Knitting Time Together
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Knitting Time Together

As a geologist and a textile artist, I used my time at Djerassi to explore new ways to present scientific data and records of climate change via knitted fabric and natural dyes. My work focuses on how landscapes responded to climate change in the geologic past and how that information can be used to understand future climate change. I'm increasingly interested in imagining how that unavoidable future (and current!) climate change will shift our ecosystems and landscapes. How does the visual map shift with the shifting climate? How can that be recorded and preserved? What might future reconstructions of California look like, and how can this information and data about climate change be presented in novel and communicative ways?

1895–2015: California Drought is a 12-foot-long knitted fabric that presents the 121 years of California drought data in different hues of naturally colored cotton. I made 10 colors of yarn by washing four shades of commercially available, naturally colored cotton—grown in California, in some of the driest parts of the Central Valley—in alkaline solutions of various concentrations. Using my knitting machine as a primitive computer to "plot" the data, each 12-row stripe indicates one year of data. The variations of the cotton colors indicate how wet (green) or dry (brown) the year was using the Palmer Drought Severity Index.

The pattern of the fabric changes from light greens (slightly wet) and browns (slightly dry) 100 years ago to darker browns (long extreme drought) and brighter greens (rare extreme wet periods). The long- and short-term variances in the data became evident through the physical act of knitting the fabric. The resulting work—both performance and piece—is an accurate depiction of the data but is more compelling and evocative than any x/y plot chart could be.

As a Scientific Delirium Madness resident, I am grateful for the opportunity to work, collaborate and play in a creative, dynamic environment and with 11 clever and compassionate people. My work, and my heart, remain deeply transformed.

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Christine Metzger, 1895–2015: California Drought, knitted fabric, 2016. (© Christine Metzger)

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Christine Metzger, Research swatches for 1895–2015: California Drought, dyed fabric, 2016. (© Christine Metzger)

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Christine Metzger, 1895–2015: California Drought (detail), dyed fabric, 2016. (© Christine Metzger)

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Christine Metzger
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