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Dispatch № 13 · Trajectory of Color

Dispatch № 13 · Trajectory of Color

Greetings on this Frost Moon,

I hope that you had a chance to gaze up at the night sky and watch the lunar eclipse, it was spectacular!  Apologies for the late delivery of this full moon letter, coming now with the waning moon. Sometimes its just hard to get it all together.

In each passing season I find a deeper love for things that develop slowly and bring forth their fruits not in a matter of days, but months or years.  There is something so deeply satisfying about watching a tree grow from seed, to watch its bark thicken and crack with age, and finally one spring to burst open with flowers. With the yellowing of leaves in the fall comes the anticipatory excitement of next year's growth.

The sweetness of slow fruit has seeped into my realms of creation too.  There are a few long-term projects whose bits and pieces have been developing and coming together, the one I will elucidate here is still in its larval stage but is growing more colorful every day.

This project is a tracing of time and seasons as well as our movement through the mountains, picking up colors along the way.  Each skein, large or small is a marker of a place, a memory stored in color.  Every step taken trough a field, mountain climbed and river traversed is imbued into the merino wool fibers that will form this piece.  My vision is to construct a blanket with these fibers, an earthen rainbow from the mountains. Protection from the elements, made with the elements.

Trajectory of Color is the working title for this project; the following are a few visual notes and glimpses of my progress.

On a chilly summer morning in the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming, making notes on the plants and fungi collected and process used for dyeing.
Mordanting skeins in a grassy meadow in the mountains of central Wyoming. 
A small leave-no-trace fire for heating up the dyebath using a tiny portable wood stove. 
Umbilicaria americana, also known as Rock Tripe can bring to life beautiful dye colors. Truthfully, I have some hesitancy sharing about some of these dyes, worried that by sharing this information people may go and harvest irresponsibly. When harvesting anything from nature, please take care to make your hand invisible, especially in the case of slow growing or less abundant living things such as lichens. 
A small test batch of Rock Tripe lichen dye. The lichen was fermented in ammonia for about a month, some of the liquid strained off and a small skein was added to the liquid. Looks like it is going to yield some gorgeous raspberry colors!
Gentle grey gradations of alder leaves boiled in a rusty iron pot. 
Fermentation is another facinating way of discovering new colors that I have begun to implement with this project. This is Castilleja indivisa, to which I added a small amount of sugar and fermented for about a month before using it as dye. The results of which will be detailed in full as a companion to the weaving once it is finished.
Color suspended into the dyebath after a month of fermentation. (I am so in love with this photo) 

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