Home arrow Volume 10 Issue 1, Summer 2014 arrow Mariya Tsehtik - NSCAD University
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1.  Work Jacket, Date Created: Dec, 2013,Materials: Waving, silk, linen, natural dyes.

Artist Statement


            Graduating from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) with a Bachelor in Fine Art major in Textiles and Fashion has left me wondering about the place of craft within contemporary society. The alienation of western society from the process of production has created a generation of consumers that is reliant on corporations to provide them with goods and services. Engaging with processes of production through craft and agriculture, I strive to reclaim these essential knowledge and skills. My interest in craft and horticulture drew me to textiles. These two seemingly different disciplines have a lot in common. In addition to fiber production, certain plants and insects can be used as sources of colour. Using natural fibers and plant based dyes for painting, dyeing, printing, weaving and garment construction made me interested in growing these row materials.


2 Paths, Date Created: Oct, 2013,Dimensions: 25 pieces (4'' X 6.5''),Materials: Hand woven linen, alum mordant, natural dye plants

            Making something interesting, useful and beautiful from simple raw materials is my definition of craft. Sharing my curiosity towards 'making' with the public is very important to me. During NSCAD's Artist for a Day, I have lead an Indigo Dyeing workshop that invited people of all ages to experiment with shibori and natural dyeing. During the event, one of the kids who just dyed the yarn he spun told me about how he wanted to make it into fabric – it was truly fascinating. I believe it is very important to educate people and particularly children to think in terms of production – how to make this product rather then just consumption.


3 Spirit of the Journey, Date Created: Jun, 2013,Dimensions: 3m X 40cm, Materials: Weaving, warp painting, natural dyes, embroidery

            Since Winter of 2014, I became an artist in residence at Ross Creek Centre for the Arts. In addition to time I spend in my studio, I help the Centre with a wide variety of activities, which include curating exhibitions, building bee hives, teaching and taking care of the organic gardens. Kids who come to the Centre are exposed to learning about where the things they consume come from. All events and activities in the Centre encourage children to think creatively and provide large opportunities to implement their ideas.


4 Every piece counts, Date Created: Nov, 2013, Dimensions: 2 m X 1.5m, Materials: Quilting, printing, natural dyes, citric acid.

            The NSCAD Natural Dye Garden is another project that I am involved in. The project was founded through collaboration between NSCAD students, staff and alumni with the mission of growing dye plants on the university deck and Common Roots Farm. Education about natural dyeing is an integral part of this initiative, and it is very exciting for me to share my knowledge with all interested parties. Additionally, I was a volunteer for a number of galleries and community based projects. Among them was the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, where I supervised children’s Art class. Moreover, I volunteered with the Eye Level Gallery, an artist-run center where I worked with the gallery's staff to organize fund-raising events for the Go North Tour - a free tour of all the art studios and galleries in the North End of Halifax.


5 River, Date Created: April 2013, Dimensions: 2m x 1.5m, Materials: Shibori, Linen, Logwood natural dye, citric acid.

In the final year of my degree, I created a series of textile pieces that used colour as means of story telling. The colours were extracted from locally grown dye plants or purchased as extracts. I used these materials for printing, painting as well as dyeing fabric and yarn. The resulting body of work consists of four wall hangings and a garment. These pieces were installed in my graduation exhibition titled “Beyond the Surface” at the Anna Leonowens Gallery. My choice to use natural dyes was due to my fascination with the history of those dyes. Natural dyes have played an important part in world trade, land ownership, as well as control over human labor and natural resources. The work I created for this exhibition uses colour as means of story telling and relaying history.


6 Flowers in Iron, Date Created: Dec, 2012, Dimensions: 1m x 1m, Materials: Silk, Marigold and iron dye.

Starting this fall I will be entering a year long residency, which will take place in  the NSCAD campus located at the historic town of Lunenburg, NS. During the residency, I hope to work with local fiber producers and schools promoting public interest and education about fiber production in Nova Scotia.


Work Description


Title: Work Jacket

Date Created: Dec, 2013

Materials: Waving, silk, linen, natural dyes.

The exterior of the jacket was hand woven using linen warp dyed with Marigold flowers and Woad. The weft was made of Woad dyed rayon fabric stripes. The resulting fabric was constructed in to a "no-waste" jacket that was drafted based on traditional peasant work clothing. The interior silk lining was stitch resisted and dyed in a woad/indigo vat. This work explores the history of Woad and Indigo dyes, and the exploitation of human labor in the process of acquisition of those resources.


2.Title: Paths

Date Created: Oct, 2013

Dimensions: 25 pieces (4'' X 6.5'')

Materials: Hand woven linen, alum mordant, natural dye plants

I hand wove twenty-one fabric strips and dyed them using local dye plants. Each strip was dyed using a different dye plant gathered on my walks around Halifax, NS. The strips were woven using mordanted linen in the warp and unmordanted linen in the weft. A mordant is powdered metal that assist natural dyes in binding to the cloth. Every strip is different, while some pieces were left plain, others were resisted, mordant printed, or embroidered. The resulting work is a response to the place each of the dye plants came from.


3. Title: Spirit of the Journey

Date Created: Jun, 2013

Dimensions: 3m X 40cm

Materials: Weaving, warp painting, natural dyes, embroidery

It is a warp painting created as a response to my walks around Halifax’s green sites. The piece was inspired by watercolor nature studies I did during my walks. Each day, I wove off and paint on a new section of the warp. A warp is yarn stretched vertically on the loom, which I used as a canvas for painting with thickened natural dye extracts. My choice to use natural dye extracts as painting medium was due to my fascination with the history of those dyes. Natural dyes have played an important part in world trade, land ownership, as well as control over human labor and natural resources. After the weaving was complete I embroidered into it as a reflection upon my journey.


4 Title: Every piece counts

Date Created: Nov, 2013

Dimensions: 2 m X 1.5m

Materials: Quilting, printing, natural dyes, citric acid.

Using quilting technique, I created a "fabric collage" with pieces of fabric that were dyed in logwood, as well as other natural dyes such as pomegranate, woad and earth oxides. Using a wooden block, I printed on the cloth with thickened logwood extract and citric acid. While the citric acid acted as a discharge to the logwood dye, the pomegranate dyed strips resisted the logwood extract. Working on this piece, I was inspired by the quilts of Gee's Bend. I wanted to use dye and print techniques for relaying of imagery and narrative.


5. Title: River

Date Created: April 2013

Dimensions: 2m x 1.5m

Materials: Shibori, Linen, Logwood natural dye, citric acid.

This linen cloth was initially dyed in Logwood natural dye. Afterwards the fabric was stitch resisted and partially discharged using citric acid. The resulting work explores Shibori technique as a tool for creating imagery and narrative on cloth. 


6. Title: Flowers in Iron

Date Created: Dec, 2012

Dimensions: 1m x 1m

Materials: Silk, Marigold and iron dye.

This piece was initially dyed with marigold flowers, stitch resisted and dyed in iron after-bath.

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