Sunday, July 15, 2012

Watermark exhibition Day 1

This is the first wall-hanging before the dye starts to drip. The central image is Pauatahanui Inlet near Porirua, New Zealand. The building is a bird watching hide and the estuary/inlet is a haven for all sorts of waterbirds. The outside patterns are from the willow pattern plate.

Here is my artist statement for the exhibition.


 The inspiration for this exhibition came from a quote.
“The Chinese textile industry creates about 3 billion tons of soot each year, and a single mill can use about 200 tons of water for each ton of fabric it dyes. Millions of tons of unused fabric are burned or sent to landfills each year when dyed the wrong colour. Rivers run red or chartreuse, or teal, depending on what colour is in fashion that season – with untreated toxic dyes washing off from mills.” (Menon, 2010).

Dye pollution occurs in many textile-producing countries.  Western consumers demand lower and lower prices for clothing forcing manufacturers to cut corners to save money. Water treatment processes are expensive. Meanwhile New Zealand remains ‘clean and green’ and the pollution happens somewhere else, ‘out of sight, out of mind’.

Would we put up with our rivers turning pink or teal or scarlet according to fashion?  Probably not.  Instead our waterways are contaminated with invisible pollutants.  Nutrients from farm fertilisers, heavy metals in storm water and high bacteria levels from dairy farming.

Not so clean and green after all. 

And now for the exciting bit - when the dye starts to run. The colours for today - Delft Blue and pink.

Apologies for the photo colours - I will re-work some of them in photoshop. I can't quite work out how to change the white balance to deal with halogens (no setting on my camera).

This has been an exciting dyeing day, and I didn't get any on the carpet - honest!

Please leave a comment so I know you are there.


  1. This is very exciting. I look forward to the next stage. Pauatahanui means something to me as I am originally a Wellingtonian and have fond memories of it, both as a child and more recently. Even my English husband has been there! I 'found' your blog yesterday via SAQA.

  2. Wow Clare- looks really wonderful- must admit I am wondering how you are making the dye run along the pattern- is the negative space resisted somehow? And it looks as if it ran a fair way on day one. Hope you are having a great time with Clare P. I did for a brief moment think I might come over, but alack my budget. Looking forward to seeing more images.

  3. Thanks for leaving the comments. Please tune in each evening this week to see more. I had a great opening this week and everyone who saw it seemed to like it. Sorry you couldn't afford to come over Dijanne and I hope your exhibition is going well. Clare