With the pandemic prompting her recent move from Denver to Santa Barbara, the textile artist G Roslie is finding lots of new inspiration. Back in Colorado, she and her husband, Ry Roslie, ran an artistic boutique called Slo Curio, where they sold her art and clothing as well as his stylish light installations.
Embodying tranquility and the quietude of contemplation, G hand dyes her linens with earth-based pigments and then sews them together manually. Her colorful, organic work gives off a sense of stillness and warmth, making her minimalistic art a treasure for any living space. She answered a few of my questions recently.
Do you find your art inspired by poetry? I do, a lot. Poetry is a huge part of my process. My whole hope in what I do is that it brings a sense of stillness in both myself and somebody that is viewing it. Poetry is, the way I look at it, almost like going into meditation. There’s something deeper that you uncover when you read poems — and an inner connectedness with others.
How did you get into making textiles? I studied fashion design and fashion marketing. Then I got into the fashion industry, and it was a very big letdown. I realized that it was an industry so full of waste and a lot of unhealthy ego. I got out and continued exploring. When I started making clothing, it was more handmade clothing — not so much fashion, but clothing that doesn’t have a trend to it, just easy-wearing clothes that you would be able to wear for 30 to 40 years. Then I started getting into natural dying many years ago and fell in love with the process.
A lot of your works feature landscapes. I have tens of thousands of pictures of landscapes. I love landscapes that embody that stillness, and quiet meditativeness. I get to go and look at a beautiful place and take a picture of it. Doing the patterns draws from my experience making clothes. It incorporates sewing, which I’ve done all my life, and the dyeing process. It felt like a completion of everything I love, everything I’ve done in my life. Sometimes people think there’s things you’ve done in your life and you think it’s a waste of time. I realized nothing you do in your life is a waste of time.
How is Slo Curio a maker’s space? When we started the shop [in Denver], we didn’t have any intentions of opening anything to the public. It was a great, amazing, usable space where it allowed a lot of space to create. It had 20-foot ceilings and was just this really amazing loft space. It was an easy space to make things. My husband and I were tinkering around in there and shortly into it we decided to open up the space and show our work. We started meeting all these artists and handmakes and crafters; it was such a great community of people doing what they love.
Do you anticipate something similar in Santa Barbara? I would love to. The cost is very challenging, but I love having a space where we could have people interact. We built such a lovely community by having that space [in Denver], and you realize how many like-minded people there are in the world. We met people from all over the world when we had the space, as well as local Coloradans. It was such a beautiful experience that I would love to continue to bring that here.
Does Santa Barbara inspire you differently than Denver did? Having grown up in California and being a very ocean-minded person, Colorado has its own beauty, and it’s a stunningly gorgeous place. There’s this distinction, though, that you’re either a mountain person or an ocean person. I realized that distinction in myself, that I always preferred the ocean. One thing I do have to say about Colorado is that I don’t think I’ve ever met nicer people in my life — such kind, genuine curiosity where everybody talks to you.
Can you tell me about the piece on your website called “Transcendence”? This female figure came to me; she’s a muse for me. It’s also relating to the Ojibwe saying, “Sometimes I go about in pity for myself, and all the while, a great wind carries me across the sky.” She’s a muse, and there’s a mystical quality to her. It’s really honoring the feminine; I’m not a religious person, but there’s a strong spiritual leaning that I have.
What else would you like our readers to know? [We’re in] challenging times right now; when I do my newsletters, I try to share poems, and I think they have a grounding element, which we all need. It’s a time where we may feel like we are floating and not quite sure where and how to land, also just realizing how essential beauty and art is.
We talk about essential workers, whom we are so grateful for obviously; but I think a lot of artists right now are suffering. I talk to a lot of fellow artists who feel as though art may not be worth it. But art is not a frivolous thing — it gives people a sense of hope and whatever else it may bring, whether it be calmness, or introspection. I hope that we can collectively realize that art is an essential element of life, especially when things are hard.
Every day, the staff of the Santa Barbara Independent works hard to sort out truth from rumor and keep you informed of what’s happening across the entire Santa Barbara community. Now there’s a way to directly enable these efforts. Support the Independent by making a direct contribution or with a subscription to Indy+.