Monday, March 27, 2017

The Forest Project

Elizabeth went to Harrisonburg, Virginia on Saturday, March 25, 2017 for a lecture and visit at the Virginia Quilt Museum.  The lecturer was Dawn Flores of The Forest Project.
Behind Dawn’s house near Richmond, Virginia is a park and a piece of land which was going to be developed.  Dawn shared how she and her neighbors used positive advocacy to develop relationships with the family who owned the land, the developers and the builders to document the process of change-over-time using art mediums.  Along the journey she was able to add professional and amateur artists, school children (Collegiate School Residency), filmmakers, and re-claimers to the process enabling many people to heal from the experience of witnessing a loss of trees from their environs.  Keeping a sense of realism to the project by grounding herself in understanding all sides of the story, from knowing that even her own neighborhood had once been a forest, to the respect the developers showed when they visited her disassembling and re-purposing the various parts of the old farm house allowed for a powerful sense of grief to turn to a sense of good coming from many different aspects of the experiences.
What drove Elizabeth to go to the lecture was Dawn’s printing of images from the Forest Project.  Hearing about these in the quilt museum’s newsletter peaked her curiosity.  Dawn showed photographs she had taken and then manipulated in order to create new images which could be considered patterns suitable for printing onto fabric. Dawn then sent these images to Spoonflower for printing on cotton sateen. 
While she can now be considered a quilter, Dawn was a painter who is associated with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Studio School and other institutions as a teacher of watercolor and photography, especially those with a bend towards botanicals.  It was fascinating to learn how she took her photos and transformed them with computer software all the way to the place where she could then have ecofriendly, vegetable dyed fabric in hand to use not only for herself, but for other artists to also buy and use. 
Currently, she is recruiting quilt artists to use the fabric printed with her images to make quilts which can be photographed in the environs of The Forest Project, as well as possibly turning into a curated show.  

If you go to Dawn’s website, be sure to click on the link for The Forest Project so you understand the vast scope of this project as each facet has a page all its own.

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