Lynn Pollard has woven textiles most of her creative life. The craft requires a keen sense of aesthetics but also a high level of technical knowledge.
“And infinite patience,” she said.
For years, she said, she accepted and needed the challenges of weaving. But a few years ago she realized she needed to rid her dye studio of unsafe chemicals and switch to natural dyes.
“I also began more mindful weaving with paper, making tapestry-like pieces,” she said.
During a class in Japanese papermaking she turned to indigo dyes and to the natural indigo vat in her studio.
“When I dipped my first piece of paper into the vat, it was magical and I knew immediately that this was something I wanted to explore,” Pollard said.
She knew of no one else who was dyeing paper with indigo to make landscapes and so began a new path. “I went from a completely controlled technique where everything is planned before sitting down to the loom and requires great patience to a craft with immediate results and magical serendipity,” she said.
Serendipity plays a key role in her indigo landscapes, but there are also careful measures taken to ensure a piece is worthy to be sold. “While I have control of many aspects of this work, one small slip can ruin an entire piece,” Pollard said.
For example, dropping a piece while hanging it up to dry or having two pieces clap together and mar one another “or a dip just goes awry because the dip was the wrong scale,” she said.
“And then there are the moments when I’ve made a number of dips which have had to dry in between over several days and the piece is good. I can take the good or I can make one more dip that takes it over-the-top wonderful or can completely ruin it,” she said. “I try to be brave.”
American Craft Council Show
Pollard, of Buckhead, is just one of numerous artists showcasing their work at the American Craft Council Show March 11 through 13 at Cobb Galleria Centre. More than 225 artists will feature their handmade creations in everything from clothing, jewelry, furniture and home décor, said Susan Summers, spokesperson for the show.
Also appearing at this year American Craft Council Show is Kathleen Plate of Brookhaven, the founder of Smart Glass Art. Recycled glass is her medium, and obtaining the thousands of glass bottles she needs means asking bars, restaurants and friends to save their throwaways.
“I’ve also been known to do a little dumpster diving,” she said with a laugh.
Plate’s use of recycled glass to create works of beauty is part of a lifestyle where preserving and conserving the environment were instilled in her as a child growing up in a solar-powered home in a small fishing and logging village in Washington state.
She has been commissioned by Coca-Cola and the Guggenheim Museum and many others to create pieces such as glass chandeliers and glass curtains. Chick-fil-A also commissioned her to handcraft chandeliers of Coca-Cola bottles for select restaurants.
Of course, glass doesn’t arrive at Plate’s studio ready to be cut and shaped. “The bottles are dirty, gross, used bottles – like a frat party blew up,” she said.
So hours of scraping off labels and soaking the bottles until clean and shiny are the first steps before the arduous process of cutting the glass into circles and other shapes begin. Then the glass is put into kilns “and that’s where the magic happens,” she said. The pieces become smooth and stronger.
“I just think glass is a magical thing. The way it feels, looks – it’s a fun medium,” she said.
The American Craft Council Show in Atlanta
Friday, March 11 to Sunday, March 13
Cobb Galleria Centre
Two Galleria Parkway, Atlanta, 30339
Tickets: On-site admission: $13 one-day pass
Advance tickets online: $12 one-day pass
$5 after 5 p.m. Friday night on-site purchases only
Free admission for American Craft Council members and children 12 and under
More info and to purchase tickets online at www.craftcouncil.org/atlanta