(Above: Detail of vintage linens ... washed, soaked in alum water, and drying on the clothesline at Wormfarm Institute, an artist residency in Reedsburg, Wisconsin. Click on any image in this blog post to enlarge.)
So ... I've survived my first week on the farm! I've planted rutabaga, basil, and scallions. I've helped trellis peas. I've laid tubing for hose-fed irrigation. I've harvested scallion too! I slept tight under an electric blanket when temperatures dipped to 37 degrees and made friends with the two barn cats, Crooks and Spike.
I've also had potluck dinner with the co-owners and founders, Jay Salinas and Donna Neuwirth, and their residency manager Betsy Arant.
During the first few days it was unseasonable cold. There was absolutely no way I was going to jump into experimentation with rusting and natural dyes. So, I turned to something that required the use of a hot iron! LOL! Besides, the Earthwood Collections and Earthwood Gallery in Colorado placed an order for more artwork! Back in Columbia, my husband Steve couldn't fill the order unless I made additional work. So, I did. I made eight small In Box Series pieces and one Lancet Window. At home, this would have taken a long time. At an art residency, I can work all available hours! Tomorrow I ship these back to Steve. He'll frame them and ship them. (Each one is framed to an outer dimension of 19 1/4" x 15 1/4". These measure approximately 15" x 11". The other seven pieces are at the end of this blog post.)
Finally, it warmed up and I opened the large box of vintage linens shipped ahead of time. I also shipped the old cast iron pot my mother gave me and a bunch of rusty nails and wire ... in a smaller but heavier box.
First, I washed, rinsed, and soaked several items in alum water ... and hung them on the clothesline outside the barn. They looked so pretty!
Even the clothespins were the old-fashioned wooden ones! Just look how appropriate they are with the tatted and crocheted edging!
So ... experiment #1. I've put one vintage garment in the hoop house's irrigation system. I have no idea what will happen. The garment is under the rack on which potted plants sit.
I arranged some of the the random plant life and algae on top of the material. The second garment is buried in the first stage area of the compost system! (I forgot to snap a photo.)
I also got out pots and pans ... brewed up onion skins from the compost pile and all sorts of other things.
By today, several garments are finished ... perhaps. I might add something else. I'm thinking about rather crudely plied cross stitches with dangling end threads on the one skirt. The rust, scorched iron marks and those threads might conceptually lend themselves to a piece on domestic violence. I'll think about it. The hanging nightgown was also rusted ... after I wrapped 325 pebbles from the driveway into the material. I used rusty wire and hence the marks.
This isn't the nightgown but I did use most of the same pebbles ... on this eyelet skirt. I'll have to see what happens to it tomorrow. I'm leaving it to rust for a longer period of time ... and I exposed it to another brew made from last winters walnut hulls ... already eaten by squirrels. (This isn't the time to harvest black walnut hulls for dyeing ... but ... I'm not here all year so I used what I had!) I'll blog more later. Below ... the other "In Box Series" pieces completed this week!
(Above: In Box CLXXXII.)
(Above: In Box CLXXXIII.)
(Above: In Box CLXXXIV.)
(Above: In Box CLXXXV.)
(Above: In Box CLXXXVI.)
(Above: In Box CLXXXVII.)
(Above: In Box CLXXXVIII.)