This week's blog post was written by fiber artist Sherry Bingaman of Nueva Vida.
I have always loved color! I began sewing at age 9 and can vividly remember the excitement of roaming through the fabric department in the big department store in my hometown of Kenosha, Wisconsin. The colors! The textures! So exciting! My mother was very stylish and could carry off the most dramatic colors. I was always fascinated with the unusual color combinations she put together.
As a textiles major and college freshman at Iowa State University in 1970, I still recall the excitement of my first weaving class. The thrill of creating fabrics from my own yarn and color choices is still a vivid memory. My obsession with textiles, color, and texture began with that one class and has continued to this day, 40 years later.
My hand-dyed yarns and fibers are a signature of my textile business, and I never tire of playing with my dyes to create new colors. I prefer procion dyes that mix like paints and use the same basic color theory. Endless color possibilities!
The history of textile dyeing is fascinating. Imagine a world without color! The ancient world was much more colorful than we might imagine. Fabric dyeing was first recorded as far back as 2600 BC. Dyes were originally made with natural pigments mixed with water and oil used to decorate skin, jewelry, and clothing. These are the same dyes used for painting prehistoric caves in places like El Castillo, Spain, some 40,000 years ago.
The history of the color purple is my favorite. When Alexander the Great conquered Persia in 331 BC, he first laid eyes on robes dyes with purple. Because of its rarity and intensive dye process, purple was only available for the robes of kings and princes then and continues to represent royalty even to this day.
It’s easy to take our seemingly unlimited access to colorful clothing today for granted. Open your closet and just imagine how boring it would be without all those fabulous colors! Enjoy!
One of the many things I enjoy about being a member of Artistic Portland is that I get to witness what each and every member creates. I feel their spirit that is expressed in their artwork.
As I sit here in my office, I look around and see the collection of art from some of our Artistic Portland members. I would like to tell you a little bit about some of what I have collected.
First and newest to my collection are my beeswax candles by Bee Lux. These candles are molded candles from 100% local beeswax. I wish you could smell them; they smell like honey that has been mellowed by powder. I love beeswax, I use it as an emulsifier in my Gifts From the Earth skin care line.
This is art that I know will not last, after all they are candles, but they are truly magical and I will enjoy them every time I light them!
I have been in love with Denise’s pods for a very long time. Each one is unique and has its own texture and glaze combination. Here is what has been written about her pods, they are “small ceramic sculptures reminiscent of plants, seed pods, and ocean creatures. Sometimes they come out as functional objects like salt and pepper shakers and tiny jars but mostly they end up being non-functional pod forms for home decor as well as wall art. The artist feels these natural forms mimic life at the cellular level, which looks very like the shapes and forms seen in every day animal and plant life.”
Sometimes I catch myself staring at them, seeing each detail like you would when you notice things in nature.
Ben Gilbert Crayons and Cardboard
I have watched Ben’s work flourish from the start of his membership in our Co-op. He has an excellent eye and isn’t afraid to experiment with texture or color. I own a piece that I call Pigeon and Ball, it is simple but the texture brings it to life.
He also did one for me of my cat Leo that passed at the beginning of the year. It is lovely.
Sally Galore – Fricken Cute
Sally creates amazing oversized fabric wallets/mini clutch that will not only act as your wallet but as a place to carry your phone and keys. Her fabric choices are sensational! And the craftsmanship is great. I love the whimsical feeling of her work.
I would sum up my ever growing collection as colorful and delicious. It says something about what I need to be nurtured within my own home. What makes it special to me is knowing that one person sat down and poured their energy into their avenue of beauty. As a natural skincare maker I am thrilled to know that I am part of many peoples’ rituals and daily lives. I hope each and every artist knows how special their gifts are to me. Watch out artists! Time to add to the collection…
Marianne Wilson Stein – Creator of Luscious Beauty and owner of Gifts From the Earth.