Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Yummy Yellowcake


I sort through bags of yarn passed on by a family friend clearing out her craft stash.

Ugly yellow acrylic sits on top of my reject pile while I'm telling my mother about the book I'm reading, Uranium: war, energy and the rock that shaped the world by Tom Zoellner.

I've been thinking about how I could make nuclear power or a radiation leak for a long time, at least since the Japanese tsunami.  That's where my thinking about clouds started before veering off into Dispersant.

Yellowcake, I say to mum, such an innocuous word. Yellowcake is the standard form for safely transporting uranium over long distances from mine to enrichment plant to be converted to fuel pellets for nuclear power plants.   The yellow yarn glows at the edge of my vision.

I sneak the yellow yarn into the bag of wool I'm taking home with me.  The yellow is too bland in its brash brightness. I dye hanks of it in tea, taking some out in minutes, leaving others in overnight so that now I have five subtle shades looking more interesting all together.

I've been thinking about stitching mines straight into plinths and blank stretched canvases.   I can try it out with my ugly yellow wool on the little square canvases in my cupboard.  I start sketching scrabbly and powdery piles and films and cakes of dust.


How will I stitch my yellowcake? I need a whole new technique.  I get another book off the shelf, The Art of Embroidery by Francoise Tellier-Loumagne seeking inspiration and find it in couching.

I have never couched before, but I don't read the directions, I just look at the photo for a while and then I do it. Which is usually how I figure out new stitches. Why is it so easy for me to learn textile craft techniques and so difficult to learn other useful things like science or accounting or colour theory?

A scattering of uranium

1 comment:

henrietteo said...

hi, Meriot, I've found your work more or less by accident. I just love what you do! I'm a textile artist from Sweden, working mainly with free embroidery. I often feel the same thing about my craft, I just know the thing. I remember experiencing it when I for the first time sat doing tapestry weaving - I have done this before.
Maybe we've been embroiderers or weavers in an earlier life? or we just dip into the collective unconsciousness and take what we need?
I am a fan of your facebook page. that way I get to know when you update your blog. I'm writing about my work and textile art in my blog Fibertiger. In swedish and lately, also in english.