She walks like a queen

8/2 Valley tencel (lyocell)
Fully hand dyed by Paradisaea
Summer 2016
5th Paradisaea warp

Here are two texts I wrote during the process of creating the She Walks Like a Queen warp. I had known for a long time that I want to create a warp that celebrates women. These texts tell something of the thought process behind the colourway.

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"As for my girls
I'll raise them to think
they breathe fire."

// Jessica Kirkland

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"What is a woman? What does her heart look like?"

The first fully hand dyed Paradisaea warp carries the name "She Walks Like a Queen". It's a tencel warp; three kilograms of tencel all hand painted and measured into a warp that seeks to find answers to the question above.

I've been thinking about us women while I've been dyeing these skeins. What does it mean to be a woman? Have we found out? Have we forgotten? We seem to forget so easily - at least parts of ourselves. There's so much to do, so much to be, so many balls to keep in the air at the same time, and in the course of years too full of everything a woman might easily lose contact with who she is, or who she used to be. And to be honest, the world doesn't often really encourage us to celebrate ourselves. The messages we get are often quite the opposite: "You're just too much / you're just not enough". We might end up losing our colours, or hiding them away in fear that they are too bright for others. Is it good to be a woman? It doesn't always feel like that. Most of the time we might just feel... tired. Exhausted, a bit lost and just tired. God knows at least I do.

But it's not the truth. It can't be. We have too many dreams, too many gifts, too many talents, too much life in us - we're too alive to be hidden away.

Partly based on some personal life experiences and greatly based on many conversations with other women, I've wanted to search for a different message. What does it mean to be a woman? Who is she?

I'm still searching for the answers, but one thing I already know: a woman is a majestic thing. She's magnificient. She just might not know it. But something in her heart still remembers the truth.

I wanted this warp to have strong colours, intense and bright. I wanted to make the orange burn, the pink shine, and the purple be as imperial as possible, to create a combination that would speak of the uniqueness and intensity of a woman's heart. To remind her of her real colours. To search for more colours she might not have had any idea of.

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"You must have been
a storm seeker
because my soul was
no quiet shore"

- Ariana

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There she is, beamed, resting now. A whirl of colour and contrast, some of them blending harmoniously together, some creating accents that demand to be seen. There is nothing faded in her. Nothing apologetic. She simply exists, resting in her own power, not asking for my permission for anything anymore. The thing is that she doesn't seem to be just yarn anymore. And yet I don't quite know who she is - a portrait of a woman with a hidden face, someone on fire inside...? I feel her glow when I pass by, I hear her thoughts when it is silent in the room.

Working with her seems to be taking me rather deep, making me search for the woman I've longed to be but have never really been. The one who is not easy, not quiet, not silent, not afraid, not always in hiding. The one who simply looks the world in the eye and does not waver. She is not a flickering flame. No, she's the one who sets others on fire.

I'm curious to see what faces of hers she will reveal to me, to us, to anyone coming close to her. What are the stories she will tell? What kind of longings will she speak of? What is her heart like?

I can only assume that
in a way she is like each and everyone of us

at least that is the task that I'm going to give to her: to speak about the longings and the loves, the memories and the dreams and maybe even the pains that have been in the lives of the women who will carry their babies in her embrace. Time will tell what those stories are.