as landscapes. One tapestry imagines the emergent nature of the earth in human form. And one tapestry considers the landscapes we hold inside our earthy, watery bodies.
The creation of these works was supported by the Vermont Arts Council.
In the spring of 2022 I planted the flax seeds that would become the warp threads. I also planted Persicaria tinctoria, Japanese indigo, for the sixth year on my tiny homestead. A friend gifted me a fleece from their flock of sheep around the same time. In the fall, after a summer of watering and weeding, I harvested the flax and indigo as well as a small patch of hemp. Friends gifted me some wild-growing dogbane and nettle stalks. In November, I dug a half a bucket of wild madder root from my generous neighbors’ field. The winter was spent mindfully hand processing the materials into palettes of ready-to-weave yarn.
Growing and processing flax for the linen warp
Natural dyes for the wool yarns
Dogbane, nettle and hemp
Loom and weaving