Thursday, July 21, 2011

Eco Colour ... from land far south-west of here!

I am flying in with a quick post... although I could spend ages putting a post together on the work of India Flint I will link you instead to some sites where you can explore things yourself. She needs no introduction to many... but just in case ... from the home page of her website:

"i am an artisan and writer specializing in bio-regional ecologically sustainable plant dyes ...welcome to my workroom"

* india's photo of the workroom in the territory

And what a workroom it is... dessert floor, hotel sink, plane seat or kitchen table ... the tone of everything she does is authoritative without the attitude... the real thing one might say. 
And not only that... she makes space for others, shares endlessly, is widely and sometimes rudely and outrageously appropriated without acknowledgement ...but then has the chutzpah to set things straight in style with no nonsense!

She is a conduit between past and future ... and oh how we need people of authentic vision and application like hers... in every single facet of human life at this time. Essentially her work is midwifing a whole deeper sense of what's possible for using what we find in nature around us... and in our neighbourhoods, homes and cupboards for that matter.

india's photo ... sharing

Nothing is surface... nothing in excess. All so artfully and continually brought in and pieced together... part of a continuity of cultural practices on the one hand and a pioneer on the other. Go explore... see what I mean. Many are continuing or refinding a love of fabric, textiles and such they inherited from family and community... all round the globe people industriously pursue this tradition... or innovate things anew. 
Perhaps without India though... we might not have seen such a singular need to do it with such enormous shared integlligence and depth of learning... with vision for the artfulness of each part of the working, teaching and sharing process.... words and all!

India's photo ... from her life on the move!

india's photo ... botanical alchemist at large

india's photo... earth is close by.

For anyone unfamiliar with the work dip into India's blog for entry into a fascinating world of making colour and cultivating a practice that extends from her land out into the whole world. In gentle, coaxing, indirect ways our minds are engaged and habits challenged. Each part of the work and living is so utterly responsive to the challenges of this time... it its an intelligent reminder and call to each of us to ask ourselves ... what of us?

Colour's long shaped my life ... ever since my parents gave me colour pencils aged five. Perennially its the thing most have commented on about my work - for good or bad. In Melbourne from 1994 to 1998 I offered consecutive Tuesday night 8 week courses 'Colour workshop' at the Collingwood shop-front Studio business I ran as Themata Studio. More recently I've been reminded how challenging my class exercises were (thankfully they used the word fun too) when I would ask the group to draw the smell of coffee or the feel of raw wool or some far-fetched thing.

What was going on for me in those classes was my need to address the distance between the world and us... between nature and us... our senses and our minds.... between colour and feeling. This was my laboratory and I was finding my way back to the things that mattered in my own art work..and I was bringing people along for the exploration... humbly knowing all the long that I was learning far more than I was teaching!

The depth of India's immersion in colour and ecology could lead me to be immensely intimidated by how little I know. But I'm not covetous...  awe is more the word. Grateful people like her bring these things to life that they choose to live by, share what they've learned, and give people an opportunity to be saturated in valuable ideas in exchange for the rewards of doing that. If anything I take inspiration from her to go back and pull together the most worthwhile learnings of my own unfolding practice and experience.... to be more fully conscious of and engaged with the processes that are arising out of my own nature and relationship with nature.... whatever the limitations of those two things are.

The prize we need to be looking to, at this time in human history, is surely to be working in the direction of sustaining the natural inheritance we came into this world able to appreciate. Nothing is so valuable, so priceless as the living systems into which we were born. Our greatest task is to see ways to be active participants in the challenge to preserve what we possibly can... no matter what we do or where we are.


Anonymous said...

Eloquent Sophie. Simply Eloquent. If I was able to take a highlighter to this post...there would be so many sentences and phrases to highlight, that the whole document would be filled with color. Not only is this an amazing tribute to an amazing woman (who I must investigate further) but, it is a call to action. To all of us. To the world. To take a closer look at our personal actions and ways of going about our daily lives. Thank you and bravo for always staying the course. For never becoming distracted by shiny objects. And bravo to India too!

Sophie Munns said...

Yes...interesting Mary that this post went from being a case of "I'm just flying in to quickly tell you...." to a most reflective essay-like piece.
That's the thing about blogging. Sometimes a thought needs to be said that one is only half conscious of.... if that!
This came from the amazing day painting and talking with Imbi on saturday that I wrote about on my studio blog. Imbi has had the very special past experience of being mentored by India... so we started our days conversation essentially exchanging on India's work... both of us with deep reverence for the cogency and potency of what she does.
That was a great starting place for our shared hours
...recognition of the force of nature that is this person.
so thank you Mary... finding words I'm not seeing coming...trying to say something I didn't already have thought out.
It very good to have you read this and catch something of the thoughts being digested.
much appreciated,
S xo

Sweetpea said...

Sophie, I never tire of reading about India's work and the work of her students, so much is/has been written. But you have spoken in a fresh way - I'm glad you took that initial thought and did this with it! Mary (above) stated it so well.

I too, thank you for "staying the course."


Sophie Munns said...

Thankyou Christi,
What lovely remarks. All week I've felt incredibly tired... but its as if there is this feeling of important things emerging around the globe... part fear and more angst... but at the same time a feeling that more people are seeing deeper ways to respond to the times.
And against all that India appears as something of a lighthouse!
Curious on reflection how those words turned up... I was compelled to tune in and stay the course .

ArtPropelled said...

A most enjoyable post Sophie and as Mary are most eloquent.

Sophie Munns said...

glad you poppin in and thanks for kind words,

rivergardenstudio said...

Oh Sophie, all your blogs are amazing. Filled with the energy of art and nature. Heartfelt words and images. Thank you for it all. roxanne

Sophie Munns said...

Roxanne... so lovely and so heartwarming to read your words as I get ready for a busy day and grumble about in the cold morning wanting to stay all tucked up and cosy!
thank you!

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