Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Dorothy Caldwell Extravaganza 4

I wrote earlier this week about how Dorothy Caldwell's art practice is to collect artifacts, both natural and manmade, as part of her endeavors to understand a new place.  I was delighted to observe how she continues this practice even if she's not in an exotic place, but somewhere as unspecial as Louisville.

On a day off between workshops we walked over the new pedestrian bridge that spans the Ohio River.  When we got to the Indiana side, Dorothy pulled a plastic bag out of her purse and proceeded to collect stuff to memorialize this place.  She found some mud to daub on a card, writing the date and place on the back, and then dunked some silk into muddy water to dye it.  She repeated the process on the Kentucky side (even though to my eye mud on one side of the river is fairly indistinguishable from mud on the other).

On the Kentucky side we found some deep footprints in the sand at the edge of the river, partially filled with water that had seeped in.  Dorothy looked around, found a root, and used it to stir up the water into an opaque dye-like solution to color her cards and silk.

Here's the root, the silk, and the card, out to dry in the sun (and the footprint/dye pot).  She took the root home too as a souvenir.

By the end of the week she had assembled a "museum" in her room of her trip to Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.


  1. Wow Kathleen! How wonderful this woman and experience is to read about! I've never heard of doing such a thing~ It expands my imagination! Does she file these things in a certain way? How does she use them? I'd love to know more~ I have to say that my granddaughter Lauren tends to do stuff like this too. Except she makes creations out of her collections. It just amazes me what she comes up with from leaves, twigs, berries she dyes things with, etc. hugs~

  2. I can't say for sure but I think she keeps the sample cards as a sort of diary of where she's been and what the place looks like. As you can see on the desk, she had begun to twist the silk into string.

    Not sure you always have to USE your stuff -- sometimes just HAVING it is satisfactory!

  3. Fabulous. Simple, yet personal, souvenirs.
    The mud samples bring to mind the art student whose degree project was to photograph the same patch of sky every day at the same time. This was in the days before digital. Probably he/she had a camera set up on a tripod... What with the variations in processing the films, as well as in the sky itself, the colours ranged from brown to green to grey to blueish.

  4. This is a fun pattern that I have completed. I have a short cut to a picture on my blog Wednesday October 7, 2012 where I mention a reprinting of this pattern : http://www.ginghamleaf.com/search?updated-max=2012-11-12T17:24:00-08:00&max-results=14&start=14&by-date=false. That is, if you are unable to find it in the Martingale publication.

  5. I am a long-time fan of Dorothy and her work. I'd like to know how you think this workshop will effect your own work.
    Joanne in Canada