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Iris I: Baseline
Iris 1: Baseline
Iris 5: Iris Endures
Iris 5: Iris Endures
Iris 2: In Full Bloom
Iris 2: In Full Bloom
Iris 6: Electric Iris
Iris 6: Electric Iris
Iris 3: In Green Waters
Iris 3: In Green Waters
Iris 7: Iris Ghost
Iris 7: Iris Ghost
Iris 4: Iris Dances
Iris 4: Iris Dances
Iris 8: Dreams-of-Spring
 8:Dreams-of-Spring
From a Weaver's Garden
Early in the drought year 2014, I realized that what gardening I did would have to be on my loom rather than in my yard. A promising model had appeared in my yard a few years earlier: small clumps of an iris that flourished with or without watering, though only where it chose--some shoots I transplanted into a tidy border soon died.

In spring the plants produce delicate, small blossoms, pale tan shading to pale violet and lasting only a day or two. The leaves actually interested me more, turning and stretching in a seemingly infinite variety of curves. I liked to sketch them.


I discovered this plant is officially named  Iris macrosiphon, called less formally, Ground Iris or Evergreen Iris. It is native to Mendocino and surrounding counties. Local Native Americans used fibers from the leaves for such things as nets and snares. This textile connection confirmed my impulse to weave a series of tapestries, using the same design of curving leaves and two blossoms, in a variety of weaving techniques, including the Navajo and Pueblo techniques I have been studying for many years, as well as the freer style of my teacher and mentor in recent years, the Bauhaus-trained Swiss tapestry weaver Silvia Heyden.

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