Color and Cloth
Heading out the door of painter Wendy Edwards' studio, I was telling her about growing marigolds for our upcoming project. As she waved good-bye, she said, “You know, marigolds are true Cadmium Yellow.” During the summer months while preparing for Marigold, those words stayed in my mind as the marigold plants continued to grow on our Brooklyn roof and as conversations of this Cultivation, Color and Cloth project began.
In reading Elizabeth Wayland Barber's Women's Work, The First 20,000 Years. Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times, our eyes were opened to the history of making cloth. We learned that weaving was a great equalizer, commoners as well as the queen would spin fibers and weave. We learned about the simple construction of early garments, principally a big rectangle of cloth just off the loom, rectangles for the torso and sleeves sewn into tubes, construction honoring the simple beauty and value of the woven panel. That linen, the first fiber to be transformed into usable fabric, is difficult to dye and was woven for centuries without color. That when animal fibers were introduced to weaving, the protein in the fibers took to dye easily, enabling color patterning to develop into cultural expression and social messaging.
In printing last year’s Indigo Harvest, Louise and I fell in love with the qualities of linen. To expand on the Marigold project, we searched high and low for the right rolls of the material to create large printed panels. To fix the brightest possible colors, we spent many summer days preparing the flax fibers by washing, bleaching and soaking them in mordants of alum and chestnut bark, laying wet panels on the roof to bake in the sun, insuring long-lasting marigold impressions for centuries to come.
We are open:
and by appointment.
292 Manhattan Avenue (on Devoe St. next to church), Brooklyn NY 11211
Graham Avenue L stop