Crossing That Bridge

When last we met, I showed results from my effort to use up some Procion H dyes, including one process that didn’t work out as I hoped but produced a fabric I liked anyway. This week’s goal was to use that fabric to get back into the studio groove in the new year. My challenge was to work quickly and not get too invested in the piece — just get it done and build some momentum.

Auditioning fabrics

To me, the piece had the feel of moving water seen through foliage. I had used dye on my gloved fingertips to dot some “rocks” in the stream, but they lacked contrast. So I found some silk and appliqued on more distinctive rocks. Another scrap of silk became a fallen log. Having hopped across a lot of real rocks and crept along my share of mossy logs, silk, with its sheen and slipperiness, seemed the perfect choice.

My intention wasn’t to create a literal representation of a particular scene, but to find a story within the piece that I could reflect on while stitching. A lighter area gave me the impression of shallow water, and that gave me the story: When you come upon some obstruction to forward progress, there’s usually not only some way to get beyond it but several ways. Hop across from spot to spot. Creep across on that slippery log. Or look a little farther upstream and see if there’s a place to wade in.

Hop Creep Wade detail by Donna Kallner

In the finished piece, I used multi-layered top and bottom borders to frame the scene — sort of like looking down at a stream through the guard rail on a bridge.

Hop Creep Wade by Donna Kallner

The bridges other people build sure come in handy sometime. But they don’t always lead quite where we want to go. In the new year, I’m resolved to remember there are other ways to get across. We might get wet, but it will be an adventure.

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Donna Kallner

fiber artist, teacher and explorer, inspired by ancient fiber techniques and all the ways contemporary fiber artists give old ideas a new spin

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