Thursday, December 06, 2018

Freiheit III, in progress

 (Above:  Freiheit III, a work in progress.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

Sometimes I remember to snap images of work-in-progress.  Sometimes I forget.  With this new work I did both!  What do I mean?  Well, I started out with my camera in the studio.  Because of the large size, I'd generally remember to take a picture.  The piece isn't finished though.  Plus, three others are also in progress ... and I forgot to continue capturing images.  So ... here's what I've got!

In the photo above, I have ironed squares of polyester stretch velvet to a very large piece of recycled black industrial felt.  On the left side of my work table, you can see the piles of squares.  As I position them, I'm often thinking to myself, "OMG! This looks terrible.  It looks like a really bad 1970s patchwork made by a blind or utterly clueless amateur.  How on earth is this going to work?"

 (Above:  Detail of the first, horrible-looking layer.)

I have an amazing array of colors in my stash of polyester stretch velvet.  Together, they look perfectly dreadful.  This is the "ugly stage".  Yet, I know I will improve it.  (Seriously, with it looking this bad, there's only one direction for it to go! LOL!) I know improvement will happen because I've done this process before ... on Freiheit I and Freiheit II

 (Above:  Rolls of heat-activated metallic foil.)

The first way to "improve" the garish, first layer is to add heat-activated metallic foil.  First, I iron Wonder Under over the surface.  This "grabs" the foil.

 (Above:  Metallic foil ironed over the surface.)

Okay ... the improvement is admittedly quite minimal ... but at least there's a sense of distressing!

 (Above:  Detail of the metallic foiling.)

The foil seems to "complicate" the rather straight-forward approach to the initial layer.  It breaks up the patches of color.  On this surface, I then start adding smaller and smaller squares ... one on top of another.  The garish, first layer recedes into the background. 

(Above:  Freiheit III in progress ... lots lots of little squares were added to the initial, foiled first layer.)

I attempted to create a sense of depth by adding darker colors to the middle and by thinning the layers out toward the edges ... allowing the initial squares along the edge to have no additional pieces.  My intention was to create a piece measuring 48" x 48".  I anticipated a bit of shrinkage while stitching.  Thus, the design was (at this phase) 49" x 49".

(Above:  Freiheit III in progress ... strips of sheer chiffon scarves have been ironed over the entire surface.)

Some of the square are now four or five layers thick.  The surface is very uneven.  To facilitate machine stitching, I ironed another coat of Wonder Under over everything.  To this, I ironed on strips of chiffon scarves.  These sheer strips allow my machine to glide over the layers easily ... plus they add another wash of color.  Already, the piece has improved!

Above is a detail shot of the surface before any machine stitching.

Above is the piece after all the stitching was complete.

Above is a detail shot showing the machine stitching.  Definitely, this is a remarkable improvement over the initial, hodge-podge layer of garish squares!

Finally, this is the stitched piece on my living room floor.  It has a coating of GAC 400 brushed all over it.  GAC 400 is a fabric stiffener.  I applied it first to the back, then to the front.  That's when I forgot to take any more pictures.  Instead, I have started, stitched, and sealed three smaller pieces.  Today I am working on the final presentations .... stretcher bars and floater frames.  Yet, before they will be fit into their frames, they will all have at least one or two layers of epoxy poured over them.  My ideas is to eliminate glass and also to add some protection from UV rays.  The epoxy I use is a UV filtering, artist-grade product.   I have returned to snapping photos.  Next blog post will include them!

Saturday, December 01, 2018

Book Cover Installation

 (Above:  Detail of The Book Cover Installation.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

This coming March will find some of my recent artwork in a group show with the talented Flavia Lovatelli and Olga Yukhno at Anastasia & Friends Gallery on Main Street here in Columbia.  The show is called Alternative Storytellers.  Flavia is making artwork relating to recycling tales. Olga is addressing stories on social issues, many of which are inspired from NPR interviews.  I've been creating (altogether too many) pieces that give a feminist twist to traditional fairy tales.

 (Above:  Taking pictures of the installation.)

Together we are planning a collaborate piece, a 3D sculptural figure called The Storyteller.  Olga is making a four-faced ceramic head. Flavia is making one of her fabulous Eco-Trash Couture garments.  I'm supposed to be making a book covered platform on which the figure will stand and suspending books around the figure.

(Above:  Composite photo of the installation before putting two pieces of 48" x 96" foam-centered board behind them.  This is how my framed shop looks now because I haven't taken it all down!)

At first I thought of suspending open books using D-rings.  The weight of the books, however, gives a downward slant to the tome. Not so nice! Plus, each book would require two wires.  It would be more difficult and time consuming to get each one into an appropriate position.  After the failed experiment, I remembered an old piece I once made and nearly threw away.

I took a book art class in the autumn of 2011.  The instructor was a nice enough guy but not particularly knowledgeable.  I had a good time, did all my homework, and created The Book of Covers as my final project. It's never been shown anywhere.  That wasn't the point of making it. In fact, it didn't really function well as a "book".  It was just a fun challenge, a way to appropriately participate, nothing more until this week. 
(Above:  A composite of detail shots.)

I bought more rings and had this installation up in no time at all.  It looks much better this way than it ever did before!  I'm really pleased.  With four strands of linked covers, the installation will surround the sculptural figure with the concept of books and stories.  It truly is an alternative way to look at at a book! The exhibit is part of the Deckle Edge Literary Festival too!  That's on March 23rd.  What a perfect partnership!

The altered covers read as follows:

Cover, an entry fee
Dust Cover, a plastic machine or equipment shield
First Day Cover, a special stamp
Cover, a dramatic or operatic or dance understudy
Cover Crop, erosion prevention
Slip Cover, sofa protection
Cover, as in a blanket
Cover, a collection of mathematical subsets
Cover, a lid or seal
Cover Girl, the lady on the front of a fashion magazine
Covered Wagon, primitive transportation
Cover, a form of protection in combat
Cover alls, a work garment
Run for cover, getting out of harm's way
Cover, what one tells the boss for a co-worker
Cloud cover, overcast
Cover, singing someone else's song
Cover letter, the introductory page for a business proposal or an information packet
Covered, an insurance claim
Cover, to traverse or to travel over
Blow One's Cover, inadvertently give away one's secret identity
Cover up, a loose outer garment
Snow Cover, the white stuff
Cover, how a stallion mates a mare
Cover up, a type of cosmetic make-up
Break Cover, suddenly emerge from hiding
Take Cover, seek protection
Cover, the ability to pay for something
Under Cover, disguising one's identity to gain the trust of another
Cover up, an untrue explanation for an action or motive
Cover, a relatively common last name
Cover, as in concealment
Cover, a fielding position in cricket
Cover, a poor way to judge a book