Land & People | Exhibition

Landscape Capes

Nicole Varney


Wearable landscapes, telling tales through colour. Giving shape to the voice of the plants, what do they speak to you? These capes are dyed entirely from pigments of the Ontario landscape. From the black river in muskoka to windswept park leaves in Toronto, plants were carefully collected for dyeing. Through the time worn process of natural dyeing through seasonal cycles, wisdom that only nature knows made its way to the cloth, the mysterious language of light made visible.

The Landscape Capes tell the landscapes story. I made these capes as an exploration into pigments and in response to a desire for local sources of pigment for textiles. Setting out to explore a greater depth of understanding of the plants, environment and seasonal cycles of the earth that make up the Ontario landscape which I call home. The capes were sewn and dyed by hand in various stages with different techniques and water sources, all unfolding over time along with the spring and summer seasons. Plants were specifically gathered in wild landscapes as well as grown to create the range of pigments present. Making these pieces really opened my eyes to the possibilities of colour that lie in plain sight, just waiting to be discovered.