RED WHALES IN A GREEN SEA
2010 is here and my wish for myself and all of you is that we have a more peaceful and prosperous year than 2009.
I began my blog in April of 2009 without a real clue as to what I would do but amazingly it took off and I was able to learn on 'the fly'. Today I am attempting my first blog post via my MacBook which is replacing my aging but always reliable Dell. Wish me luck.
Studio24-7 has had three main types of posting: Weekly Textile Constructions, Artists Profiles and an online project ' Compositional Conversation'. CC was finalized and there is a separate site where you can more easily read all the articles and I may add additional information from time to time. I will continue to present artists interviews and I will be sharing my small explorations but I am shifting from weekly to monthly.
If you are familiar with my main body of work you know that while I use hand dyed fabric, the focus has been on large spare shapes and figure/ground compositions. That is what I thought I would explore in my weekly studies but very quickly the focus shifted to surface design. I have loved this exploration but found that the time required to process these works each week was much greater than working with my usual hand dyes and it has been hard to keep up so.....I will commit to one new small study per month which will allow more time for my larger pieces but I know I will do more and I'll share those as they develop.
So with this new concept I am presenting the last Weekly Textile Construction from 2009.
A few weeks ago I presented a piece made from fabric I had dyed using a flour paste resist. I love the interaction of this paste with the dye. I admit that working with the paste itself is not a joyful experience but the results are beautiful. I decided to try it again and see if the results were similar to my first attempt so I pinned 2 - 18" x 18" squares of muslin to design boards, applied the flour paste and drew with the end of a plastic fork (one after the other), allowed to dry, and then painted over the entire surface with activated thickened black dye. Here is the results.
Muslin which has been painted with black dye over a flour paste resist.
Detail of the beautiful surface.
You can see that I drew the same pattern on both of these that I used on the first study. I played with them a bit to see what I could do with them and then decided to add some color. I did this by soda soaking then scrunching each piece into plastic shoe box containers and pouring small amounts of dye over the fabric. I used a green (don't remember which) and a pineapple color. Here they are.
I liked the color but still I didn't feel excited. Then I decided that since they were so similar that I wanted to combine them. I started by cutting a few strips off one of Piece A, cutting it into freehand squares and sewing them onto Piece B. I had already added a batt and a backing to the Piece B and made a sandwich so I was sewing directly to what would be the finished piece. I applied two vertical rows and two horizontal rows. This was creating a nice texture but because they were almost identical, texture was all they added. Then I decided to cut a square of fabric out of the center of Piece A, cut it into small squares and add to the center of the 'sandwich' composition. I used red thread to sew. This created a small area of interest in the center but still it was not strong. As I observed the piece I saw that the shapes of the original drawing were still there but needed to be exposed and that is when I added the strong red strips of fabric. I used a bright red on the left and right and a deep brownish red in the center which emphasized the illusion of the center red element being behind the tilted square. I tried turning the piece in all 4 directions to find the right view.
I have a small demo piece Kathy Loomis made for me some years ago which demonstrated the technique of creating shapes from strips of fabric. This demo piece is framed and hanging in my studio and I acknowledge the influence.
I now call WTC #32 , Red Whales in A Green Sea. I squared it up and finished it immediately.
All of this texture and complexity of surface is very exciting and I do intend to carry it into some larger works.
Thank you for visiting my blog and hope you will return. Comments are always welcome.