#1 and #2 are two tapestries journaling places Huang has lived in since 2020 through the use of hyperlocal fibers, dye plants, and visual motifs. #1 was created in Reedsburg, Wisconsin, incorporating wool and dye plants from a one-hour driving radius and inspired by the rectangular farmlands and undulating hills characteristic of the rural Driftless Area. #2, on the other hand, is a tapestry constructed from three different locales–its fibers handspun from the wool of a friend’s alpacas, then dyed with Japanese indigo the artist herself grew in Sequim, Washington; the image a skyscape from the backyard of her family home in San Francisco, California; and a year after the indigo seeds were propagated, the piece was woven on Orcas Island, Washington, where the artist currently resides.
Together, these two tapestries provide not only a look at the technical improvements made through time, but also adjacent ways of practicing art as a geographic diary. Taking a step beyond simply translating a locale with endemic materials and motifs, Huang relinquishes the obligation to belong to a particular place by working with, not around, this transient period in their life.
Untitled 1Sheep wool and hand-spun casein fiber | 2022
Weaving made at the 2020 Wormfarm Institute artist residency with local wool from Serenity Spring Wool and hand-spun casein fiber dyed with onsite hairy vetch and hawkweed.
Untitled 2Hand-spun alpaca wool | 2022
Japanese indigo (Persicaria tinctoria) is a knotweed native to Eatern Europe and Asia that has been used as a source of blue dye for thousands of years. There are multiple ways of extracting dye–from small fresh leaf vats using salt, to months-long fermentations with larger volumes of indigo leaves. For this piece, indigo leaves from two harvests in the summer were hung and dried, then dye was extracted by heating the leaves with a mix of fructose and pickling lime. Yarn carded and spun from an alpaca fleece was then dipped in the dye vat for five minutes at a time. Rinsing and re-dipping the same sample of fiber will increase the depth of color. The lighter colors in the tapestry had only been dipped once or twice, while the darker blues had been dipped four or more times to achieve their intensity.
Bonnie was born in China, raised in New Zealand and San Francisco. Influenced by her transnational upbringing, she is interested in the connections between language, migration, and food. She is drawn to transparency and overlap both in concept and aesthetics, and gravitates towards yarns, fabrics, and other materials and practices with elements of repetition and democracy in their usage and distribution. Her interests include agriculture, linguistics, and place and space relations.