Get Through Winter with Wearable Art

4 Jan 2011

As I write this, the snow is coming down, I'm wearing extra warm socks and a scarf, and I'm wondering if I remembered to put the ice scraper in my trunk. The very thought of a being outside in a silk slip dress makes me shiver.

But oh, if only I had a ticket to Australia, where it's summer right now. I could take a class with fiber artist India Flint on field excursions to collect eucalyptus and flowers for the dye pot, gather wool from her sheep to dye and turn into pre-felt, and make Bohemian-style tunics and dresses from botanically dyed silks and found fabrics.

Where's Oprah when you need her? I'm ready to board a plane to Australia right now!

I first became aware of India Flint through her absolutely gorgeous book, Eco Colour: Botanical Dyes for Beautiful Textiles, published in America last year. But it was when I read a profile of her in the latest issue of Fiberarts that I realized what a truly fascinating artist she is. I much admire her approach to fiber art, combining natural fiber and salvaged goods with sustainable dyestuffs and non-caustic processes.

In that same issue, which dedicated to wearables, Sheri Harr describes how she imprints cotton and silk with flower and leaf patterns. She uses plants she grows herself and low-tech methods of bundling, pressing, and hammering. While I would love to have a dress or tunic made from some of this ethereal fabric, my fingers are just itching to lower my feed dogs and free-motion stitch around all of those wonderful leafy patterns.

If those two articles aren't enough to get me through the winter, I can always pin up pictures of Olga von Moorende's sunny, cheerful, and expertly constructed dresses to combat my Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Olga compares the way she stitches fabric to drawing and the way she cuts and pieces the fabrics to painting. She often uses quilting fabrics because they come in such bright colors and fun patterns.

That gives me an idea. Playing with my fabrics always puts me in a sunny mood, even when it's winter. That and a stack of Fiberarts magazines should last me 'til spring (unless Oprah comes through with that ticket)!


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Comments

CarolineA wrote
on 4 Jan 2011 5:39 AM

Pokey, you would need water wings and snow skis as well as summer clothes in Australia at the moment! The Eastern states are having a really bad time of it, with severe flooding and more atrocious weather on the way. There was 12 inches of snow in the Victorian snow fields the week before Christmas, snow in Tasmania on Boxing Day and apart from Perth, no-one is too sure if we are going to have a summer this year. Its going to be one to remember for all the wrong reasons!

Your world sounds pretty good right now, so put another log on the fire, and snuggle up with your favourite magazines!