Prickly Pear


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Creation Date



This piece was dyed using prickly pear. Prickly pear was unknown to me before I began this process; it grows wild in California, and is virtually everywhere once you begin to look for it. Prickly Pear reminds me that things become salient when we are ready to receive them. The topographic lines embroidered onto the two smaller hoops correspond to two locations I have been to countless times, but did not notice the prickly pear growing there until I began this project. The larger hoop’s lines are the coordinates to the collection site of the prickly pear.

38º 27’ 33” N, -122º 53’ 9” W; 38º 28’ 56” N, -122º 53’ 59” W; 38º 25’ 51” N, -122º 52’ 8” W

The process of creating these pieces involved the collection of plants to create natural dyes. The linen tapestries were then dipped repeatedly into dye baths to produce the various tonal landscape effects. The coordinates to the plant collection sites, and settings which held meaning in relation to the plant, were then plotted topographically. The topographic lines were then embroidered onto the fabric and encased in embroidery hoops, highlighting the significance of the locations.


24" X 40"


Handmade Dye from Collected Prickly Pear, Ferrous Sulfate, Linen, Embroidery Hoop, Embroidery Thread, Copper Pipe


Matthew Garcia, MFA