Vermont Arts Council

The People’s Choice Award: Ashley Farren

29: Ashley Farren

Create mixed-media pieces representing grief and loss

Ashley began her journey into fiber arts 3 years ago while on a croft in the Scottish Isles. The sense of community that can be found in the ancient craft of weaving inspired her to start her own business called Sett Intentions Weaving. Sett Intentions Weaving creates all natural woven wall hangings in alignment with the rhythm of nature to promote healing and harmony. The fibers used in the weavings are carefully sourced natural fibers from small woman owned businesses and farms or responsibly foraged. Ashley uses ancient practices in the fiber art forms of weaving, macrame, & embroidery along with nature made paints and natural dyes to create pieces rich with texture and color. Ashley’s work has been displayed at The S.P.A.C.E Gallery, the SEABA Art Hop, All Souls Interfaith Gathering and The Blue Cottage. Ashley attended The Marshfield School of Weaving as well as natural dyeing, spinning and weaving workshops in Scotland. Ashley enjoys building an inclusive community through teaching.

Project description

My journey into fiber arts began as a feeling, a pull to retrace the footsteps of our ancestors and embrace the magic of living simply with nature and with those who came before. Now my grandmother is one of those people. I recently lost my grandmother unexpectedly to brain cancer. The toll that grief takes on the mind, body and soul is immeasurable. I am not alone in this experience. I am one among many who have experienced great loss and trauma.

I will be using my artistic background to create a collection that will embody the feelings experienced after great loss. My fiber art practice is centralized around using the creation process as a form of meditation and healing. I began with fiber arts, weaving tapestries rich with texture, combining macrame and embroidery and beadwork and then expanded to spinning and natural dyeing as well as weaving textiles, and creating natural paint to use on the tapestries. The mediums are all rooted in ancient crafts and techniques with great respect for the land, those who came before, as well as building a community where people can heal, grow and feel included. The combination of incorporating all these mediums presents unique heirloom quality environmentally friendly pieces that promote healing through fostering connections and preserving ancient knowledge.

I will open my studio for free community days. I believe art should be accessible, so on these community days there will be no fee. Anybody of any skill level, age, social or economic background can join. The materials created on these days will be used in the collection, creating a collaborative visual representation of grief and loss.

The finished collection will serve as a visual reminder of the power of the collective to come together and realize their pain does not have to isolate them; they can have a safe space to grieve and talk about their loved ones and see a visual of their deepest loss.

Media Sample 1

What Remains Woven Wall Hanging. “Woven wall hanging, painted with handmade natural pigments on eco-dyed fibers, Harris Tweed embroidered, custom copper & wood frame.”

Media Sample 2

Alive Woven Wall Hanging. “Woven wall hanging, painted with handmade natural pigments on eco-dyed fibers, Harris Tweed embroidered, custom copper & wood frame.”

Media Sample 3

Calm Woven Wall Hanging. “All naturally dyed silk, wool and cotton, Harris Tweed, custom copper frame.”

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Acadia Klepeis August 17, 2023