‘Wearable’ Art

I am drawn to natural things. That sounds like a silly thing to say, for a naturalist at least.

Obviously I would be drawn to natural things.

But this applies even to colors and textures and shapes. If you put a rainbow of colors in front of me I will gravitate toward what are called “earth tones.” If you put curtains in front of me I will choose the linen ones. If you put dishes in front of me I will choose the botanical print.

This is why the opportunity to make my own naturally printed silk scarf is appealing. There are two opportunities to make a unique and natural scarf in the upcoming weeks at Audubon.

They both involve scarves and showcase two different techniques for creating “wearable” art. One is the Silk Scarf, Natural Dyes and Pounded Leaves workshop on Sept. 21.

Dyeing of the scarves is a lengthy process and so you will learn the technique for preparing the dyes in a mini-lesson. After learning that backstory on how the scarves were prepared, you will stroll through the Ted Grisez Arboretum. This collection of over 60 native trees provides the materials for the next step in creating your scarf. Collecting fresh leaves of shapes and colors that are attractive to you, you will wander through the Arboretum’s trails.

With leaves in hand, you will return to the center and learn by doing – there is a specific process to transfer the color from the leaves onto your scarf. After you have established your own unique leaf color print, you have to fix that color.

Kathleen Tenpas, your instructor, will teach you all the skills needed for the process.

You will walk away with a stunning piece of wearable art and the skills to make more.

The other opportunity also involves leaves.

The Leaf Mono-printing workshop on September 28 uses a different technique to capture the shape and character of the leaves on fabric. After a brief demonstration in the Center about monoprinting, you will head to the Arboretum to collect fallen leaves that appeal to you. Program Director Jennifer Schlick will accompany you on your walk and give you a tree lesson on this field walk. The history of the Arboretum is as long as the history of Audubon, if not longer. The stories and knowledge will be imprinted on your mind as you work with the leaves to print your scarf and wall-hanging.

After collecting your leaves, you’ll head back inside to learn how to monoprint your fabric.

The bamboo fabric that retired art instructor Sue Yauchzy uses drapes beautifully and is a sustainable product. You will walk away from this workshop with a new skill and a greater appreciation for the trees and what they can bring your life.

Both workshops are priced at $35 for participants.

If you are a Friend of the Nature Center the reduced cost is $30. Reservations with payment are due the Monday prior to the class, register soon.

So, OK. If any of you know me well you know that I’m not really the silk scarf wearing type. But I love natural projects and I love giving useful gifts. This is perfect. The scarves are multi-purpose wrapping paper, scarf, table runner, belt, the list goes on and on. They would make great gifts for people I know and give me yet another artsy nature project to do.

If you need more information on either workshop, please call 569-2345 or visit our website www.jamestownaudubon.org. The center is located at 1600 Riverside Road, just off Route 62 between Warren and Jamestown. The trails are open from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. to avoid peak mosquito activity. The center is open daily from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. except Sundays when we open at 1 p.m. Admission rates apply for the center every day except Sunday.