Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Remembering a Fall Workshop with India Flint

I want to share some photos from the workshop I took last Fall with India Flint.  It was held at a old elementary school that has been repurposed as a community arts center for a beautiful lakeside suburb of Cleveland Ohio.  Many of the other women in attendance were incredible artists in their own right, and India – well she is genius- with a wealth of information absorbed after years of careful observation- patiently gathering, and feeding the dye pot.

When you see a piece of dyed cloth labeled "eco-print", no doubt it was inspired by her technique. What I would recommend if you want to learn her techniques is that you get a hold of her book and/or take a class with her. I don’t want to dilute the experience by giving you a blow-by-blow account of the workshop. As I work out ideas in my own backyard I’ll share what I come up with.

With sensitivity to India’s wishes I’m not including images of her. Just a few highlights…walnut bundles, fabrics tightly bound around branches, fantastically colored dyed goods blowing in the breeze- so you can get a taste of how magical the time was.

Some of my samples that I brought home

Nugets to remember...
Get to know what is in your own back yard.
Bundle- warp- and tie tightly- firm contact is important.
Be patient- it takes time.
Experiment with non-toxic mordants like soy milk and egg.
Use found rusty objects to print and alter colors.
(Rubbing fabric on an old copper foot plate made the prints on one of my scraps pop to life!)

Leaving you with this scrap of wool with what turned out more like oak leaf resists than prints- left after being wrapped around a walnut and simmered. It wasn't a particularly beautiful sample but I thought it deserved saving. It doesn't show up well in the photo, but the veins in the leaves left an interesting relief print in the soft wool, giving it some interesting texture.

I’ve embroidered around the leaves and added some applique shapes made from the silk I used to wrap my Easter eggs in last weekend. I'm going to add some more embroidery to this – a spiders web I think-connecting the Fall leaves and Spring buds and representing a dream catcher of sorts. I will be dreaming of ways to experiment with what I learned from India far into the future.

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