Silt Study: Great Lakes River Basin
No Longer Available
Temperature Data for one of 18 river basins in the continental US, hemp, organic cotton dyed with plant - and insect derived dyes and mineral mordant, petrochemical - derived fishing line
18" x 18"
DescriptionI draw on a history of weaving as a subversive language for women and marginalized groups to create a feminist, material archive in response to worsening climate crisis. The works in this archive merge practices of record keeping with practices of grieving and merge expressions of scientific research with expressions of lived experience. Through sculpture, drawing, and textiles, I trace relationships between climate change, water, extractive industry, illness, and displacement; between personal and communal loss; and between corporeal and ecological bodies.
Silt—tiny particles of eroded rocks and mineral—are carried by flowing water, eventually deposited elsewhere as sediment. When ecosystems are polluted, silt goes from benign to destructive, carrying with it the toxins it is exposed to as it moves from one part of a watershed to another. As the detritus of our human life on land runs downstream and then circulates back through bodies, watersheds are one window into the interdependence of ecological and human health.
In each woven Silt Study, temperature data for one of the 18 major US watersheds is materialized as hand-dyed, color-coded cotton. In my translation of the data, 126 years takes form as 18 rows of color, each row an average of 7 years of temperature. I interweave these plant-derived fibers with petrochemical-derived fishing line, drawing connections between rising temperatures, petrochemical extraction, and the buildup of toxic plastics in the earth and our bodies. Up close, one can see the warp threads curving as they travel through the wefts, the arc of the threads evoking a gentle wave, the bend of a river, the force of being moved by alternating plant and petrochemical material.