Monday, April 13, 2020

Infected 2020 and Marble Man, two mini art quilts

(Above:  Infected 2020, a mini art quilt. 12" x 12".  Manipulated digital image printed on fabric with both free-motion machine and hand stitching.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

With the COVID-19 virus inflicting so many life changes, it seemed only fitting to stitch another work expressing the unexpected fears and damage happening all over the world.  So, I uploaded several manipulated images to Spoonflower, a print-on-demand company, and had them printed on their standard cotton fabric.

(Above:  Infected 2020, detail.)

The original image was taken at Bill Mishoe's estate services, an auction house selling used household items, antiques, and collectibles.  I don't buy dolls ... but I do like snapping pictures.  These often broken dolls seem to ooze sensations from idealized childhoods while simultaneously speaking to misadventures and eventual neglect.  My husband Steve puts it simply.  "They're creepy!"

 (Above:  Infected 2020, detail.)

Working in this small size has become an excellent way to play with needle and thread.  Other pieces have been totally stitched by hand.  I've experimented with trapunto/stuffing techniques.  On this piece, I did quite a bit of free-motion stitching with black cotton thread.  Then, I enhanced the colors using a thin flower thread ... with itty-bitty stitches that are hardly seen from the distance but sort of look like the texture of sickness, the expected pock marks and blush of someone inflicted with disease.  If that's not creepy, what is?

 (Above:  Infected 2020, reverse.)

In keeping with my practice to use found materials for the reverse, I used a scrap of paisley for both the backing and the sleeve.  The label was on a sample piece of ultra-suede donated to me by an interior designer.

(Above:  Marble Man, a mini art quilt. 12" x 12".  Manipulated digital image printed on fabric with both free-motion machine and hand stitching.)

Although much of my studio practice has been influences by the current "sheltering in place" and quarantine ordinances,  I am really not dwelling on the negative!  When ordering the printed fabric for Infected 2020, I also uploaded a photo taken late last year at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.  Visiting this museum was a lifelong dream.  It was a perfect day.  Everything about the experience was a positive.  This image also gave me the opportunity to approach trapunto/stuffing in a different way.  There are eight pieces of felt under sections that are not machine stitched.  Each area is only slightly raised from the background.

(Above:  Marble Man, reverse.)

For the reverse, I used the paper-fabric that I salvaged from the back of an antique Chinese folding screen.  The pattern was block printed on a thin fabric.  That fabric was perfectly attached to rice paper (probably with an acid-free rice or wheat starch paste).  I used another vintage scrap for the sleeve. 

I'm already working on the next mini art quilt ... another dead bird.  These small pieces are excellent ways to spend my evenings in isolation!


Ann Scott said...

Dolls are creepy and you have expressed illness, even death well in this Infected 2020 piece.
It is very interesting to see and read the layering for the trapunto you used in your Marble Man piece, it has so much depth, and your stitching really works well. I like how you have used paper fabric (on the back) and the way you left the fray fringe salvage/weave threads on the sleeves.

Catherine - Mixed Media Artist said...

definitely creepy - but the details make it less creepy if that what you would look at.

I'v been trying to keep away from the 2020 c/19 stuff, but actually I revamped one of my series from the time when I was terribly "angry with our medical health service" and I've submitted to an online exhibit titled TOGETHER (the gallery exhibition title) which will hit the f/b page of the gallery, sometime soon.

I'll post it on my artists' blogspot when that is revealed...