Working with the very fabric of the place

Documenting what is outside my workspace at Hawthbush Farm

This is yet again something I have never done before. As part of my ceramic practice I have always used calico to roll clay on and lean on. As part of my general artistic practice via studying for a diploma at West Dean College calico also gained a place for writing, sewing and working on. I have make patchwork using the English pieced-paper technique since I was little and generally am quite handy with a needle. So I knew somehow I wanted to explore sewing and fabric whilst at Hawthbush and have been using a big sheet of calico as a tablecloth which has been written on and has picked up evidence of my work as I have gone on, but I wanted to go a step further.

Embracing the foraging mentality and trying to use just what is outside my hut I collected stuff that I could use as a dye and via a number of useful Instagram and websites have picked up the rudiments of dyeing fabric. I am delighted with the results and although each have faded a lot since I dyed them simply through washing I am pretty happy that I’ve got a lovely pallet of fabric to work with. The mordants I used to ‘fix’ the colours played a big role: alum and oak galls and they have created their own family of colours which I have tried really hard to document carefully (a skill I am not great at). I am looking forward to getting stuck into some patchwork which is excellent to work on throughout the winter months.

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