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Crafting a career through nature and art

Thursday, June 16, 2022 - 1:54pm
By:
Alan Flurry

Colorful leaf patterns imprinted on fabric, along with the wool fibers that create its structure, weave the story of Franklin College/Warnell School double major Jay Reddish.

Kristen Morales of the Warnell School shares the story:

The blending of art and nature on the dress represent how Reddish is also combining aspects of their dual major at UGA: parks, recreation and tourism management at the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources and interdisciplinary art at the Lamar Dodd School of Art. It’s a way to blend a lifelong love of sewing, printmaking and creating with a passion for sustainability and wonder for the world around us. 
 
This blending of science and art makes perfect sense to Reddish—but they understand how folks might not immediately connect the two. 

“I think folks don’t generally make that connection, because they’re coming at textile arts and natural resources from two different places. It’s almost the conservation vs. preservation discussion we’ve all had,” said Reddish. “How do we want to maintain these resources? Do we want to interact with them through use, or do we want to interact with them by keeping them safe and preserving them?” 
 
While some students find forestry and conservation through hunting, hiking or fishing, Reddish found the field through a love of plants and earth skills. For example, the inner bark of a tulip poplar tree can be corded into rope. Acorns can feed wildlife, but they can also be ground into flour and their husks used as a natural dye. 
 
For nearly all their life, Reddish has been making things, foraging for natural objects or learning how to mend and reuse items that might otherwise be destined for the landfill. When they were 3, they sat with their mother—an artistic quiltmaker—and learned to stitch. “I’m from a family of mechanics and seamstresses,” added Reddish. “With time, I started learning the names of the different embroidery stitches. ... I was 5 when I got my first sewing machine.” 
 

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Image: Reddish with one of her designs.

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