Friday, September 25, 2009


The Compositional Conversation piece continues to develop and travel from artist to artist and each version continues to be a surprise and in some way, a reflection of the artist of that stage. One of the aspects I have found most interesting is the variety of approaches I hear described. This is not surprising to me but it is especially interesting as "the studio experience" is the main driving force in my own work and I know that over time we all develop ways of working that are very specific to our own personalities and techniques.

This week's artist is Fulvia Luciano whose work focuses on surface design. Fulvia is the creator of our video and has shared with us a few of the compositions she auditioned.

Fulvia Luciano's Comments

I have enjoyed the challenge of being part of a group process that has been completely new and foreign to me. Funny how what I thought would be difficult or of concern, never was. By that I mean that I had imagined all along that "touching" someone else's parts (stay tuned for more on that choice of words) would be unthinkable and probably not something I could execute. Fear not - I touched, I cut, I moved!

As it turns out, I unpacked and pinned up on my design wall the project as Leslie sent it to me. I let it hang there for a few hours and kept observing it to try and understand it in the flesh, as opposed to what I had been seeing on the blog, like all of you. This confirmed my very first reaction: that I liked the vertical orientation of the piece, its colour, shape and size, and that my favorite shape was the one with which Terry launched this, but also that there was just too much going on, not all of which I could understand or follow visually. On any day, I subscribe to the 'less is more' style so I had to edit, edit, edit the work. In looking at the piece as it had come to me, I kept thinking of Ray Bradbury's writings or some other fantastic plot whereby the component parts were on a joyous trip at the shore...I liked very much the olive-puce colour of that long shape next to the red piece but my brain kept calling it 'a stomach' or a 'world wrestling federation belt' and that thought continued to get in my way and I could work with it successfully as it was presented. There was only one thing to do: photograph the piece and then remove everything and start over, and that's what I did.

I knew I wanted to keep the background colour, the red shape, the black and blue fabrics, but after that, it was all up for grabs for me. Something else I did not expect was that I did not have the urge to add an element of my own creation: in fact, I kept editing and working with what had already been offered to see if I could meet the challenge. The video shows you some of the many iterations, incarnations I considered. I realized that what kept me trying more and more things was not just that perhaps they were all bad - which is entirely possible --but, rather, the fact that since I was not to finalize the piece, well, then this was an open-ended/endless stage. I absolutely could have continued to go on and on get the drift. In the end, that was the second surprise: that I could only go on and on trying different arrangements for so long before the excitement/interest left me and it became a seemingly endless exercise. I guess that is not that odd considering I am one of many along the way.

Now Marcia gets to try her hand at this and I am just o.k. with the shape it is in at this point. I realize, as I write this, that it is reminiscent of Munari's fantastical machines. "Le Macchine di Munari" was a book that I read as a child but I had not thought about it until just now. From the publisher:

Artist, writer, product designer, architect, graphic designer, illustrator, educator, and philosopher Bruno Munari created an enormously successful and utterly charming book in 1942 called Le Macchine di Munari. It contains instructions for building the most fantastical of mechanical structures, including a machine for taming alarm clocks, a lizard-driven engine for tired tortoises, a mechanism for sniffing artificial flowers, a humiliator for mosquitoes, a machine for playing the pipe even when you are not home, a machine for seeing the dawn before anyone else, and a tail wager for dogs.

Look it up on any of the large online book sellers.

Thank you for letting me play!

Personal bit:

Some years ago I started playing with fabric and paint. At the time, I did not know how to sew at all so I started teaching myself and practicing, practicing, practicing. My work has evolved over the years and it always incorporates a few, favorite elements: paint, dye, drawing, photographs, text, and stitch. I live in my head and in my heart, where I carry my homeland, Venezuela, and I show that love by letting it flow through my fingers as they do the work. I like simple, direct, succinct conversations - textile and otherwise - so I am going to have to leave you now ...Thank you for this opportunity.

Heartland - Fulvia Luciano

Detail - Heartland - Fulvia Luciano

Detail - Heartland - Fulvia Luciano

Check your June/July 2008 issue of Quilting Arts Magazine for an article on Fulvia or click HERE for a PDF version of the article.

Please continue to scroll down to view an updated version of our Group Video and Grid showing all current version of this project. Thank you Fulvia for your unique contribution to this conversation. The work of New York state artists Marcia DeCamp will be featured next.

Grid and Video Update and First Dying Day of Autumn

Here is our updated Compositional Conversation Video and Grid. These take us through Stage Seven. Hope you enjoy seeing the changes.

Compositional Conversation Grid

Just in case you are wondering why I a blank box in the grid, the blogger software is so weird that this was the only way I could get them anywhere close to lined up with one another and the same size . Maybe I'll figure another way later on.

Trip to Athens

Outdoor Studio

I had the pleasure this week of joining Elizabeth Barton and two of her friends, Deb and Cleo, for the 'First Dying Day' of Autumn. We gathered at Elizabeth's Athens, Ga. studio and explored dye and soy wax, looked at some work, had a nice lunch, dyed some more and generally had a fun day.

Here are some images of the fabric I made. I had mixed some very "stiff" dye concentrates but the dye was old so some of the results were less than hoped for. Deb, had contributed a number of her special, never to be repeated, concentrates as well as the soy wax. Thank you Deb. I had tried soy wax before but it had been very difficult to remove. After working with the wax Deb supplied, I am convinced my wax was not pure soy. This soy wax came out with little processing and still provided a good resist.

I love these two pieces and will make be combined to start a new work. I do see more dye and possibly some discharge in their future.

Just to show a little more detail. Wonderful marking. I did them experimentally but I know how I did this and will definitely try it again.

Several of the multicolored pieces will need to be over-dyed as the color is weak but they will make very nice base fabrics.

Hope to see you on Monday for Compositional Conversation.