A collaboration with a local florist

Collaboration with a Florist. A walk along the path.

As part of my on going research and desire to work collaboratively I have arranged a few little collaborations which will complement the work already underway.

This collaboration with a florist aimed to seek out wild growing resources we could both use in our own ways. Create a display and some fabric designs from the dyes and prints gathered.

This documents the work in text and images- please refer to the note book A walk in Wickham Market for the field notes.

The walk took us along a roadside near the studio in Wickham Market- our focus on the wild flowers and trees we passed and considered sufficient enough to forage for a small amount of each.

I made a decision to ensure that we gathered the same plants – however it was interesting to see the different ways we cut the stems for our anticipated outcomes.

The baskets show our forage. On returning the outcomes was to create a florist display and then I’d research the colours and prints and then work on a final fabric piece.

My first job was to identify all the plants and ensure that they were safe to use. Not only for this reason, but as a natural resources based designer I want to be able to understand the wild plants that grow near me and to be able to look at the plants and see the colour and know the print. At least with some of the wild plants. To explore them all would be a life long journey. I’d been given the reference book The Concise British Flora in Colour by W Keble Martin.

This book is layed out in plates and the plants listed in Latin- it feels like it’s own journey of discovery. I like this and will use this if I get to the botanical illustration I might do with the inks I make. More on this as it developed.

Looking at ways to document the information and keep it contained in a reference book- again a prelude to the final piece of work for a reference book.

I made a start and then after creating the fabrics realised that the spaces I’d left were not big enough- so I will need to plan the book more carefully.

This is my most successful double spread and really show cases the colours and prints from one plant. It also has a new technique I tried termed by India Flint as Hapi Zome, hammering the colour onto the cloth.

After spending the whole day with the basket of plants I was able to learn so much and to create some amazing colours from the dye baths. These were yellow Alexandre or Horse Parsley- a potential yellow substitute for weld.

Crimson King Maple- using leaves and stems creating the sage green silks- and hawthorn for the rusty red- the forget me knots printed really well in the sample, however when used in a larger piece did not print well- I found the same with the Spurge.

I’ve now been able to create two large samples which are still in progress. Both needing more as the results so far are not completely satisfactory and so more work needs to happen to bring them up to standard and to a good result.

The florist arranged the plants to create a meadow display and then set about styling the shoot with the fabrics and booklets- I think the outcomes are really interesting and there’s potential for more floristry collaborations- This florist has used some of my natural dyed ribbons for her bouquets.

Having shared the results on Social media they’ve been received with really positive feedback and

It has instigated other potential collaborations.

I have now made contact with a local botanical illustrator called Laura who is Suffolk based. We have set up a date to make natural inks together which we will both try out for botanical illustration.

Both these projects show me how important it is to work with other creative people and that being isolated as an artist is challenging. I have missed the creative community which was established in the first year of the MA and felt quite detached from it this year. I understand that the location and setting up my own studio has enabled me to practice daily, however it has disabled me from the community.

After the MA I will need to continue to work hard to make connections and build networks of local artists and designers. Hopefully the ground work I am doing now will be a good foundation.

I’ll be back soon with more updates on my textile design progress and the global collaboration.

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