Category Archives: madder root

Soul Full

This weaving was included in Further Evidence | The Art of Natural Dyes  at Penland School of Crafts, in Penland, NC, May 28–July 14, 2019 and will be auctioned at the Penland Benefit Auction, Aug. 9-10, 2019. I began a series of four letter word weavings in 2017. I hope once the viewer sees the words Soul Full, hidden in the checkerboard, a shift in attitude is possible. As with any dyed fabric, this weaving should be kept out of direct sunlight when choosing a place to hang it. Absentee bidding is available at the Penland website link above.

Cotton; warp: resist ikat dyed with madder root, weft: dyed with weld, 22 1/2 x 34 inches

Further Evidence | The Art of Natural Dyes featured the work of sixteen international artists working with natural dyes. Co-curated by textile artist and dyer Catharine Ellis, who, along with Danish textile engineer and chemist Joy Boutrup, recently published a long awaited book on the subject and will be co-teaching at Penland School in 2019. The resurgence of the use of natural dyes in both studio practice and commercial dyeing was recognized in the exhibition, including works on paper with ink and pigment, and woven and printed textiles. 

Braided River Broad Shallows

The North Platte and the South Platte Rivers meet near the city of North Platte, Nebraska, and form the Platte River, which flows 310 miles across the state where it meets the Missouri River. In the Kearney, NE area, it serves as a staging ground for the annual migration north of the Sandhill Crane. They feed in nearby cornfields by day and roost in the river by night, adding up to a pound of fat to their body weight before they take flight again toward their nesting grounds.

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Braided River Broad Shallows. Jay Kreimer and Wendy Weiss. 2019. Museum of Nebraska Art, Exhibition titled “A River Runs Through It.”

In 1714 Etienne Veniard de Bourgmont (born 1679) was the first recorded European to come upon a river which the Oto people called the Nebrathka, meaning “flat water.” The French word for flat is plat and eventually the river became known as the Platte.

Teliza Rodriguez, the curator of the Musuem of Nebraska Art, invited Jay Kreimer and me to create a piece for an exhibition titled “A River Runs Through It,” (February 26 – July 21, 2019) and requested we develop a work to place underneath the central skylight in the main exhibition space. The premise for the exhibition is the “Platte River – from the sounds and sights of the land, flora, and fauna that surround, inhabit, and visit it to the sky that stretches far above.”

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Detail. Braided River Broad Shallows

This work began in October 2018. I designed the weaving using software called ProWeave. I wanted to use a weave structure that would show movement, like the current or movement of water, and I wanted the color to reflect the colors of a setting or rising sun. We often think that water is blue, but when looking at a river, the color is always changing and relates to the light in the sky, the depth of the water, the time of year and any number of other details.

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Warping the loom from back to front. The perle cotton warp is set onto the back of the loom as I prepare to set it into the raddle to wind it onto the back beam.

Once I determined the size of the weaving—I calculated how big each weaving would need to be—I discovered it would take up to 30 lbs. of cotton thread. For the dye, I used plants I have collected. Fortunately I have been harvesting flower tops for many years and had dried marigolds, cosmos, and other traditional dye plants, weld and madder root, that I had on hand to use.

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The lighter colors are from the plant dyes and the darker shades result from dipping sections of the dyed warp into a ferrous bath.

I modified a weave structure by Franz Donat, published in 1890 in Bindungs-Lexikon fur Schaftweberei downloaded from Handweaving.net. If you look at the ends of the weavings you can see the strips, but the diagonal nature of the weave structure, along with the red/orange of the weft color, alters the perception of the strip, so it is not clear to the eye.

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I worked on the yarn preparation for this project for 1 1/2 months: winding over 4,000 warp threads; binding the warp so when I dyed and wove them they spelled out the word FLAT; preparing the yarns for dyeing, including washing the natural cotton to remove any natural oils and debris, mordanting them in a tannin bath followed by an alum bath; soaking the plant material to make the dye; filling big pots of water to cook the dye; dipping sections of the yarn into a ferrous pot to create the dark strips of colors; drying the yarn and rinsing it. The next step was to remove all the binding.

Meanwhile, Jay Kreimer worked on developing the clouds and the eight foot legs of the crane, dropping from the sky. He also created a score that combines natural and created sound to complete the piece. We consulted on color and how to work with the space of the skylight. When we deinstall the work in late July 2019, I will be able to see how the color holds up to the natural light coming into the space from the doors and skylight.

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Suspended from the skylight, two eight foot legs welcome viewers into the exhibition space.
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Gaza, Scar, Camp

Gaza-Scar-CampP1030670FIBERART INTERNATIONAL 2019

This weaving presents three compelling words in response to bloody and deadly protests taking place in Gaza from March to May 2018. “Gaza, Scar, Camp” speak to experiences both Jews and Palestinians have lived with in profound ways. For millennia Jews endured the scars of hate, ostracization, and pogroms. The horrific experience of the Nazi death camps is indelible and enduring. Palestinians in Gaza have lived in desperate straits over decades and generations. Israeli and Egyptian blockades, checkpoints and roadblocks make  access to basic necessities such as school, food, health services, and work extremely difficult. A solution to the Palestinian crisis is a humanitarian necessity and needs to be addressed in the larger context of a volatile, destabilized region.

