North Carolina Exhibition Mottainai! Waste Not Want Not

August 12, 2016 Katherine Soucie

In June we took some time away from our Vancouver studio to visit Durham, North Carolina.   A year ago I established a conversation with Chellie LaPointe at the Cameron Gallery/Scrap Exchange about hosting an exhibition of my work using the waste hosiery.  This grew to include examples of other artists work who have been exploring the use of my waste textiles in their work and the exhibition became known as Mottainai! Waste Not Want Not.
In one of our many various conversations, I proposed to dye 300 lbs of waste hosiery for this exhibition.  Fortunately, they were able to assist me by acquiring the 300 lbs I required from a mill located in Efland, North Carolina, just north of Durham.  I had no idea that in preparation for this exhibition that I would experience such meaningful and serendipitous moments while dyeing this waste material on the loading dock at the Scrap Exchange.  I plan to spend some time in the coming week to write more about my experience while they are still fresh in my mind.  In this moment however, I wanted to share with you some of the images from my experience as the resident artist at the Scrap Exchange, from the zero waste dye workshop I gave as well as a sneak peak into the exhibition that was held there. There was a special unexpected artist talk I gave towards the end of my visit to a group of young creative minds who were registered in the Scrap Camp Summer program at the Scrap Exchange. They had seen the exhibition and wanted to meet me.  From this, I introduced them to some of the dyed waste hosiery scraps I was working on and over the course of my final days I was able to observe their thoughtfulness and creativity. Their results have marked me for life. It was a true gift to hear and see how this material resource inspired and empowered them. It gave me much hope for their future, our future. 
In addition the warm response by everyone in this community, it was truly a gift to spend time here, to dye here and to create here. I met many great people and artists in Durham with whom I feel deeply connected too. I do look forward to returning to this city as it does hold a bright future and is an example of the kind of community I want to be in.  
To my fellow artists who showcased their works alongside mine not only continues to inspire me to keep working with this material resource but it has inspired this community to continue using and reusing this valuable material resource -- hopefully for years to come! 
In closing, I want to send a heartfelt thank you to Chellie LaPointe, Jeremy Parker, Jim Kellough, Vanity Switzer and countless others who assisted me upon my arrival to Durham.  I must thank the Scrap Exchange, Executive Director Amy Woodward, all the staff, Board members and community for hosting me and my work and for being so thoughtful and supportive.  If I have forgotten anyone's name I do apologize! 


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