I've already geared this year toward what would in theory include a slow paced, meditative art practice by committing to the slowest type of weaving: tapestry (on my new loom). Most recently though I've reacquainted myself with printing with natural dyes and I'm hooked. Here's the thing about these two practices, they are very labor intensive and require an immense amount of patience. Yet, when I'm in process I am charged with energies that I sometimes forget exist in me. That's when I know I'm on the right path: I can't sleep, nor do I remember to eat (Both those side effects are usually short lived though, and are actually a welcome change from those same effects coming from a different source, hint: "Whah!")
The process of printing with natural dyes is complex, and I might add not the most efficient. So much so that I'm quite sure any natural prints I make will invariably be a part of art installations as opposed to sold as garments or home textiles - I just couldn't put a retail price on them (note this is different from natural dyeing or eco-printing -- those I make to sell). The process takes weeks to complete! If a stranger were to ask me how I made the pictured yardage I'd tell them I stenciled natural dyes onto silk. Sounds simple right? But first I extract the dyes from woodchips and thicken them with guar gum. Before that I mordant the silk (a one-day process) and then size it with soy milk that I make from scratch (another whole day). Then I print (or stencil in this photos' case) the dyes onto the silk and wait for it to dry completely before steaming the entire yardage. Now I wait at least three weeks for the soy sizing to cure before I rinse it and use it for who-knows-what. As intense as that is I love every single second and can't wait to start the process over again. Of course a great way to make the process more efficient is to mordant a lot of fabric at once for future use.
PS This yardage was only possible because my amazing mom babysat for several days while I made it. Thank you Mom!