Fiberart International is a benchmark exhibition presenting the best in contemporary fiber art. FI2019 is the 23rd in an ongoing series of triennial exhibitions. I will be showing this new work called “Gaza, Scar, Camp.”

EXHIBITION DATES:   May 31 – August 24, 2019, Pittsburgh, PA

Fantastic Fibers 2018

If you are traveling this spring, stop in to see Fantastic Fibers 2018 at the Yeiser Art Center. I will be showing Litzmannstadt Getto, 1940-1944 in the show.

Five Textile Society of America members are represented in this year’s exhibition, which runs April 14 – June 9, 2018 at the Yeiser Art Center, 200 Broadway St, Paducah, KY 42001, (270) 442-2453. Arturo Sandaval was the juror. You will find a complete list of artists on the Yeiser Art Center web page. Liztmannstadt Getto won Best of Show award.

Excellence In Fibers

Excellence In Fibers is on view until March 19, 2017 at New Bedford Art Museum/ArtWorks! Four weavings are on exhibit. Fiber Art Now, a quarterly print and digital magazine, developed the exhibition.

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Resist. 2016. Natural dye on cotton, handwoven.

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Game. 2016. Natural dye on cotton, handwoven.

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Game #2, 2017. Natural dye on cotton, handwoven.

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Rhythm Game #1. 2017. Natural dye on cotton and wool, handwoven.

 

Litzmannstadt Getto, 1940-1944, 2015

I have returned to the city of Lodz, Poland again and again. It is home to an extraordinary group of weavers and textile artists whose innovation and creativity inspire me. Its history haunts me.

I first visited Poland in 1992 and have had the privilege to return a number of times over the years. In the late 1990s I worked with Polish and American colleagues to develop an exhibition of contemporary Polish fiber art that toured the USA, called Different Voices: New Art from Poland. When I returned to Lodz after a hiatus of almost twenty years, the monuments and memorials to the victims of World War II struck me.

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Litzmannstadt Getto, 1940-1944. 2015. Photo by Jay Kreimer

When I revisited Poland in 2014 to teach a workshop on ikat we stayed in the Baluty neighborhood of Lodz. This neighborhood was clearly demarcated in present day Lodz as the site of the Litzmannstadt Getto of 1940-1944, stenciled on curbs around the perimeter and marked with a granite marker. The Lodz Ghetto was the second largest Jewish ghetto in Poland. The Nazis changed the name of the city to Litzmannstadt in November 1939 after a German general who invaded the city in World War I.

This brief immersion in the Lodz Ghetto has propelled me to return to my research about World War II, this time examining the European causes and consequences. The ikat technique, my interest in text and image, and the desire to grapple with history in visual terms have come together.

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detail view of Litzmannstadt Getto, 1940-1944

The weaving, Litzmannstadt Getto, 1940-1944, 2015 is the first in this group of works, a major undertaking in which I have been able to combine text and pattern using an innovation of the Indian method of preparing the threads for dyeing.

I explore the world through woven fabric, constructed thread by thread, infused with color from plant and mineral sources. Inherently a slow process, I wind lengths of thread to become warp yarns, secure them around a frame to bind the desired pattern, immerse them in mordant and dye solutions so they can achieve a specific color, remove the binding to free the threads so finally I can transfer them to the loom to weave a fabric, inserting the weft yarn, row by row.

 

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Opening day of the 15th Triennial of Textiles

The Litmannstadt Getto weaving is currently on view in the 15th International Triennial of Tapestry, at the Central Museum of Textiles in Lodz, Poland as part of the American contingent. Judith Content, Susan Iverson, Jill Nordfors Clark, Kathy Weaver

To learn more about the history of the Lodz Ghetto you can find a number of on-line sites, including:

http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/ghettos/Lodz/lodzghetto.html

http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/Poland/LodzGhetto.html http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/lodz.html

Fences, Trees and Looms: Following the Thread Weavings by Wendy Weiss and Photographs by Jay Kreimer

Patio Gallery

Jewish Community Center, Louisville, Kentucky

February 21-March 29, 2016

Opening reception, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2-4pm

 

This exhibition features recent naturally dyed ikat weavings by Wendy Weiss and accompanying photographs of ikat artisans at work in India and historic looms and factory buildings in Łodź, Poland by Jay Kreimer. The exhibition also highlights five silk weavings by artisans in a rural community in the Surendranagar District of Gujarat, where Weiss worked as a Fulbright Nehru senior research scholar from October 2014 to July 2015, training the weavers in digital design. Ikat is a method of dyeing warp and/or weft yarns, using binding of selected areas of the threads to resist dye the yarns in a patterned way, prior to placing them on the loom to weave. Ms. Weiss has been developing a method to create pattern in ikat using the traditional Gujarati system for preparing the warp yarn.

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“Resist” weaving in progress, natural dye (madder, weld, iron), warp ikat.

In August of 2014 she taught an ikat workshop at the Strzeminski Academy of Fine Arts Łodź, Poland which inspired a group of weavings about the “Litzmannstadt Getto,” in Łodź. One of these weavings will be exhibited at the 15th International Triennale of Textiles in Łodź in 2016.