Friday, May 31, 2013

Works in progress

(Above:  At Quilt National, my piece, Circular churchyard, and me.  Photo by Rhoda Taylor.  Click on any image in this blog post to enlarge.)

A week ago today Steve and I drove to Athens, Ohio for the opening of Quilt National 2013.  I blogged about it after our return, HERE, mentioning that I'd totally forgotten to snap a photo of my piece, Circular Churchyard, and didn't remember to get one of me in front of it either.  Well, my friend, Rhoda Taylor, took the photo above!  Thank you Rhoda!  It was a WONDERFUL exhibition and I am so proud to have work in this show.
(Above:  Storm by Dianne Firth of Australia.  Photo by Linda Teufel.)

I also wrote that I didn't snap a photo of one of my favorite pieces hanging in Quilt National 2013, Storm by Dianne Firth of Australia.  Yet, Linda Teufel did take just the photo I wanted.  It shows the unique shadow cast by the two layers of netting with encapsulated red felt "raindrops".  I'm "into" the notion of shadows ... working on a grid of anonymous, vintage photos.  Just scroll down to see what I'm talking about!  

(By the way, Linda Teufel is the founder of Dragon Threads, the company who published the beautiful, hardbound Quilt National 2013 catalog ... which can be ordered from the website.  Linda's blog post about Quilt National includes great images from the show!  Click HERE to read it!)

Of course, my blog post prior to the one about Quilt National is about my solo show, Decision Portraits, at Vision Gallery in Chandler, Arizona.  So, one might think that I'm just flitting around the country and not stitching anything.  Far from the truth!  I'm WORKING ... A LOT!

(Above:  Another Grave Rubbing Art Quilt featuring late 18th century motifs from tombstones in Charleston's Circular Churchyard.)

First, while flying out to Arizona and back, I started the seeding stitches surrounding a grave rubbing made on the same day as the ones on my Quilt National accepted piece, Circular Churchyard.  After I made the one, giant whole cloth rubbing, I made several others ... including this one.  I finished the self-guided, free-motion machine embroidery around all the brown crayon rubbing months ago.  The entire background will be covered in dense seeding stitch ... a perfect thing to do on a plane ... and also during the car ride to and from Athens, Ohio.

(Above:  Detail of the work in progress.)

I absolutely love the texture and glow when stitching on silk!  I still have hours to go.  This is also a perfect piece to stitch upon while attending my favorite local auction house or in front of the television.

(Above: Stained Glass XXXVIII, first layer of polyester stretch velvet with WonderUnder on recycled, black acrylic felt.)

As soon as I returned from Athens, I had to get into my studio ... because I got a commission!  The last, large "Stained Glass" piece I made was sold during my show at Ellen Taylor Interiors earlier this month.  The client who bought it needed a companion.  Hence, a commission.  Above is the first layer of polyester stretch velvet fused with WonderUnder (Bond-a-Web) to a large piece of recycled, black acrylic felt.

(Above:  Stained Glass XXXVIII in progress ... ready for self-guided, free-motion machine embroidery.)

By Wednesday, I had added several more layers of cut shapes and a multi-colored overlay of chiffon scarves.  It was ready to stitch ... using only black, 100% cotton thread.

 (Above:  Stained Glass XXXVIII, ready to melt.)

By Thursday, I finished the stitching and stapled the work to a wooden stretcher bar.  Wearing my ventilator, I was ready to be banished to the garage for the "melting phase".  Out there, I poke holes with two sizes of soldering irons and will ... later today ... melt it out with a heat gun.  Next will come the framing and the client should have delivery by this time next week!

 (Above:  Unbelievable polyester stretch velvet ... tiger stripes!)

I use A LOT of polyester stretch velvet.  A year ago, I limited myself to whatever I could find in thrift stores and commercial fabric shops.  Now, however, I found some really wonderful/hideous patterns and colors on-line.  My color selection has increased ... and we've had a great laugh wondering what other people actually do with some of these dreadful fabrics!  (Okay ... here in South Carolina, I can actually imagine some young Clemson fan wearing an 80s-style pantsuit made from this tiger print ... but I'd still laugh!)

(Above:  Charity, my last studio assistant pointing to a portrait Pete Holland painted of her.)

I also use A LOT of painted WonderUnder.  All my "In Box" and "Stained Glass" pieces require yards and yards of it.  Some needs to be painted with light washes of very watered down acrylic paint.  This is a task I generally have a studio assistant do.  Unfortunately, my last studio assistant, Charity, got a job in Virginia and is moving.  Charity regularly posed for the life drawing and portrait painting group that meets in the Columbia Museum of Art.  She worked for me four hours a week.  The last thing I had her do was paint two bolts of WonderUnder.  I hope it lasts until I find and train a replacement!

(Above:  Anonymous, vintage photographs being attached to Stitch-and-Tear.)

I was particularly sad to see Charity go because I had another "big project" in mind for her help.  I've been thinking about it for months ... writing about it on my "Morning Pages" (an exercise from Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way ... which I still faithfully do nearly every morning) ... and even dreaming about the shadows I intend to cast by creating a giant grid of old photos to be suspended/hung about six or so inches in front of a wall.  I finally did a "trial" piece and blogged about it on May 13th.  

All these old photos were first fused to fabric.  Next, Charity and I cut all the photos out ... basically leaving each photo with an unseen fabric backing.  The photos were then attached to Pellon's Stitch-and-Tear ... using just a dab of glue.  Finally, all the paper Stitch-and-Tear was removed ... leaving a grid of photos.  The experiment so a total success ... so I started making more.  These small "grids of photos" will later by attached to one another, but, for now, I'm left tearing away all the paper.  It is tedious.  This process takes a long, long time.  I really wanted another studio assistant!

(Above:  Steve, the new and very "happy" studio assistant ... removing Stitch-and-Tear from the back of a grid of photos.)

So ... I recruited my husband Steve!  He's always been my biggest fan, best supporter, and constant companion.  He's never been a studio assistant though ... but he agreed to help pull the Stitch-and-Tear from the grids of photos and ...

...sweep up all the tiny pieces of paper every morning.  This is how we've been spending our evenings in front of the television.  I think there are about 25 to 30 small girds of photos.  This might take awhile but I can't wait to turn them into one, giant piece ... and hang it so that it cast a shadow on a wall behind them!

I still believe what I wrote on May 13th:  I envision this future piece being at least 5' in height and 10' in length.  The large size will create a sense of impact, a subtle suggestion of all the many people whose images are unknown.  The space between the future piece and the wall is important.  It will allow the grid of photos to physically occupy an area "in front of" the wall ... as opposed to the area "on the wall".  The grid of photos will be like a transparent curtain, something between the present and the past ... casting a shadow.  It is going to be GREAT!  (Okay ... very labor intensive but GREAT!  At least in my mind!)

(Above:  A stack of sized mat boards waiting for me to cut them.)

It would be great just to work on my art all day, every day ... but I also have "work work" to do ... and this is the stack of mat boards waiting for my attention.

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

1 comment:

Martha Ginn said...

Sorry I'm so late in reading this. Congratulations on the QN piece! The first time I saw your work it was a small grave rubbing, and this large one is a real jaw-dropper. I'm glad you have Shadow and Steve to help you.