In 2007, I won a Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation scholarship for a residency at Peters Valley Art Center, in northwest NJ. Basically, the scholarship paid for me to spend a month JUST DOING ART. A room, food, and a full textile workshop. I packed enough materials to fill my little Toyota truck, threw in enough clothes so I'd only have to do laundry once, and I was off.
It was February, it was cold, it snowed, there were mice in the house: it was wonderful. Marisa DiPaolo was also in residency there, and although our art is very, very different, we became great friends. We both just wanted to do art, all day, every day.... not chat.
Being totally immersed in a place allowed new insights. My art had always leaned heavily on earth tones, and other people had always been encouraging me to use brighter colors ("Diane, you do know you're allowed to use colors, right?", asked a friend). But here, surrounded by the wintry landscape, I realized...THESE ARE MY COLORS! The tan grass, rust-colored weeds, black tree trunks with dark green moss and dashes of white snow - this is what I had always used, I just need to add those bolts of contrasting whites, and those deep, anchoring blacks.
Watching my newly dyed cloth hanging to dry: my colors belonged here.
That golden-brown grass spiking up out of the white horizontal stripes. In the center, gray branches, but gray with whispers of red, hints of gold. Green, not in summer abundance, but only a counterpoint, living sentinels against the winter death. What can I say? I don't do bright and cheery....and, really, I'd rather explore the bones of the past than meet the people of today.
The art I started there, my Domestic Archaeology, has the bones of past crochet, the tree stumps of yo-yo quilts, and in this photo you can almost feel the cold.
In the next few posts, I'll explain the convoluted printing technique I mastered at Peters Valley, and the framing device that holds most of the pieces.