by: Caroline Dignes
Good Ombrés for Change, a project I recently spearheaded as a fundraiser for the ACLU, was conceived this past year in the present sociopolitical climate of fear—fear of the Other and fear of change. This fear has manifested itself in a variety of “closures” in the United States. Closure to new ideas, peoples, and globalization is being slowly institutionalized through cultural barriers, physical barriers, and laws.
In design, an Ombré is a fade from one color to the next. As individuals, we are not capable of being only one thing: just a woman, just a U.S. citizen, just a student, etc. Our lives are complex, we are varying degrees of many colors that fade together, a spectrum and a range of events that have shaped us. Fear is a war on equity that seeks to simplify individuals into one category and reduce access to those most basic human rights. Physical movement—be it yoga, dance, or aerial acrobatics—is a celebration of the self, an expression of consciousness. When we celebrate and experience our selves, we celebrate and appreciate the full array of our selves and our identities. This celebration is my yoga.
I am an aerial artist, and to express the power of teamwork and collaboration, I envisioned a stunning visual homage to solidarity and strength through the use of multiple aerialists on ombré-dyed aerial silks. With a small team of highliners, aerialists, and a photographer, we created a rainbow of aerialists over the Pacific Ocean. I carefully ombré dipped each silk by hand and arranged them in a rainbow to honor both the individual and the collective found in our shared humanity.
I am awed by the collaboration that came from this project. As a hybrid artist between the highline and aerial spheres, I have never felt such a sense of community and mutual respect. Individuals stepped up and donated their skills, technical prowess, gear, and time in an unprecedented manner, with finesse and grace. To all who were involved: my heart overflows with love and gratitude.
This project was a fundraiser for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), an organization that works in “courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and the laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country.”
For The Rainbow Collection - six additional limited edition, hand-dyed ombre aerial silks from this project are available for sale on my website, with $50 of the purchase donated to the ACLU. These silks are one of a kind, each is a unique work of art. To make the project even more significant, Gaiam and Aerial Essentials (respectively) generously donated their Chakra Print Yoga Mat (3MM) and Aluminum Rescue 8 (45 KN), and were donated to those who originally purchased the initial six silks.
If you would like to make an additional donation outside your purchase, you may do so either directly to the ACLU via their website or through the “Donate” option on my website.
105 meters on doubled Rubber Band with 11 mil Sterling HTP additional back up.
115 meters on doubled FeatherPro with 9 mil Sterling HTP additional back up.
Highline Crew: Josh Bowling, Joseph Manuel Croft, Jon Kao. Richard Kreuzburg, Kaj Pandey, Jesse Ritchie, RJ Roush, Bryan Sipe, Matt Stolling, and Louie Wray
Aerialists: Amelia Crofoot, Caroline Dignes, Sierra Faulkner, Maureen Frieder, MIkah Berky
Photographer: Adam McKibben
Caroline Dignes is Textile Artist and Aerialist based in Southern Oregon. Follow along at @cdignes.