Precious Jennings

December 5, 2021

I have been learning new skills, taking on roles I never thought I would, splitting my time between Chicago, Charleston and Savannah. My research process this Summer/Fall has been being in solo and with Megan Schneeberger and a few others. I have learned to surf, supported others work which has only deepened my own, I have spent weeks totalling months accumulatively in nature.  Most recently, I have been harvesting indigo to create its transformation into dye powder. Managing and helping to create a more streamlined process of what has already been set up.  I am working with Claude (TrueEarth) in hopes to close the waste water of the Indigo. We are attempting to create a small cooperative to transform and offer open source of how Hemp, CBD and Indigo align. We closed his fiber loop and continue our journey on what to make with it now! I have been building tools to process hemp, questioning production and who benefits from modern machinery, finding the joy in building and dyeing. I am working on a personal (of course still collaborative with Bryan Saner and Erica Mott who began a canoe and I helped out a bit along the way) in Chicago, building a canoe/kayak. We are using locally harvested trees from Lathrop Homes planted by Jens Jensen. I will spin and wax hemp sinews to sew it together (need much more fiber hemp!). I look forward to what else is possible in 2022. My question of “How do we keep old practices alive and create new forms?” continues...   We must continue in practice...collaboration...and our reliance on others is inevitable in this life. Our performance will remain in ways that are seen and unseen...our bodies can align with nature or go against the grain...we must learn when do what and how...

Research for “Aligning the Fibers of Self”

Hambidge Residency Nov. 24 thru Dec-6th

Two weeks is too short...I had a baby!!! (grand piano!)  I played everyday.  I created a distance duet with a collaborator/fellow artist Megan Schneeberger, which I played the piano not knowing what she was doing...(clip to come)  Piano is a large part of me, I learned to read music and play before I was able to read (learning to read was difficult for me). This reminded me of childhood and brought some beautiful memories and lightened my current state of grief.  I walked miles and miles, I spun, I carded, I combed, I layed, I played. I walked 3 miles down the road to get trout to cook for everyone’s dinner and cooled it off from the hot sun in the numbing cold spring fed mountain creek which I jumped in everyday for 7 days.
I brought a little drum I used for an improvisation last November remembering my time at Tryon, I circled back to that work and cassette tape and player that reminds me of dancing in the back yard and garage with my sisters growing up. Drumming is a part of my own history; I played for 4 years and continue to go back to it in various ways, whether working with drummers or spending time playing one. Spinning wool is very dependent on tempo and timing. Is naturally meditative and repetitious. In piano and drumming, tension is recognized very quickly in body and mind...and effects the spirit. I am looking forward to continuing to score, write and heal my own grief and loss and continue to create with love, respect and trust in my process, continue to bring others in and continue to collaborate with those near and far.  I left with pounds of corn grits and meal from Hambidge’s grist mill (and a local recipe) and eggs from the chickens...delicious. 
I am immensley looking forward to what happens next....

I have arrived with the help of many!! I packed an entire carload of things I am working on and want to practice while I am here and most importantly take advantage of the nature and land I am surrounded with, hiking, writing and contemplating, devising, failing and recovering in making this work. Here’s just a landing of the space I am in today, Native American Heritage Day. Trail of Tears began in these mountains, I am full of gratitude to Hambidge for keeping this land as a refuge for all. There is some serious history here and learning more about the history of Hambidge it is hard to accept, it may only exist because of the forced exit of Native People. Mary Hambidge wanted to create a space for artists and science to meet and be influenced by her husband’s conceived knowledge of dynamic symmetry. 

Tryon Farm September 18-21, 2020
Here are some photos of what I harvested for my mini-residency, due to schedule and the state of Covid-19, I will be doing smaller stays and rehearsing in Chicago with cellist Wilson Tanner Smith, so stayed tuned!! 
The early Goldenrod from the front field, was a bright vibrant almost neon yellow from its blossoms this year, last year I got it later in season and it was much darker (the photos don’t do it justice!) 

Above is Virginia Creeper, I used a different recipe and it didn’t turn out the same blue I got last year...I have found some city places I can harvest here in Chicago this week, so I may try it again.  I ended up overdyeing it with the Goldenrod and Iron vat.

And last but not least, The Sassafrass with Iron, which I am excited to try again, because of course failure. The first dip and wash yet when I added the salt and tartaric acid the color left the fiber. It was a beautiful dark silvery gray, which dissipated. Also had trouble with the goldenrod and iron staying on the fiber this year. So, I will try, try again in a couple weeks when I have more merino top comb I just ordered. The last photo is all of the harvested dyed fiber. 

This place is pure magic, Thanks to Geoffrey and Kristina and Tryon Farm for being soooo welcoming!  I was also able to see the film documentary of Jens Jensen (highly reccomend), projected onto the barn, in a place that was special to him because of its bio-diversity of the environment. 

There are so many directions I am wanting to take this research, right now I am focusing on time, memory, and how I come to the work and how it presents change for me, in environment and state of mind and body. I am working with carding and processing Romney wool the last few weeks and found this wonderful history of the sheep.  

July summer harvest with my Niece and Nephew in Iowa, 2020.

Spinning in my studio, a small break while making masks for donation. Spring 2020

Lucid Body

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