From the Studio

thoughts on art and process in action from a contemporary artist

Dyeing for Identity Tapestry

with one comment

This is the very first part of physically making a new version of Identity Tapestry.  I select a range of single ply protein-fiber yarns in different colors and thicknesses and measure them into smaller skein sections.

From past iterations, I’ve learned that most people take up a little more than one yard of yarn for every foot of wall-space.  This means if I wanted it to come out more or less even with some yarn to spare I’d do ten yards for a 9-foot long piece.  …but I want variation.  More than that I feel that it is necessary to the piece for some skeins to be too short.   I want there to be a sense of mortality, that perhaps we don’t know when our experiences might be cut short.  Interestingly is has become harder for me to make the short ones since my daughter was born.

This bunch is around 150 skeins.  I think I will want another hundred for this iteration.  I usually make more than I need and then look at how the amount and colors look in place one the rest of the piece is installed.

My next step is to dye every one of them a slightly different color and to get as many colors represented as possible with a good balance between them. I love dyeing.  I intend to incorporate more of it into my work- especially on silk, including painting on silk.  I find it helps to start with different foundation colors with the yarn.  Over-dying gives a richness you can’t get any other way.  Yarn that already has some color and variation gets even more depth when over-dyed and I get a more subtle color range overall.

Then I look at what I’ve got and prepare for another round with new yarn to fill in the gaps of what I’ve done.

Once that’s done and the yarn is dyed and washed I begin to tie and wind each skein around a stone.  This time I will be enlisting the help of yarn-savy friends for that stage. The ease of getting RSI is not to be underestimated in work like this.


Written by Mary Corey March

June 22, 2012 at 4:11 am

One Response

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  1. Very intriguing concept. I went to your website and saw it in action. I like the participatory nature of the art.


    June 22, 2012 at 5:58 am

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