Week 16: fibre blues


This week in the studio I’ve been experimenting with fibres, beaten and unbeaten . I thought that if you could pull apart beaten kozo (mulberry bark) fibres to make lacy sculptural pieces; then what would happen if I tried this with banana fibre. I tested two different methods, pulling apart banana plant fibre which had been cooked and washed but unbeaten, and fibre which was half beaten in the Hollander beater before it turned to pulp.

The results show the fibre in its various stages. On the left is wet, half beaten fibre which has been dyed with blue ink and on the right the three dried fibres; the first undyed, the second dyed with blue ink and around the perimeters of the circle the third, darker, longer and courser unbeaten fibres.

I’m not sure what I will do with them, but it was interesting to see the results of blue ink applied to wet fibres which are then dried. The ink fades, no longer the indigo or prussian blue which is the colour I was hoping to achieve.

Why blue? In an earlier blog post (Week 11),  I quoted Wassily Kandinsky as saying it was a “heavenly” colour. I have since been reading that other people are attracted to the special qualities of the colour blue. In her blog  Brainpickings, author Maria Popova discusses the colour blue in the article “Why the sky and the ocean are blue: Rebecca Solnit on the colour of distance and desire”.[1]

Popova quotes from Solnit’s book A Field Guide to Getting Lost which draws a relationship between the colour blue and desire, of distances imagined  and the “light that gets lost”. This blue “the colour of horizons” is also “the colour of solitude and of desire”, and as such creates in us “the blue of longing”, for the unattainable, for landscape and places just over the horizon.

“Blue is the color of longing for the distances you never arrive in, for the blue world.”

It is our shared blue world as seen from space, the blue orb of our precious planet, the connection between sea, sky and land. I am drawn to include it in my installation.


[1] Maria Popova. “Why the Sky and the Ocean Are Blue: Rebecca Solnit on the Colour of Distance and Desire,” accessed 14 June, 2016. https://www.brainpickings.org/2014/08/20/rebecca-solnit-blue/?mc_cid=b078c55a02&mc_eid=c49722f2ad.



One thought on “Week 16: fibre blues

  1. Love the effect of the varying shades of blue Heather. Interesting observations on the colour blue when we have just spent the past month in a landscape where the skies are endless but are dominated by the red of the earth contrasting with the vivid green spinifex.


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