Dutch artist named new MSU-Noxubee Refuge artist-in-residence

Contact: Sasha Steinberg

Elin de Jong, a contemporary textiles and crafts artist from the Netherlands, is the newest Mississippi State University-Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge Artist-in-Residence. She is spending her month-long stay documenting colors of the landscape and wildlife, as well as experimenting with plants to come up with natural dyes native to Northeast Mississippi. (Submitted photo by Lori Neuenfeldt)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State’s newest artist-in-residence has begun her month-long exploration of the Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge.

Elin de Jong, a contemporary textiles and crafts artist from the Netherlands, is documenting colors of the landscape and wildlife and experimenting with plants to come up with natural dyes native to Northeast Mississippi. She also plans to conduct an end-of-the-month workshop on natural fiber dyes for Refuge visitors, as well as interact with art students at MSU.

Located 12 miles south of the Starkville campus, the more than 48,000-acre federal land reserve spanning Oktibbeha, Noxubee and Winston counties was established in 1940. It serves as a feeding and resting area for migratory birds and resident wildlife, including white-tailed deer, alligators and beaver. Wetlands, cypress groves, prairie grasslands and forest also are among the Refuge’s many features.

 An art history graduate of the University of Amsterdam, de Jong started a natural dye garden in 2014 to focus on the making of natural dyed fabrics. Each skein of yarn or piece of fabric, she said, is colored with natural dyes using special techniques, some of which date back to the Middle Ages.

“These techniques can take hours or even days in order to make each color unique,” de Jong explained. “The colors are achieved entirely through natural dyes made from plants, including roots, bark, wood, flowers, leaves and insects.”

“In nature’s tranquility, we can find color, excitement and endless possibility,” she added.

For more information about de Jong and her natural fiber dye research, visit her blog at www.elinwanderlust.com.

In addition to MSU’s art department, the Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife artist-in-residence program is a collaborative effort of the refuge and its Friends organization, along with the Starkville Area Arts Council.

Previous participants in the artist-in-residence program have included painter and Webster County native William “Bill” Dunlap; printmaker Kathryn Hunter of Decatur, Alabama; Pennsylvania ceramicist Lilly Zuckerman; mural artist and illustrator Michael Roy of Jackson County; New Orleans artist and critic Marian S. McLellan; New York artists Caetlynn Booth and Tyson Washburn; Mississippi Audubon Master Naturalist and artist Robin Whitfield of Grenada; Iowa artist Barbara Fedeler; MSU fine arts/sculpture graduate Shelby Nichols of Aberdeen; and San Francisco artist and curator Jenny Balisle.

Additional refuge information is found at http://www.fws.gov/refuge/noxubee/, facebook.com/NoxubeeNWR, and twitter.com/USFWSsoutheast. NWR project leader Steve Reagan also may be contacted at 662-323-5548 or steve_reagan@fws.gov.

Part of the College of Architecture, Art and Design, MSU’s art department is the longtime home of the state’s largest undergraduate studio art program. It offers a bachelor of fine arts degree, with concentrations in graphic design, photography and fine art (ceramics, drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpture). For more information, visit caad.msstate.edu, facebook.com/CAADatMSU, twitter.com/CAADatMSU and http://tinyurl.com/CAADatMSUYouTube.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.

Friday, April 15, 2016 - 10:45 am