We are disconnected. Living in a consumer society has reduced our exposure to how products are actually made. In a continuing series, SoCo will bring you exposure: the art, the technique, the history that binds us. The small details that can make a thing more than it is. Reconnect with your past, the past of all of us, through the visual beauty of ancient art.
on a rural property
at the end of a dirt road
dusty in summer, muddy in the rainy season
dyeing the things that i make
with leaves that i gather from the paddocks
in a cauldron over a fire fed with twigs
small twigs burn bright
Meet India Flint
It’s true that I’ve been a huge fan of India Flint’s work with plants and landscape for many years, but it is only recently that I realized she’s my role model for femininity. Hands and face stained by the colors of her surrounding, knee-deep in mud and muck and life and death, she wanders, she gathers, she creates. She is, simply, life. There is no pretension, no wasted matter and energy, there is only a woman who lives, completely, in her surroundings.
India has been an indentured artist for decades, her work progressing, growing, changing, and adapting with her education and experience. A hefty portfolio of exhibitions, residencies, and collaborations speak to her skill and dedication. And, the pile of costumes she’s created sends a poor dancer’s heart to palpitations.
Most of the clothing we buy today is full of dyes made from harsh chemicals, in artificially-lit warehouses, full of fumes and dismay. Our clothes cover our bodies and our bodies absorb their energy. Whether or not you are spiritual (maybe you believe in chi and chakras and maybe you don’t), our skin is, definitively, a big sponge with tiny holes, and the clothing we use for cover contains toxins even tinier than those holes. Perhaps you are what you eat, perhaps not, but you definitely are what you wear.
Ms. Flint lives in South Australia and collects fallen leaves and other discarded materials and makes art from them. She plays with both form and function, and the results are original, unique, and imbued with the spirit of the land. Bones and gum leaves are pressed into fabric and boiled stains are pulled from the muck left behind. There is a simple beauty here. Fabric that wears its story, proudly yodeling of the land that birthed it.
An artist’s journey through the muddled, colored land of the New Mexican desert…
Wandering another native’s land, taking all of their secrets and turning them into memories…
Left Wanting More…
I would never leave you hanging! India’s website is a treasure trove of secret links and stark imagery to be explored on a lazy Sunday, hopefully, a stormy one. She also has the most beautiful DIY book I’ve ever come across called Eco Colour: Botanical Dyes for Beautiful Textiles, and for those that prefer to look but not to touch, there’s a stunning coffee-table book full of the most inspiring images, Second Skin: Choosing and Caring for Textiles and Clothing.
We at SoCo believe that sustainability is not just a lifestyle – it is life. Working with the Earth, for the benefit of all, is tantamount to becoming the best society we can be. Perhaps modern technology has made things easier, but it certainly does not always make them better. In this continuing series, we aim to highlight those artists and techniques that should not be forgotten, and hopefully, are never overlooked. By remembering how we started, perhaps we can find a better way to move forward. Please let us know in the comments if there’s a particular artist or technique you would like to see highlighted. This post is the third article on our “Artisan Series,” you may check out posts you missed in this series using this link.