Ihad the pleasure of spending last Sunday dyeing fabric with a bunch of great friends. I don't know why dyeing is so dang exhausting but it has taken me a few days to get my fabric rinsed and dried. As you can see from the pile above that there is still a lot of untangling, ironing and folding to be done. And that is only the reds pile. I have a mound of blues and greens too. I keep coming across this quote lately; 'how you do anything is how you do everything', and my dye day adventure made me realize just how true it is. You see, I am completely unable to plan and fuss with my dye color choices. I rarely pay attention to the rules for more than 15 minutes. I don't approach it or any other part of my life in an organized or methodical manner. I approach dyeing more like a mad scientist. A little red here, a little orange there...ohhh what happens if I add in brown? Maybe a little violet or how about some blue? Now that I think about it, I cook the same way too.
Johann Dippel is the classic mad scientist! Dippel was born in Castle Frankenstein and it is suggested that Mary Shelley modeled at least part of her infamous book on Dippel's adventures. In addition to his experiments in alchemy, anatomy and his quest for the elixir of life, Johann Dippel is credited with the formulation of the first chemical dye that we call Prussian Blue. He discovered it by accident. He was supposedly trying to make red. Sounds like my dyeing misadventures. Now, the problem with this approach (some would say) is that I can't replicate anything. Ever! I so admire friends who can plan to dye certain colors and actually end up with the perfect color for their needs. I wish I could be like them. But, I can't. I have tried and it just doesn't work out for me. I start off with intention to create yellows, oranges and blues. When I finish i realize that while I have a few of those, I also have a pile of unintended greens, purples and reds. I get into the zone and forget all my good intentions. The same problem presents itself when I am advised that I must create a cohesive body of work if my art is to be taken seriously by others. Really? I am totally out of luck then. I am way too interested in telling stories and communicating ideas to limit my tools, media and techniques enough to create this cohesive body of work. I would love to be organized, have carefully laid out plans for the future and have a place for everything with everything in its place but I have made peace with my unruly ways and organized piles that threaten to topple over. It has taken me longer to come to terms with the way I approach making art. However, I now know that my eclectic way of creating art is just as valid as those who can pull together that cohesive body of work. Deep down I know that a few of those organized artists I wish I could emulate probably wish they could work more like me. Maybe I should get a lab coat. What is your working style? Mad scientist or organized surgeon?