Thursday, June 04, 2009

Faux-stained glass pieces started

Blues Chapel is going to Denton, Texas in November!
This will be its fifth solo show. Each presentation has been different....bigger....better....and included new work.

(Above: Blues Chapel at Gallery 80808, Columbia, SC. Spring, 2006. Click on image to enlarge.)

It started with just the twenty-four portraits of early female Blues singers surrounded by votive candles and a music stand with artificial roses. Black drapery created a small, private enclosure. It was the only time I could use real candles. Christmas tree twinkle lights have been used ever since.

(Above: Blues Chapel at the Sumter Museum of Art. Summer, 2006. Click on image to enlarge.)

The second exhibit was at the Sumter Museum of Art, a very large, professional space. It felt like I was building a "church" instead of a chapel. I located four church pews and made four "faux-stained glass" fiber pieces to establish a "sacred place". Of course, later I sold the four pieces. The new owner allowed me to borrow them for the exhibit last summer at the Pickens County Museum of Art (Video is here).

(Above: Blues Chapel, Sumter Museum of Art. View of four "faux-stained glass" fiber pieces. Summer, 2006. Click on image to enlarge.)

Of course the nice, new owner of the "faux-stained glass" fiber pieces said I could borrow them once again.....but....I really want six pieces. I decided to create six, totally new ones. After sketching the designs, I enlarged them on white Kraft paper to scale. This week I started the first of the six.

Above is the dark blue felt on my studio table. The Kraft paper sketch is beside it. I'm not really faithful to the sketch; it serves as a suggestion for scale and placement of pieces of polyester stretch velvet shapes. (Click on this and any other image to enlarge.)

Above: Unpainted Wonder Under (Bond-a-Web) was ironed to the dark blue felt. Metallic blue foil was ironed in a random fashion.

Polyester stretch velvet shapes were cut and ironed in place....layer upon layer. Wonder Under (Bond-a-Web) was already ironed onto the reverse of all the polyester stretch velvet.

Above: Torn strips of painted Wonder Under (Bond-a-Web) are ironed over the initial layer of shapes.

Above: More blue metallic foil was ironed onto the painted Wonder Under (Bond-a-Web).

Smaller shapes of polyester stretch velvet were added. I took this photo while standing on my wooden stool.....looking down onto the piece....don't you just love my feet in the photo?!

Today I'm going on the the next piece. I'll construct all the "windows" before going to to the free motion embroidery, the soldering, the melting, and the framing. Of course I started this project without enough chiffon scarves from The Thread Studio.....but they are on order.

Also, when I started Blues Chapel, three of the singers in the focal point were alive. Ruth Brown and Anita O'Day died later that year. Last Sunday, June 3, Koko Taylor died. She was 80. May she rest in peace.


Doreen G said...

Absolutley amazing Susan I am in awe of your work.

Unknown said...

I really like seeing how you put this together. The process. Such a beautiful work in combination with the Blues Chapel as well as being able to stand alone!
Koko Taylor passing was so sad. I am lucky to live in Chicago where she performed often. When I worked for Downbeat magazine I was able to see many of her shows and meet her as well. She will remain an icon of the Blues.

Julie said...

I absolutely love stained glass but I would never have thought of working in this way. The foiling works really well too and is very evocative.

Wanda said...

It is true.."Blues" gets bigger and better every show! How do you get this all to Texas? I would imagine that you guys are going...who else could set it up right! The whole exhibition is outstanding

Anonymous said...

I am even more excited about your upcoming exhibition in Texas. The stain glass pieces are amazing. The process is very interesting to me. Thanks for sharing
Deb Dyer