I feel like we waited years to show Aaron's work in the shop. We met years ago through mutual friends Doug Boulas and also I believe Hannah Hayes. We instantly connected over our love of textiles, the stories behind them and the process to make, repurpose, dye and making beautiful art out of these textiles. Kindred spirits always find there way to each other and we are grateful to have connected with Aaron. His work is up in the shop until January. Come see all the pieces and get one for your collection. Check out our 5 questions with Aaron and the playlist he made for the shop.
Aaron Sanders Head is a Southern, Alabama-based textile artist. Aaron was raised in rural Grady, AL and Hope Hull, AL, as the youngest of three children from an artist mother and an agricultural worker father. His grandparents were both rural mail carriers, and the times Aaron spent accompanying them on those trips cemented early on a fondness for rural areas and the importance of connection however it can be found. That learned sense of observation combined with inherited family traditions of textile and agriculture inform the unique visual language Aaron works in today, that exists in the worlds of quiltmaking, handwork and natural dyes. Aaron creates quilts and hand-stitched, naturally dyed textiles that explore the lived experiences of rural Alabamians.
1 - Do you have any foundational or formative memories around textiles/cloth? There were always textiles around when I was little. Things my mom was working on, or things my grandmother was working on. They really would've probably bristled at being called textile artists at the time, but I look back on a lot of that work they made--quilts, lace, crochet, clothing--and so much of it really tells a beautiful story, and I feel fortunate to have had a value for handwork shared with me on a foundational level. There were always plants and textiles around, so it makes sense I eventually found the union of those things with natural dyes.
2 - Do you have a uniform? What do you wear to create? I mostly wear shades of blue--from a practical standpoint of being constantly splashed with indigo in the studio, but also because I feel like I kind of identify psychically with the indigo color at this point, and feel most myself in natural dyes. Most of my regular rotation is 10+ year old, heavily mended and over-dyed denim and shirts with lots of pockets for foraging. I love adding pockets and altering clothes to fit my weird little lifestyle, and love watching experiences build up on clothing in the form of worn spots, patches, stains, etc. I do have a great Levi chore coat from Club Duquette that is in heavy rotation now that temperatures are dropping--it hasn't needed mending or overdyeing yet.
3 - Favorite period in time, whether past, present or future…The future, no question. I think there is a lot to look forward to.
4 - What plants speak to you? This is a big question. I feel very connected to goldenrod. I love the seasonal shift it symbolizes, and foraging for it is something I look forward to every year. It has an incredible medicinal history explored and preserved largely through native wisdom and folk healers of color, and it makes the most beautiful golden dye. I feel connected to sumac--I even tried to get my license plate changed to SUMAC, and it was taken, weirdly enough. I always feel comfortable around mock orange trees, also known as osage trees. I love that they start off spikey but lose their thorns with age, and the beautiful, dense wood makes a gorgeous ochre color. I love indigo, of course, but it really belongs to everyone.
5 - Does music influence your creative process at all? What is your favorite album to listen to while creating in your studio? My partner, Tim Higgins, is a musician, so music plays a constant, important part in our lives, and it's going all day long. I make playlists for myself every month or so that I play pretty heavily in the studio, and I make a new one when I feel things shifting. In the beginning of the year I was listening to a lot of really earnest music, like Antony & the Johnsons and Mary J Blige, and was making a lot of work about feeling deep love. Recently I've been listening to weirder, looser things, like Special Interest and Arthur Russell, and I think my work is going in weirder, looser directions. I think it all enhances it. I also have to listen to Bjork at least once a day.