Conversations

Terroir Q&A Series: Frances Dorsey

Terroir: a Nova Scotia Survey Q&A series continues with artist, Frances Dorsey. (http://francesdorsey.com/)

On Saturday, December 3, 2016, Frances Dorsey will be leading a Workshop at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (Block Printing with Natural Dyes and Mordants with artist, Frances Dorsey).  Terroir: a Nova Scotia survey is on view until January 15, 2017. The accompanying exhibition publication will be available at our Gallery Shop in December 2016.

 

(l to r): Golden Moon #3, Portugese Cove, 2014, linen and silk, multi-shaft weaving mordanted before and after weaving and dyed in Purcell’s Cove goldenrod dyebath; Golden Moon #4, Portugese Cove, 2014, linen and silk, multi-shaft weaving mordanted before and after weaving and dyed in Middle River, Cape Breton goldenrod dyebath, bottom dipped in woad; Golden Moon #1, Portugese Cove, 2013, linen and silk, multi-shaft weaving mordanted before and after weaving and dyed in Middle River, Cape Breton goldenrod dyebath; approx. 90.00 x 90.00 cm each. Courtesy of the artist.

Why were you inspired to submit a work for this exhibition? Can you tell us a little about your work(s) that is on view?

I submitted work for this exhibition because for the last decade or so I have been working with local natural dyes using both protein and cellulosic fibres. I had a recent series of pieces inspired by the view of the moon from the front window of my past house in Portuguese Cove, dyed with goldenrod from Cape Breton and Halifax, and this body of work seemed to fit in with the criteria for the exhibition.

What are you working on now, or planning for the near future?

I am continuing to work on the series of moon views using both weaving and dyeing/printing on used domestic table linens. This work explores natural, low footprint, sustainable dyes, using imagery that is still interesting to me. I am preparing for an exhibition at the Mary Black Gallery in January, and several future projects.

When you’re not working, what are activities that inspire your practice?

I like to garden, read, walk.

Do you have any advice to share with other artists from the province or beyond? What works in terms of developing a practice?

What doesn’t? Figure out what your idea is and stick with it.

You’re giving a workshop at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on December 3. Can you tell us what participants can expect?

We will be block printing with several sustainable mordants on cotton, linen or silk and will then dye the pieces in a selection of natural dyebaths to achieve several colours from one dyebath. The workshop will explore basic chemistry of mordants and dyes in a simple and comprehensible way, with the expectation that the knowledge gained will assist people to continue their explorations on their own, understanding safe processes, lightfastness and materials.

Image Credit: 

Frances Dorsey, Golden Moon #4, Portugese Cove, (detail), 2014, linen and silk, multi-shaft weaving mordanted before and after weaving and dyed in Middle River, Cape Breton goldenrod dyebath, bottom dipped in woad.