Untethered Ice weaving

Untethered Ice Weaving, Jan. 2024. Dutch wax print, heat, ice, raw Icelandic wool, time

Status: complete

Decentralisation methods used: remote location & internet

Other method: pathos, connotative materials, narrative, symbolism, significant location

Outcome: It accomplished its goals and is quietly sucessful


In roughly half an hour, a frame made of ice loosely woven with Dutch wax print and unprocessed Icelandic wool melts attached to railing that overlooks an unidentifiable African forested area within this art activist action.


Untethered Ice Weavingis a mostly unwitnessed intervention in the Nairobi outskirts with materials I gathered in person in their place of origin. I received the wool from a wool processing plant while at an artist residency in Iceland. I live 30km or roughly half an hour from the Netherlands border, and the Dutch wax print, a local(ish) material to me was bought on a trip to Amsterdam. The raw icelandic wool, complete with lanolin, was spun using a rolling on my thigh technique on location in Nairobi.


While the action was in Kenya, the intended audience was my sphere, North American and European. The ice represents global warming, the yarn and fabric represent global trade, industrialism, inequality and traditional practices.


The ice weavings use pathos or emotions to try to create a sense of urgency surrounding the climate crisis. When the ice melts, most of the weaving within is destroyed. There is a narrative that is created through the act of melting and the materials used.


This work is layered through knowledge. This laying puts the work on the cusp of art activism and political art—the message is not as clear as it could be, it requires some contemplation. It starts as bright not typically western fabric and this fluffy wool, presumably northern in an ice frame that melts in what appears to be a tropical or warm location. Digging deeper, one is an industrial material, the other is hand-made; the origins and location are also provided. With the Dutch wax print, the depth can go fairly deep for those with the knowledge. Dutch wax print was originally intended for the Indonesian market, who preferred their own fabric to the European industrial product. In the 1800’s this product gained popularity in western and central Africa and was sometimes used to pay for slaves in the slave trade. Industrialism, world trade, highly unequal and unethical trade practises are all reflected in the history of the dutch wax print. The hand-spun raw wool is a foil or contrast to the exceedingly fraught history of the African print fabric.