Winter Windrush Photoshoot

January 9, 2010

Today was a day of taking stock.  Many photoshoots have been done to prepare images over the last year.  Today’s goal was to fill in the gaps, to create a fully comprehensive collection of images for the work we are creating on natural color.

Taking a few moments to catch some shots of my own.  The quiet of my winter garden has given me the opportunity to work with ancient dye stuffs that I only rarely use.  This collection of cochineal is a reminder of why exploring Spaniards gawked when they  first saw this rich Aztec dye.

They loaded thousands of pounds of the material onto their ships and sailed home to show Europe the ‘new crimson.’  I can’t imagine the look in the eyes of the people as they cast them for the first time upon the newly dyed cochineal robes.

My cochineal would have no canvas if it were not for these lovely sheep, the corriedale cross herd of Windrush farm is seen here in their great winter coats.  Spending a day in the midst of these gentle animals is the most calming of any experience I could dream up for myself.

And the oh-so-soft-alpaca, staying warm in her fine coat, enjoying the winter light as it exits behind the ridge…

And then, it was time to go.. we packed the car with massive amounts of dye equipment, and off we went.

Arlo and Paige in the front seat.  He is a patient dog, and a perfect match for a wonderful photographer such as she.  He sat and quietly watched the photoshoot for hours, occasionally chewing on a madrone wood stick, or eating a stray acorn.

The drive home.  The  expanse of fog, light, grass; these are the surroundings that gently seat me in the wisdom of place, and inspire the subtle and engaging colors of my dye vats. These are the landscapes I will be exploring and taking inspiration from for the rest of my days.

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