Thursday, January 07, 2016

First works finished in 2016

(Above:  Spiral I.  Framed: 10" x 12 1/2".  Free-motion embroidery on image transferred fabric and recycled industrial felt with nails and screws.  Click on any image in this blog post to enlarge.)

Next month my new solo show, PLAYA: A Month in Paradise, will open during "First Thursday on Main Street".  I'm excited.  I'll be presenting work created at PLAYA, an art residency in the remote "Oregon Outback" and work inspired by this very special place.  While there last October, I walked out onto the dried lake bed every day, dragging stones to one, special spot ...

(My stone spiral at PLAYA the day before I had to dismantle it.)

... which ended up looking like this.  Unfortunately, these "unnatural" formations aren't permitted to stay (except for Black Diamond, 2014 by  Roger Asay & Rebecca Davis and another "dashed line" of rocks called True North.)  My daily ritual was wonderful.  Dismantling it during my final days wasn't "wonderful" but it was somehow fitting, peaceful, and respectfully appropriate.  I loved this remote place.  I loved my spiral.  I knew I wanted to DO SOMETHING in response to this special time, this special place.

(Above:  Five small art quilts based on my stone spiral.)

So ... I played around with my favorite photo.  It's the one shown in this blog post.  Using various filters and ways to manipulate the pixels, I came up with several variations and had Spoonflower them transferred to fabric.  These became my first pieces in 2016 ... and will, of course, be in my show at Anastasia & Friends Gallery.  I have four more image transfers underway.  One more is based on the spiral.  The other three focus on the feathers of the flicker who died during my first week.  I'll also be creating a shrine to this beautiful bird and showing several fiber vessels ... including the one in which I photographed the flicker.

(Above:  Spiral I, presentation under construction.)

Four of the five, new spiral art quilts are traditionally matted and framed.  One, however, is presented very differently.  This approach will also be used for the next four art quilts.  So ... what did I do?  First, it is important to note that the image transfer was simply basted to a piece of recycled, black industrial felt.  Because the reverse will never be seen, I used no other, backing fabric.  I cut a frame slightly larger than the edge of the image.  I filled the frame with acid-free foam-centered board.

Next, I placed the piece on top of the frame ... aligning the corners of the image with the mitered corners of the frame.

Then, I assembled my collection of used and new nails, screws, and other hardware.

When the entire edge was created ... from screws, nails, and tacks ... I trimmed away the excess industrial felt using a soldering iron.  This works because the industrial felt is 100% acrylic.  It melts.

(Above:  Spiral II.  Unframed:  7 1/2" x 10"; Framed: 17 1/4" x 19 1/4".)

Spiral II is the same image as Spiral I.  The presentation, however, is entirely different.  This one is matted and framed under glass.  (Scroll down to see a photo of the final presentations together.)  After stitching this image twice, I can safely say, "I know this piece!"  It's a good thing ... because the largest of my image transfers is this image again.  I really love how it was successfully manipulated into a giant wave and yet is still "my spiral". 

(Above:  Spiral III.  Unframed: 9 3/4" x 13 1/4"; Framed:  21 1/4" x 25 1/4".)

The next three pieces are the same size ... but all variations of the photo that still reference the original stone spiral.  I really loved stitching them ... using metallic threads, bringing out the subtle colors of the stones, many of which really were deep, dark reds.
(Above:  Spiral IV.  Unframed: 9 3/4" x 13 1/4"; Framed:  21 1/4" x 25 1/4".)

(Above:  Spiral V.  Unframed: 9 3/4" x 13 1/4"; Framed:  21 1/4" x 25 1/4".)

(Above, left to right:  Spiral V, Spiral II, and Spiral I.  Framed and sitting in the foyer at Mouse House.)

So ... here are three of the four finished pieces ... waiting to go to their first show!  I placed an ordinary yardstick in front of them for a sense of scale.)

(Above:  The garage at Mouse House.)

In my last blog post I mentioned "hitting an artistic plateau" and making the decision to "change things" in the coming year.  I was serious!  One of the things that is already underway is a transformation of the garage.

The garage was built to my specifications.  It has an eleven foot high interior ceiling and barn doors that swing outward instead of an electrical door.  Why?  Well, there's never been a vehicle inside this garage.  It was built to store picture framing moulding.  By 2001 Steve and I had as many as fourteen on payroll and averaged over 300 frames per week.  We needed a TALL and ORGANIZED place to store moulding ... which, if shipped uncut, generally measures 10' in length.  We had our friend Dietmar (Waldi) build unique racks ... several of them.  Since forcibly downsizing our business in 2001 (so that I could "be an artist"!), we don't need all these racks for moulding ...

... but with extra wood, a drill, a screwdriver, and a little manual labor ... the racks have become a perfect storage system for all the boxes needed to ship artwork and for art installation storage!  My new plans for a new future are underway!

I am linking this post to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays", a site for sharing fiber art. 


mckittycat said...

Your spirals are gorgeous

Wanda said...

I absolutely love the spirals. I can FEEL what you felt while you were there and the memory of the month. I feel the bitter-sweet of dismantling the piece. These are very strong pieces, not to mention gorgeous. Waldi makes things to last and I am very happy you can adjust his creations to fit your changing needs. I am excited for all the neat things that you will experience this coming year!!

underatopazsky said...

It's wonderful to see you so enthused about the possibilities of the coming year - it's infectious! The spirals are lovely - my favourite shape and I really like your different ways of finishing them.

Gwyned Trefethen said...

Fascinating to see the same image changed ever so slightly, but enough to make each one unique, thought provoking and captivating.

Angela said...

Oh I love a good spiral!

Quilt Rat said...

These spirals are each fabulous...LOVE the colour, textures and presentation!

Maggi said...

I really do like these spirals. Well done for re-purposing the garage again.

Margaret said...

Susan, the spirals are wonderful -- and the nail/screw edging of the one is particularly fantastic! The photo and its offspring remind me of some sort of meteorological record. And then there are spin-off ideas...what if you re-created them with couched yarn? With beads? With needle-punch embroidery? With French knots? What if you tried this with a labyrinth? Oh- my-oh-my-oh-my...the mind boggles!