By Kelly Morgan – MA Fine Art
At the start of the MA course several of us were scratching our heads as to what we should actually be working on. Should I endeavour further into my former practice? Should I dive into something new? And if so what?
To jumpstart the making process and temporarily alleviate analysis paralysis we partook in a daylong workshop with AUB MA alumni, Monica Bonomo. Known for painting with spices, Monica orchestrated a session in which we were to explore the art of natural dyes.
The workshop commenced highlighting the beneficial possibilities that lie within working collaboratively, and progressed to an outline of Monica’s practice. She shared several workbooks with us, a catalogue of textile samples and the vast variety of spices, plants, and elements that were than used to transfer pigment(s) to the fabric.
Ready for us in the workspace were numerous glass jars that housed various coloured liquids from soaking avocado skins and other produce, folded sheets, bags of spices, burners, and large pots. The sheets were unfolded and strung out on the floor haphazardly on top of one another, and the jars passed around. After a brief run through of what produced which colours we were let loose, encouraged to play and simply respond to whatever happened. The smell of turmeric quickly filled the air and within moments the sheets no longer sported their original shades of off-white.
After our stained sheets boiled in salt water and turmeric, we did our best to hang them up so that they could be, displayed, examined, and start to dry. The array was breath taking, and surprisingly my favourites were coincidently the ones I had little control over.
I often prefer to work independently, probably because I want to feel in control and I am very precious about my work, but the chance element that comes from working with others brings outcomes that I myself can not generate.