Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Three new art quilts inspired by PLAYA

(Above:  Flicker Feathers I, 22 1/2" x 28 1/2". Imagine transfer on fabric with self-guided, free-motion stitching attached with screws, nails, and assorted hardware to the face of a rustic wood frame.  Click on any image in this blog post for an enlargement.)

I'm getting ready for a small solo show at Anastasia & Friends Gallery on Main Street.  The exhibit is called PLAYA: A Month in Paradise.  I'm quite pleased with this opportunity because it really gave me a very good reason to create some of the work I envisioned while at at PLAYA, an art residency in the remote Oregon Outback.  I spent most of last October there overlooking the dried lake bed, under Milky Way night skies, and surrounded by nature that included lots of birds ... especially flickers.  Flickers are members of the woodpecker family.  Their features are brilliantly colored.  One hit a window during my first week.  Despite my best efforts to save the poor creature, it died in my hands the next day.  The experience was sad but also breathe-taking.  Even while it died, I knew I wanted to "make art" inspired by this bird.  I made a fiber vessel.  I photographed the lifeless body inside it ... right side up, upside down, wings tucked in, wings spread out.  As my camera snapped, I could almost see the art quilts I wanted to make.  Now ... I've made them!  Next month I'll share them during "First Thursdays" on Main Street.  I'll also be creating a little shrine to this amazing bird.

(Above:  Flicker Feathers I, detail.)

My two favorite images were uploaded to Spoonflower and printed on fabric.  My substrata was recycled black industrial felt, a donation from Guy Jones at River Runner.  I cut the fabric to the edge of the image.  I placed it on a larger piece of black felt, allowing at least an inch of felt to be exposed on all four sides.

(Above:  Flicker Feathers I, detail of corner including the unique framing presentation.)

I positioned the image on the felt in this way because I knew exactly how I wanted to finish the piece.  Assorted vintage hardware and my stash of copper, stainless steel, and brass nails and screws were used to attach the art quilt to the face of a rustic wooden frame.  There's also several types of washers and upholstery tacks too.  To me, this hard metal edge is the perfect compliment to the bird's pretty, soft feathers.  It emulates the harshness of nature's beauty.  Hard and soft in harmony, perfect together.

(Above:  Flicker Feathers II, 22 1/2" x 28 1/2". Imagine transfer on fabric with self-guided, free-motion stitching attached with screws, nails, and assorted hardware to the face of a rustic wood frame.)

Although both original images include the fiber vessel I stitch and in which I photographed the bird, it is more obvious in this view.  The feathers were easier to stitch than the background's vessel ... which surprised me.  I would have thought that stitching over an image of my own stitching would be been easier! LOL!  I had to bare in mind that this was "the background" and that I shouldn't get carried away trying to outline all the texture.

(Above:  Flicker Feathers II, detail of corner including the unique framing presentation.)

I have one more art quilt based on the flicker's feathers to stitch.  That will happen this weekend!

(Above:  Spiral VI. 25 1/2" x 33 1/2".  Imagine transfer on fabric with self-guided, free-motion stitching attached antique finished rosette upholstery tacks to the face of a rustic blond wood frame.)

In addition to stitching the two flicker inspired art quilts, I also stitched the last piece inspired by the stone spiral made from rocks on the dried lake bed.  The other five are included in THIS BLOCK POST.

(Above:  Spiral VI, detail.)

The original photo of my stone formation was significantly altered before uploading it to Spoonflower.  Using one of the distortion filters on Photoshop, the spiral warped into a giant wave ... which seems appropriate to suggest the water that fills the lake during the cool, wet winter months.  While I was at PLAYA, the lake was starting to fill its bed.  I was told that by the end of November, there would be a lake instead of the parched soil on which my spiral sat.  I wish I could see it now.  Maybe I'll be fortunate enough to earn a return residency.  PLAYA certainly inspired me.  I truly loved being there!

(Above:  Spiral VI, detail.)

I used lots and lots of gold metallic thread on this piece.  Photos just don't do the work justice in terms of the sheen and the texture!  The amount of gold, however, did inspire me to use only antique finished gold rosette upholstery tacks for to attach the work to its rustic blond wooden frame.  I'm quite please with how it came out!

(Above: Spiral VI, detail of corner including the unique framing presentation.)

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


Wanda said...
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Wanda said...

Flicker I and II are outstanding pieces. Absolutely wonderful. I'll add the word incredible. As is the Spirals piece. The Flicker pieces show the deeply emotional and moving experience of having the poor little guy die in your hands. Having birds hit windows is, sadly, something that happens all over the world. But YOU have made this one little flicker live on. The experience of having the flicker die in your hands makes my heart hurt for you. The pieces that came out of that experience make my heart sing. Wonderful.

Judy Warner said...

These are outstanding pieces. It will be a wonderful exhibit!

Heather Pregger said...

Wow. These pieces are amazing!

Maggi said...

Wonderful pieces.

Norma Schlager said...

Beautiful pieces, Susan. It's sure to be a wonderful show.