Date of this Version
Published in Textiles and Politics: Textile Society of America 13th Biennial Symposium Proceedings, Washington, DC, September 18- September 22, 2012.
In 2011, I set up an outdoor dyeing and weaving studio that also functioned as a sculptural installation, The Earthway Studio. The purpose was multi-dimensional: to educate the university community and the public about culturally pluralistic fiber processes such as spinning, dyeing and weaving, to glean and process a bulk of my materials on site and to inspire others through demonstrations and performances to ignite a relationship with the land and to offer the concept of tolerance for diversity when looking at different approaches to living life. The purpose of this conference presentation is to share the experience of the Earthway Studio with a larger audience interested in the ways that performance, fiber arts, politics, and nature intersect. As a 21 year-old undergraduate, I found that it was possible and necessary to negotiate institutional regulations and policies in order to set up an outdoor installation on the university campus for an unusually long period of time. The point of the project was to highlight ways in which we can live as part of the world and with the Earth. This is in contrast to the majority simply living upon it while being stimulated by digital technology and being controlled by social norms and political formalities. By working with the University it was possible to both honor institutional policy while working and living in an unconventional studio space in an autonomous fashion.