Carding, spinning, coloring, selecting, creating, felting, embroidering, stitching… are all words Dutch artist and textile designer Claudy Jongstra uses to describe her work. Jongstra has forged a special place in the textile world. She has formed a community, Farm of the World, made up of artists, students, and farmers in Huns, Friesland, Netherlands. Farm of the World is a a cultural project “that focuses on exploring new and sustainable futures the countryside”.
Jongstra spoke at the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum on May 31. I am not really interested in felting as a craft. I went to hear Jongstra because she researches and uses natural dyes in all her work. She propagates and grows all her own plants.
Madder is one of the oldest dye plants. It takes three years to grow and two years to dry. The part of plant used are the roots. The Madder roots produce a variety of reds including orange reds, brick red, blood red and other reds. The color depends on the soil where roots are grown, their age, the mineral content of the water , the temperature of dye pot, and how much madder is used in relation to the wool.
Weld and Woad plants are two staples Jongstra uses. Weld when overdyed with woad, produces a green which was supposed to have used to dye the clothes worn by Robin Hood in the 13th century. Weld is responsible for all the outrageous yellows Jongstra uses in her work.
” Committed to the value chain of creation, she raises her own sheep, keeps bees, cultivates a botanical garden and grow their own plants for dyes. Jongstra’s oeuvre is founded on ethical values. Her work and life are inspired by stewardship, the promotion of bio-diversity and the preservation of a natural and cultural heritage”. from Farm of the World