For years, I’ve had a healthy obsession with photographing trees. There’s something structural about the bare outline of dried trees, trees that seem to be in distress. Shooting them against the sky creates an almost abstract perspective that I love to capture. I’ve shot hundreds of trees across New Zealand and Bali now, and the focus has become less about the trees specifically and more about the forms the trees take on when photographed against a cloudy sky or blank canvas. I’m seeing them now as textural reliefs. They are arteries running up an arm or rivers across a dry desert. I see satellite images in some of them, some could be fossils. Some of them even remind me of traditional Japanese ink drawings. When I look at the collection, each set forms a vegetation collage and is like reading the terrior. As with wine – tasting it and knowing where it was grown. With my trees, you can get a sense of place just by looking at the shot. So, it’s interesting to map the shot against the countries we’re visiting. –Thomas
Working with clay in Bali, I felt closer to the elements: my hands in the dirt & water, finishing the clay with fire & smoke. There’s something really rough & raw about this, and it brought me back to what I love about designing & creating art. This experience got me thinking about the future and exploring the other opportunities to work with ceramics across the rest of our year abroad. –Thomas
While in Bali, I fell in love with the art of batik. Since then, I’ve started thinking about other textile design approaches: immersion dyeing, shibori, resist dyeing, stenciling, discharge, block printing and direct fabric printing. I’m also interested in learning more about color: exploration around the natural-dye process using plants extracts and earth pigments. My desire to learn more has me thinking about other travel destinations we can explore in pursuit of these creative projects. – Melissa
This summer, we decided to put a deeper focus on textile design. We experimented across fabrics, techniques and dyes. A few of the pieces we’ve included here show the wide range of things we played around with, but by no means represent a collection. We’re still fine-tuning a lot of things, and look forward to learning even more during our 2 months in India.
Fabrics: we bought about 100 meters of cottons, linens and wools from the fabric marts in Bangkok back in April. We were also able to find fantastic textile markets here in Berlin, where we picked up even more cotton for the scarf explorations, and linens for the pillows.
Techniques: we played around with everything from immersion dyeing, direct printing, shibori (a Japanese term for several methods of resist-dyeing to make a pattern by binding, folding, twisting and compressing), stenciling, discharge application, traditional batik (wax resist) and finally, block printing with stamps we made ourselves from found objects or foam.
Dyes: and lastly, we used a wide range of textile dyes including fiber-reactive dyes, discharge gel (which is like bleach), fabric paints and photo emulsion for textiles that develops in sunlight.
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