Artist Regina Dunn explores the cycles of nature with her mixed media and fiber-based art.
One of the reasons I make art is to capture ideas that I’m currently exploring and express them visually. I began to think about changes that occur in nature and in our lives and how they seem to cycle.
Living on a property in a forest and having earned a minor in biology, I paid attention to these changes and cycles going on with the foliage and saw the similarities of that to our own life cycles. That sparked the idea for a series of artworks to use a leaf image as a metaphor for us undergoing various phases of life. For example, the deteriorating leaf could represent us aging or going through an illness. It could also symbolize our renewal and regrowth.
Throughout the series, I used other symbols, too. I added images of roots to represent foundations and connections we make as we interact with people and the world around us, and I used a circular symbol to represent a planet moving across the sky to mimic time passing.
Stitched hatch marks on each piece were also included to show the passage of time.
Even though I love vibrant colors, I chose to use somewhat muted colors for the series to keep the mood calm and meditative. I dyed the fabrics various values of the same hues so that they appear to create a degree of transparency (a symbol to show how diﬀerent events in life overlap).
I chose green for the part of the series about growth and renewal (like Spring), and I chose blue for the part of our lives where we withdraw into ourselves to heal or rest (like Winter). I chose gray with accents of red orange to show the times when we yield to changes that are out of our control and just let things fall away naturally (like Autumn).
My method of working was to first dye the cloth, then study the patterns that formed in it, and then work with those patterns to create a flow of images that seemed to belong to the patterns the dye created.
I added the images with fabric paint using thermofax screens, stamps I carved, stencils I made and hand stitches.
All of the images derived from photos I took in my own yard which added more meaning to me and, I think, then imparted more energy to the artwork. In all, I made seven larger pieces and twenty-four smaller ones as part of this series I called “Transformations.”
As I am transitioning to my next series, I am taking time to do some color studies with thickened dyes, exploring text as a design element, and making some samples with new imagery to experiment with expressing my present train of thought and inspirations. It’s a wonderful journey.
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