"Wabi-Sabi," was created utilizing the staining dyes of beets, blueberries and elderberries, all of which I use to make smoothies for my kids. The idea to use natural dyes was prompted by the necessity for my art materials to be found in my everyday life (as a way to integrate parenting with art) and my desire to create a studio space that was toxic free for my kids to be around, as well as my inspiration from a Navajo dye chart. 

Navajo Color Dying.jpg

After processing the foods in my kitchen, I save the dyes that I pour off before making the smoothies. Bringing them back into my studio, I either soak the paper in a bath, or I brush it on in layers as if it were watercolor.

 kozo paper soaking in bath, weighed down by rock.

kozo paper soaking in bath, weighed down by rock.

With the drying of the dyes, the paper became much more brittle and fragile. The result of this was the necessity to begin this piece over several times, until I was able to strengthen and stabilize the paper and color through applying a layer of matte medium over both sides of the dyed paper.

Detail II.jpg

One of the beauties of working with natural dyes was the translucency of them on the paper. 

Detail Backlit.jpg

After some time of looking at the piece and waiting to see what my response would be, I decided on the Enso, which is a circle that is hand-drawn in one ongoing brushstrokes which expresses a moment when the mind is free to let the body create. Arrogantly, I attempted it in one swoop without any previous practice. The result was a failure.

Failed Circle.jpg

I took the opportunity to take a failure, and allow the form to be reconfigured through the process of collage. I cut the piece apart and reconstructed it, this time embracing gestalt as a means of allowing the piece to be embodied in Wabi-Sabi, the acceptance that everything is "imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete."  The lesson remains of great personal value and one which I hope to invite in my studio as an ongoing practice.