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Hi, I’m Madeleine Provost (she/her), the woman behind the artwork, products, and writing you will find here.
At the core of my practice and research, I am working towards a more sustainable way of life.
My practice uses natural dyes and pigments, mostly from plants that I either forage by hand or source from suppliers who specialize in naturally derived dyestuffs. Other materials I use are natural fibers, upcycled thrifted secondhand goods, found objects, and waste (although I would love to eliminate this word from existence.)
Using natural dyes has restored an intimate relationship with nature for me, one that I will continue to share as I continue to learn. I seek to advocate for plant lives, and for human lives, by illustrating the symbiosis of all life in color. Through my artwork I strive to raise awareness of the climate-beneficial and individual healing properties of plants, so that we can return to a sustainable way of living that respects, supports, and works with nature rather than one that exploits it, for to exploit nature is inevitably to exploit ourselves.
A bit more on my love of nature & color:
My work connects me to my surroundings and the plant life that lives in a given place. The more connected I feel with the land around me, the more I feel at home wherever I am. I love to watch and listen to plants, get to know their idiosyncrasies just as I would in discovering a new friend, learning the sound of their leaves in the wind or how fragile they are to the touch. On the other hand, to explore their colorful aura through dyeing can be like spending time with an old friend. Curiosity and new conditions reveal a new trait, like when heat and water might expose that red petals hold green dye inside, similar to the surprise of finding out something you never knew about an old friend.
Through these friendships, a new level of intimacy has been born between me and my surroundings, and now when I walk around my urban neighborhood or hike through a forest, my world is more saturated. With each new plant friend I have made, a new dye I have experienced, my vision expands to see not only their physical form, but also their colorful soul. Rogue goldenrod flowers muscling their way through cracked pavement might paint my walk with yellow, speaking to life’s resiliency through its colorful expression. A fallen tree in the woods - its trunk left deteriorating and restoring nutrients to the earth through sacrifice, with lichen and mushrooms moved in to help with the breakdown - reveals a composition of rusty reddish brown, orange, green, and beige radiating from the various species perpetuating the circle of life together, a reminder to me along my path through the woods that death is just another beginning.
The more I work, the more life is like swimming in a sea of color, hearing and feeling a symphony of emotions, as I visualize their colorful spirits and presence all around me. The music heals me, and I hope it heals you too.
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