How Far does the Hand Reach – Global Botanical Collaboration

Each craft technique has its own community and very often in the past geographical areas have been instrumental in groups or sometimes even guild being thrown together with the aim of giving all members support, companionship, collaboration, training in practising their technique…. In past days one set of Eco Dyers gathered in a specific area to perfect one specific shade of blue, working with local plants and recipes… while on the other side of the world another group of the same Eco Dyers worked with local roots on a shade of red… and so regional specificities were born and local secrets were transferred from father to sons and remained geographically bound.

In my earlier life as an artist saw collaborations inter-frontiers happening to a greater extend through publications, exchanges, even sometimes funded by public bodies to increase knowledge and skills transfer. I once worked on European projects promoting such a great cause… making local knowledge available across borders, allowing great craftsmen and women talk to one another, exchange their know how and all gain in fraternity, skills, standard, sharing practises and knowledge…

And the Internet was born…. a true game changer, a page was turned and in what seems like a second… I was able to speak to my “sister” eco dyer in Norther Thailand and swap recipes with her on how best dye with Sapanwood. That was a generation ago… I am from the generation who saw this miracle happening… I am one of the ones who think the web has added such a quality in my life and has made the World my village… brought me a lot closer to those I share so many ideas with. So unlike many children of the 60’s I embraced it and got myself on as many Social Media sites as possible and joined pages, and groups to start the dialogue…  Finally after years trying to find local people with my passion it was here just next to me at “Hands reach”

I do really feel that the current young generation while benefiting from this somehow miracle does not quite grasp how HUGE it is and treat it in a casual way… They have no memories of writing REAL letters to their family when working abroad on their year off and having to wait about two weeks to get the answer. Everything is now so instant…

So when Maria Clarke contacted me to see if I would take part in her Global Project “How Far does the Hand Reach” it stroke a cord immediately… what 100 people sharing their Botanical signature all stitched in the same blanket? One cloth cut and sent away to destinations as far as the post can reach on the other side of the world being printed in local pots with the makers very own version of Eco Printing sounded just MAGICAL. Those cloths printed then would be returned to Maria who would lovingly stitch them in a big technicolor blanket… made of the colours of the world of Eco-printing.

So I made my squares, one of silk of my local Horse Chestnut leaf with a lovely Logwood blanket and a running stitch across the bottom of the panel, and a cotton one folded in my travel printing kettle just like what I like doing… both representing who I am, where I live and what I do…

They are below for you to admire 🙂

Many used their local leaves and local techniques, the result is like Joseph’s technicolor dreamcoat…

That was a huge undertake and for working in collaborations I can just imagine how many hours Maria put into this project, relentless communicating, coaxing, organising, answering, sharing all this while completing her own degree… because lets not forget that this project is part of Maria’s textile degree and not only she was giving her “sisters” a great deal for what we were sharing back with her… but she also had to come up with a very high standard and was being judged on it. I honestly hope that she is getting the top marks for what is an amazing project…

100 squares of the most beautiful silk were stitched together and form the most delightful cloth, representing all I was not able to see happening in my young years as an artist, GLOBAL COLLABORATION, like a magical ring around the world of creative and kind ladies sharing not only their designs but also their warmth, stories, worries, hopes, questions, exchanging and sharing their projects…

See the beautiful cloth here

And All because of one individual and Facebook … yes yes… the very Facebook which is getting so many criticism but brought a group of 100 ladies from around the world in this enormous ring of love and creativity

So the blanket is ready now and will be part of an exhibition in Norwich this coming few days… should you be in this area you should go and see it

Botanical Signatures

Textile Art Exhibition by Marie Clarke-Wilson and

100 other Botanical printers lovers from around the world

Studio 20, 20 Wensum Street

Norwich NR31HY

18 to 20th July between 10am and 4pm

I am hope to be able to host it in a local venue… I will keep you posted…

Have a great day… I am off to print some leaves in the garden.

Big Hugs.

Betty xx

5 thoughts on “How Far does the Hand Reach – Global Botanical Collaboration

    1. Hi Sue I am not sure that it will still be up but I am hoping to bring it up to Scotland st some point in the new year … I have past your details to Maria she will let you know if it would be visible in her studio x

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      1. What a great way to reach out. Even for males which I am one of. I read the article in really really was impressed by the opportunities given by just reaching out.

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