Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Book of Masks


Tags, postcards, ATCs, "inchies", journal quilts, challenges, on-line tutorials, Esty, distant learning programs, swaps of any kind, and fabric books are some of the many, mysterious but utterly fascinating things to which I've been exposed through blogging. Most are very, very tempting. I've tried rusting material and even written a tutorial. I've finally put some of this newfound knowledge to use. I made a fabric book....and thanks to those of you who offered suggestions and lead me to further investigations!

Mostly, Doreen G's formerly lost fabric that turned into two beautiful postcard inspired me...plus all the snippets of embellished fabric leftover after cutting up backgrounds to make Christmas ornaments. It all seemed a shame to waste. Doreen stitched strips of material to a background and created a beautiful, colorful whole...so I followed her lead. I went on and embellished it from both sides and decided it was a book cover.


At first, I made paper pages using the leftover text. It isn't any ordinary text. It had been the printed pages of a 1957 French publication featuring chromolithographs after the earlier sugar-lift aquatints by Picasso...all to illustrate a modern look at the mid-18th c. naturalist, Georges Buffon. A framing client/book dealer had me dismantle the volume and mat and shrink wrap the images for resale. He said I could keep the rest...the few pages of text...enlarged reproductions of Picasso's handwriting with a few linear drawings. I knew I would use this "paper" one day. (By the way, this dealer is also an art client...he and his wife own one of the large African series pieces, Warrior.)

Something was wrong. The pages just weren't "right" for the cover. The cover was colorful, textural, and needed something more "straight forward". I set these aside and am now making another book, Buffon, Picasso, and Me. (Images will come later!)

I don't know why I remembered the masks I had transfered onto muslin and the stiff, heavy "stuff" I bought. I think the "stiff" material might be a type of Lutradur. I'm not really sure. I bought it at Hancock Fabrics...I think. Of course I didn't make a note of it. I painted it with silk paints and embellished it with a fine layer of wool rovings.

WonderUnder (Bond-a-Web) was ironed to the reverse of each mask but I stitched around each one too. I thought I was done, but something was missing. It was a pretty little picture book without any words or reason. Since I've done so many other African inspired work, I have a file of research....including the names of some tribal masks (most are simply called by the tribe had created it but others are named for mythological beings.)

It took all day on Saturday to stitch the names on the pages...burying the stitch within the thickness of the page...never going all the way through. Now, it's done. Thanks Doreen for the inspiration...the start of my first fabric book. Again, thanks to everyone else who offered much needed advice!












10 comments:

Jacquelines blog said...

It is a gorgeous piece Susan, maybe it is also bcause I like the theme so much. It is right from the heart. I love african masks!

Doreen G said...

Wonderful Susan I am so glad that I "inspired"you to create this wonderful textured book--and the African masks just make the whole peice.
My granddaughter has African heritage (from her mother) so the masks appeal to me.

Anna said...

your book is wonderful - I love it!
Anna

arlee said...

Truly wonderful! The masks are printed so perfectly i thought they actually were in three dimensions!

Gunnels blog said...

The book are wonderful! Yes, how much we are learning through reading blogs, and all people who are so kind and sharing they art with us! and all swpas we are doing! The internet are great!

Sandy said...

The book is wonderful. I love books and masks. Sandy

Micki said...

Fabulous book, Susan. Love all of those masks.

jonio said...

Beautiful work Susan, you get an A++++ in my book!! African masks have always interested me. You are an inspiration.

Joni

Emmy said...

I love this book I am into the african masks aswel and you inspired me

Sarah said...

I always love stopping in and seeing your work Susan! The masks are fantastic!