Monday, July 4, 2011

second skin...

another new book...

(I've had this on preorder.....  waiting... not-so-patiently for the release date)

 'Second Skin' by India Flint is a revelation

oh its full of inspiring pics and advice (which I fully anticipated - india's first book - 'eco colour' is an absolutely brilliant reference book on eco-dying and thinking about cloth and clothing) and 'second skin' builds on that foundation while offering a window into an alternative way of thinking about how we clothe ourselves..... But its much more than simply a pretty picture book.

This is a little bit from the first chapter that resonates and sets the tone for the tome...

"By making do with having a bit less as well as making that 'less' last longer, each person can do something useful, simply by moderating their impact on the planet. In this book I'd like to take the reader on a journey that encompasses the growing, harvesting and making of fibre and cloth as well as maintenance and mending, embellishment, repurposing and dyeing. I think that bringing back grandmother's philosophies - of valuing beauty, practising thrift, being mindful, consuming and making less but doing it more slowly and better, being content with enough - can not only help to make the world a better place, but are principles with the potential to enrich our lives."

 (mmmmm yummy piccies)

I'm sure most of you are familiar with the Buddhist proverb: 'When the student is ready, the teacher will appear'..... well I think the same applies to books.... (and everything else really when I stop to think about it!) I'm now ready to read and think and experiment and think and read and apply and think and read and grow in my understanding of how the clothing choices I make for myself and the family ARE and important piece in the puzzle of living an authentic, low impact, creative, ecologically and socially responsible manner.

(I love how 'second skin' sits so beautifully next to 'eco colour' -
the two books are the same size and basic format...
so I imagine them having a family conversation side by side on the shelf)

This book has appeared when I am critically examining my arts practice (and by extension the art world at large) and finding a lot to be concerned about..... from environmentally suspect art materials and processes to icky art world economics.... I'm finding it increasingly harder to reconcile my participation in an 'industry' that is so often complicit in environmental destruction, that supports the wealth/ class divide,  and that is built upon a consumerist/capitalist model (buy low, sell high.... greed is good... unlimited growth is the go)


nope - that's not me

Although 'second skin' focuses on fibre and clothing... I'm reading it with my arts practice in mind... And finding lots to inspire a positive way forward in my art making.... (sending interwebby vibes of gratitude and congratulations to India..... what a lovely book)



  1. Gorgeous post Ronnie... I was already certain this book was a winner... but your delightful presentation thoroughly convinces!

    Think I'd better retweet this one... 2 for the price of one... tell others about your wonderful blog + India's book at the same time!

    thanks for your loverly B'day greeting...I've not been in bloggy-land much lately... way too busy... missing everyone's news though... looks like a great time away down south... and wonderful posts for me to catch up on!

  2. thanks so much, my dear, for your kind words...

  3. it is an amazing book isn't it? I have it on order, can't wait till l actually have it in my hands.....lyndax

  4. Sorry to read about your sad little birdie - but happy to see you have this wonderful book in your hot little hands. It looks like an amazing and thought-provoking read, as well as a great guide to doing it well. I hope it continues to resonate with your explorations and ponderings around your practice. Go well F

  5. Hi Ronnie, Thanks, Great to get a sneak peek at India's new book. What I've been mulling over for the last couple of days though is your mention of thinking about your art practice in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way. It's a huge question and one I started asking myself too a few months ago. Life is full of contradictions, or at least mine is, where we choose to try and be more sustainable. This is such a big topic. But I considered materials used, how I earn an income, community engagement, does the message justify the means? What do other creative industries do, what are my alternatives?
    I thought too about people like David Suzuki who gave up travelling internationally for many years only to take it up again as he felt getting the message out was important. I've decided on a gradual phase in of more sustainable materials (sounds like government legislation), continued community engagement and I guess to keep questioning how I practice. I think it's a great discussion to have.

  6. wow. this whole post is resonating deeply, from the envy (yes, i admit, with shame) that you have your copy already, to the thoughts india provokes. prophet of bloom, indeed. ronnie, called to be more responsible is exactly right. i'd like some rich and powerful to also hear the call to be responsible (starting with our president, for one). ha--the word below was "fires"!

  7. Thanks for letting people know about this beautiful book. I have the first one...and though I know I will never try it's practices, it's a book you just have to have (I bought my sister a copy too and maybe she'd like the next one). Great blog btw!


thanks for all your lovely comments - your words are greatly appreciated xx