Sunday, August 21, 2011

New Work from Hot Springs

(Above: Another Saturday stitching on Anonymous, a Grave Rubbing art quilt ... crazy quilting vintage household linens together ... in public at the Fordyce Bathhouse in Hot Springs National Park. Click on this or any image to enlarge.)

I've been keeping a sketchbook here in Hot Springs National Park. For me, this is HARD! I'm not really comfortable with drawing but every day seems to improve my weak skills. I know that the quality of the marks aren't the most important thing; the way attempting to draw forces one to LOOK, really observe the visual information, is the point! As a result, I've documented all sorts of ornamentation and details in the bathhouses as well as along nature's trails.

Some of the pattern and decorations informed these pieces. I actually didn't plan on making such work, but I need high resolution images for the next residency program! What does that mean? Well, I'm teaching a class called "HOT" on March 8th during my artist-in-residency at The Studios of Key West (TSKW). "Hot" is a class that teaches heat activated processes for creative embroidery ... using previously painted WonderUnder (Bond-a-Web), metallic foils, chiffon scarves, polyester stretch velvets backed with more WonderUnder, etc. TSKW needs images for their printed workshop literature ... and they need them NOW. Since I don't have such images, I made new work ... as if demonstrating for the class (and I always finish my demonstrations!). I simply used my Hot Springs National Park sketchbook for the designs!

Naturally, I didn't bring any "background material". I generally use scraps of upholstery material ... the kind from swatch books that interior designers have donated to me. So, I went to Material World here in Hot Springs and bought five swatches for $2.50. Here's what they became:

(Above: Hot Springs Relic I. Heat activated processes, free motion embroidery, hand stitching and beading. Click on image to enlarge.)

Hot Springs Relic I is loosely based on all the hexagonal shaped knobs .... like those in the Fordyce Bathhouse ... below!

(Above: Hot Springs Relic II. Click on image to enlarge.)

Hot Springs Relic II is based on some of the patterns on the DeSoto and the Indian Maiden sculpture in the Fordyce Bathhouse. Most of the original pattern from the upholstery material is obscured ... but it does have subtle impact, especially as a foundation color and texture.

(Hot Springs Relic II under the sewing machine. Click on image to enlarge.)

(Above: Hot Springs III. Click on image to enlarge.)

Hot Springs Relic III is based on the decorative hinges in the "Sweat Room" of the Fordyce Bathhouse. Below is a photo of these interesting "personal saunas". If you enlarge the image, you can clearly see the hinge! The little triangles and lines come from one of those large, schoolroom like clocks .... along the rim ... a line for each minute between the triangle marking every five.

(Above: Hot Springs Relic IV. Click on image to enlarge.)

Hot Springs Relic IV is loosely based on the mosaic tiled floor in the Fordyce Bathhouse lobby ... where I got to meet Denise Felton of Needlework/Craft Gossip and Anne Weaver who drove down from Little Rock while I was stitching in public! I am so honored!

The final piece I just "altered" with heat activated process!


Els said...

Oh Susan , all these Hot Spring Relics are true gems !!!!! Like multi coloured glass windows so bright and lively, LOVE them.
I wish I lived a "bit" nearer and could do a workshop with you !!
Do you use a heat gun or soldering-iron for this kind of work too ?

artymess said...

Susan these are so beautiful ......the colours are gorgeous ...x

Lynn Cohen said...

Hear me clapping loudly. Just scrumptious each and every one and every detail. Yes, you captured your relics beautifully.
Love that you share it all.
And enjoy the journal keeping. You will watch your own progress and drawing abilities grow.

Denise Felton said...

Wow! Our photo turned out great! And the honor was all ours, Susan, truly. You are just as much a joy in person as you are through your blog and your work. Thank you so much for sharing your time with us.


Wanda said...

Susan...I think you lied...I think you are really working 18-20 hours a day there! It is amazing to see your observations come to life in such awesome pieces! I hope your public sitting was successful ... and I was so thrilled to see that Denise Felton and Anne Weaver were there as well to see what you're doing in person! I thought it very interesting to hear that you are not "comfortable with drawing"...I really honestly thought that's how it all started! Your "weak skills"??? I'm still drawing stick didn't do that even when you were two! Well, I guess I learn something every day! Oh and by the way...I also learned what the heck they are talking about when they say "long and short stitch"...I just didn't get it until I read your email...I was only going to the drawn line. Of course I was. I NEVER go outside the lines.

lynda Howells said...

I agree with everything everybody has said and l will add the words..WOW to the pot.xxxlynda

Elizabeth said...

What an amazing post!!! Love how you shared your inspiration pieces with the finals!! BRILLIANT!!! Might you be convinced to teach HOT to a few of us here in the Burg next summer??? A very select few????

Do you need an assistant to carry your bags and bolts of wonder under and sewing machine in Key WEST??? I could be available!!
Big Hugs!!

Anonymous said...

you are an amazingly creative artist!
Thank you for sharing all your wonderful creations!