Thursday, March 20, 2008

An Ah-Ha Moment or, Why I Do What I Do

Ok, this is not a fiber photo. It does have a connection to fiber and what it means to me so read on!
I am giving my knees a break from tiling the mudroom floor and have been checking in on my friends and family through e-mail and blogs. I checked in with my dyeing friend Dana whose blog you can find through the Fiber Links list on the sidebar of my blog. She has been struggling, as we all do now and then, through life's sticky spots but in her post she talked about how her textile work is helping her find her way through. It was when reading her post that I had one of those Ah-Ha moments.
This is what I posted in the comments section;
"(It is) So appropriate that textiles and the fiber arts lead the way out of the dark places we fall into now and then. We join hands with women throughout time both past and present (and future I forgot to add) when we take up our needles, shuttles, dyepots, and tools."
This is why I have to do what I do with fibers. This is why I am uprooting my life and my husband's life to pursue a MFA in fibers. This is why I want to one day create a fiber art center with like-minded people. This is why I want to share this knowledge with others in a world that is rapidly forgetting some of these skills in favor of technology.
The fiber arts connect us through thousands of years as people, and as women (and men too!) across time and cultures. We need this connection more than ever in the present.
So, what does this picture have to do with the above? It is a picture of me climbing the REI spire in Seattle. I love climbing. It isn't really logical since I am afraid of heights and have to conquer that fear every single time I tie in. Climbing is an apt metaphor for many things in life but in this case, it represents how challenging the journey in fibers can be at times. We wander into dark places and obstacles get in the way and sometimes it is just plain hard and scary, but we keep climbing back to our fiber roots. Because we have to.
Keep weaving, spinning, dyeing, knitting, and the rest. Who knows? We might just save the world! -Renee


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Anonymous said...

I am interested in your Indigo experiences. I am a student who is working on recycled (thrifted) cotton and linen viscose blouses and jackets.

I understand that the use of masking tape on fabric will deposit just enough of the tape's adhesive to change the absorbtion of the indigo and thus change the colour in that particular spot.

Have you any experience of this, or do you know of any onewho does?
Many thanks from England from
A former Seattle girl,

Renee said...

Hi Suella, thanks for the comment. Your raise an intriguing question. I have never used masking tape adhesive as a resist in indigo. There are so many places to go in fiber! If you end up using this technique, I would be interested in hearing your results.
I am a thrift store shopper myself and enjoy using recycled garments and materials in my projects. Hope spring in England has been warmer and drier than here! -Renee

dana said...

Great post Renee! I do think textile/fiber work is entwined with human history so deeply that the processes evoke a visceral response. Its about feeling, not thinking, and it feels so right. About the sticky residue from tape:
those tablecloths I am working on have been marked and taped all these years and are thick with tape gunk, so I will report back.