|Jars of kitchen food items that are dyeing crochet cotton in 40 degree weather in Ohio!|
|From left to right: tea leaves, instant coffee, red onion skins, and 2 jars of black bean soaking water.|
|The tea and coffee dyes. You can see the spool of crochet cotton in the one on the left.|
Dyeing fabric with natural materials is not new to me.
But doing it the slow way, with the sun as the heating element is.
I read about solar dyeing in "Slow Stitch" by Claire Wellesley-Smith although I have known about using the sun to heat up dyes for a long time.
The whole Slow Stitch process has impressed me as I work with the old quilts I am deconstructing. While taking apart someone else's work seems destructive on one hand, I feel that I am preserving the work and the process that went into the work by the way I am revealing the back of the quilt blocks, the batting, the remaining stitches, the torn and deteriorated fabrics.
Taking apart a quilt is a slow process. Not as slow as the initial making of it, but kind of a delicate and even intimate process. Reconstructing the quilts as I am doing brings into question the identity of that object. Is it still a quilt or is it another art form? Or something else entirely.
I feel that incorporating some solar dyed crochet cotton will add a sense of the current time period because I am dyeing them now, but also add an element of "slow" to the overall process as it will take 10 days or more to dye the threads.
Using the threads as I stitch by hand is also part of the meditative and repetitive process that I have always found so appealing about quilting and hand stitching.
It is good for me to slow down.
I have always been a multi-tasker and some one who has lived by the clock.
Time is so important to me...having enough of it to make art, while also doing all of the other things that I want to do each day, every day.
Both the deconstructing of the quilts and the hand stitching have caused me to really think about my process and my art from a new perspective. I know I have touched on several ideas here. I am just beginning to really hone in on the idea of time and how it affects my work.
I need more meditative hand stitching time to really sort it all out.