I am interested in utilizing the science of natural dyes while collecting and categorizing plants from the Texas and Mexico border region to show how a location defined by violence has the potential to give color. Through out the project I will collect and catalogue natural plant material and water from locations such as El Paso/Juarez, Big Bend, Terligua, Sanderson, Del Rio, Eagle Pass, Laredo/ Nuevo Laredo, Mcallen/Reynosa, Brownsville/Matamoros and implement tests too see the color that will yield from each plant and how the water from different locations of the river alter hues. I am intersted in working with an organic chemist, botanist, or material scientist to aid me with insight to the properties of the plants and how better to obtain color from the plants that are found. During the dyeing process I will catalog data such as name of plant, dyeing properties of plant, weight of fiber to natural dye material, ph of water, mordant variables(alum iron, copper, tin, addition of acid/base), time fiber has soaked in mordant bath, time mordant has dried on cloth, time cloth has soaked in dye bath. etc
Dyed cloth swatches, natural dye stuffs, dye water, Rio Grande river water would be arranged in an installation to demonstrate array of colors of the environment. The installation would instill the curiosity of natural world to the viewer, provide the border community with a sense of pride of place, and to question the value a place that has been branded with negativity. I intend to provide the gathered research to universities and community art spaces along the border with intensions of inspiring their community to create a dye garden from plants from their region to experiment with as well as to create connections between the University of North Texas and the growing arts and science community of the border region.
Questions I am asking through my work:
How can I instill a sense of pride to a place and community?
How can I question the value of space?
What questions am I asking from my work?
How will native plants react to the dyeing process?
How will the pollutants and minerals in water collected in different places along the Rio Grande River alter the color of dyes?
Still unclear or unknown:
How can I visualize the information most successfully?
What forms will inform how I visualize my information?
How can I meet my dream textile/plant scientist?