Monday, October 16, 2017

Freiheit I and II

 (Above:  Freiheit I and II drying in the garage.  Click on any image in this blog post to enlarge.)

An idea for a new series surfaced months ago when I wondered about pouring epoxy (one of my favorite substances for experimentation) over the layers of polyester stretch velvet with which I normally work.  Experimentation happened over the summer as I created Celestial Orbs, an installation that is currently on view in my solo show at Waterworks Visual Art Center in Salisbury, NC. 

 (Above:  Freiheit I and II, framed and leaning against a big mirror in my home gallery.)

That installation went very, very well.  I learned a lot about sealing the porous surface of my material and the best way to pour the epoxy ... but I wasn't really satisfied.  Somehow or the other, I wanted MORE!  I wanted a series on which I could continue to work.  After all, the original idea wasn't really to make shiny circles but to pour epoxy over work that looked more like In Box CCLXXXIII.


(Above:  In Box CCLXXXIII and me ... back in January.)

When I made In Box CCLXXXIII, I knew I was channeling my inspiration from Gustav Klimt.  I didn't know if I could successfully emulate this piece but I wanted to try ... plus experiment with the epoxy. 

 (Above:  Freiheit I and II drying in the garage.)

The last week or so provided a bit time to try ... to start ... to seal the surface with fabric stiffener ... to glue the piece to mat board ... to attach them to stretcher bars ... and to pour the epoxy!

  (Above:  Freiheit I and II drying in the garage.)

Now ... photographing the shiny surface is really, really hard but I'm very, very pleased with the resulting work.  I have learned a few other things too.  Future pieces will manage to be the same size as one another, and I will not be gluing them to mat board and a stretcher bar.  Instead, I'm going to try Masonite. (There was some slight warping due to the moisture of the glue and the flexibility of the mat board.  I was able to solve this problem. But since I want to make even large pieces, Masonite will eliminate any future issue.)
 
 (Above:  Freiheit I.  Framed:  31 1/4" x 19 1/4". Inventory # 4098. $625.)

Naming this new series was hard.  My husband Steve and I will probably continue calling them "the Klimt-like" work but that is a terrible name!  (The explanation for this is in the blog post about In Box CCLXXXIII.)  I researched Gustav Klimt, the Wiener Werkstatt, and the Vienna Secession ... looking for a title, something suggestive of my inspiration without trying to imply a specific genre. 

 (Above:  Freitheit II.  Framed:  32 1/4" x 20 1/2".  Inventory # 4099. $695.)

For several days I considered Ver Sacrum, ("Sacred Spring" in Latin) and the name of the official magazine of the Vienna Secession, published from 1989 to 1903.  Something was just not right about it. 

  (Above:  Freitheit II, detail.)

This morning, I went back to my saved Internet sites.  Almost immediately I read: Der Zeit ihre Kunst. Der Kunst ihre Freiheit.  ("To every age its art. To every art its freedom.")  This is the phrase over the Secession Building in Vienna.

(Above:  The Secession Building in Vienna.)

Freiheit.  Freedom.  Love it!  I love the idea that my work is part of the 21st century but freely inspired by the art of the early 20th.  I love the idea that the artwork I so admire has the freedom to evolve under my sewing machine's needle into the art of today.  The notion of freedom isn't unique to the Vienna Secession.  It might easily apply to the freedom of changing my mind, changing my work, changing my materials.  Love it!

   (Above:  Freitheit II, detail.)

I also love the fact that the material is just slightly underneath the shiny surface.  It has the look of autumn leaves at the bottom of a puddle ... just out of touch ... almost gem-like.  I can't wait to make more!

 (Above:  Valerie Summers giving me a large bag of very carefully sorted letters clipped from magazines.)

I can't jump into production with this new series yet.  I've got other commitments ... like this past Saturday.  I demonstrated "How to Make a Fiber Vessel" at the Grovewood Gallery in Asheville.  It was so much fun.  I also brought a Large Stained Glass piece stapled to its stretcher bars ... ready to be melted.  It can be seen in the background of a video Steve shot.  (CLICK HERE to see the video of me stitching a fiber vessel.  I didn't even know Steve was filming!)  I've got to finish this piece and a couple others first.

 (Above:  Clipped letters donated by Valerie Summers!  THANKS, Valerie!)

The demonstrations went on all day.  I talked about my "Stained Glass" pieces and switched back and forth between my two Bernina sewing machines ... showing how I make cording from skeins of old yarn and how I make the fiber vessels.  One of the people who came was Valerie Summers.  I met Valerie in a workshop I taught at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg.  Valerie brought me an incredible box of vintage household linens and a big bag of letters clipped from magazines!

 (Above:  Wall of Ancestors: Her Today Gone Tomorrow, It's Never Too Late to Live.)

Valerie know all about my obsession with clipped letters.  She's even been to my solo show, Anonymous Ancestors, at the University of South Carolina Upstate's "Gallery on Main".  It's currently on view and I'll be there this Thursday to give a gallery talk at 6:00 pm.

  (Above:  Wall of Ancestors: Her Today Gone Tomorrow, It's Never Too Late to Live, detail.)

The gallery talk is during the monthly art crawl in downtown Spartanburg.  This month is particularly exciting because nearby Converse College is hosting the annual Tri-State Sculptors Conference this week.  Lots of artists are supposed to be out and about on Thursday night.

 (Above:  Wall of Ancestors: Life's Not Fair, Don't Grow Old.)

Like most of my series, I never quite end them.  Despite the fact that Anonymous Ancestors is in a gallery, I'm still making more work for it ... including these two pieces.  The ornate, antique frames came from Bill Mishoe's auction.  The letters were clipped from all sorts of sources, mostly vintage magazines and sheet music.  

 (Above:  Wall of Ancestors: Life's Not Fair, Don't Grow Old, detail.)

On these two pieces, however, I also included a phrase cut directly from pre-1945 Fortune Magazine advertisements.   "Don't Grow Old" and "It's Never Too Late to Live" didn't need their letter's clipped apart.  They are perfect as is!

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

2 comments:

Els said...

Lovely "Freedom's" !!! (so shiny) ;-)
Love the clipped letters on the pictures ...

Dolores Fegan said...

Lovely work. Would love to know more about your epoxy process.