Sunday, April 24, 2011

Salt Spring Island Dye Walk 1

  This has been a weekend full of activity (already!). Social time, new classes and studio openings. Planning, organizing, drawing and thinking. Hill walking, garden walking and beach walking. We are finally waking up to the longer days and feeling their potential to be out and active well into the evening hours.
  Yesterday I had the most grounding and creative time. I have been working on a felt series for the market and my studio here. It incorporates geography, sense of place, and relationships.  
I felt into lengths of silk with local wools, stopping partway through the process to add storylines of stitches.  Songlines, trails, pathways, tracks, topographical lines-interpretation open to the setting and the viewer. Then finish felting. My dye process is based on the work of India Flint. On each dye story walk I go to a different place and take in the sounds and sights, and collect for the surface design. I collect plants from the land or the sea, garbage, metals, and stories and conversations. 
"Home" seems like the best place to start this textile art recording. So I walked our property, observing the plants, looking for treasures. Those that spoke to me, I collected in my dye bag. Gary oak shavings, cherry bark, lichens, daffodils, primrose leaves, dandelions, arbutus bark, periwinkle flowers and vine, ajuga...some old tarnished coins...a few old nails...I brought them all down to the beach and soaked the felts in the tide.

I love how the silks felts bubble and float. They look just like seaweed. Inspiring in themselves. Another project!

I lay out my collection on the felt surface. Using the natural shapes to create interesting patters. Lines, circles, sweeps of curves. Then I add the next felt on top, building up layers of textiles and plant materials so that the dyes can move through the layers in different relationship.

The plants, metals, and other findings are rolled up into the felt bundles and submerged or steamed to extract and set the dyes.
(look carefully at the photos above- do you see the tide slowly coming in and claiming my boots! I didn't! Grin!)

The songs and stories and conversations are written onto the surface on the scarf or textile length. A record of that day, in that place.
It feels so right and true. 
I'll post a finished picture this week.
Hope you are all having a lovely weekend- filled with family, warmth, pleasure and creativity!
Warm wishes,


  1. This is so incredibly beautiful...all of it. I never knew felting like this existed. This is my first time here and I am so dazzled by your pictures. I will come back for the finished product.

  2. Wow,Thanks Suz! I haven`t been writing as much as I would like. When I`m writing articles,I don`t have so much time for my blog...but! Articles are done for now we get into some serious (and lighthearted!) felting!
    Thanks again for your kind comment! warm wishes, Fiona

  3. I have been so inspired by all your beautiful work you are so gifted and talented. thank-you so much i have been totally inspired to keep going and enjoy wool in its many ways . Teresa

  4. Thank you Teresa! I really am honoured that you looked at my work and took the time to comment. Wool is an amazing and endlessly inspiring medium...there are so many ideas and things to make- it's just finding the time to realize them, isn't it! Thanks again! Warm wishes, Fiona