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Cycles of Becoming

  • Alex Foster
  • Alex Foster

My work combines natural dyeing techniques with botanical contact printing, also known as eco-printing. This process involves directly laying leaves on fabric and using steam to release inner tannins, acids and dyestuff from inside the plant. The effect is a reflection forever preserved in the cloth. The varying chemicals in each leaf will yield different results. Some plants will leave a dark inky stamp while others will bleach the present color out, the result being a brilliant white impression within the fiber. I strive to understand the biological chemistry of plants in relation to how they will print on fabric based on dye, mordant, species, and environmental circumstance.

I collect leaves locally, be it a busy street, my childhood home, or a mountain path. Each leaf has a story to share, an inner essence of the people, the animals, and the world it has encountered. The cloth acts as a medium for conveyance. The culminated print serves as a portrait of landscape, defining time and space in conjunction with nature. Plants will print differently depending on their direction to the sun, new growth versus old, altitude, and season. I seek to methodically test these environments in relation to various fabric processes. I am fascinated by the dichotomy of plants and how they physically define place as it is spiritually connected to our own human experience of life. My work is a conscious attempt to attune to the natural world and bring us closer to the reality of existence.