Monday, May 8, 2017
rusted and stained paper with Tulip Tree leaves and stitching
In preparation for my upcoming Rust, Bleach, Burn and Stain class at the Morgan Conservatory (www.morganconservatory.org) in August I have been working with these processes and having some fun!
The rusted bits came from some cans that my husband found in the desert in Arizona
when he was out there last fall.
The staining is from some loose tea that made this great bluish color.
The leaves are from out Tulip tree. I love the decayed and fragile nature of them.
And I did the stitching with the thread I solar dyed in February. The blue color of the thread came from black bean water. Who knew? Well, I am sure those who do a lot of natural dyeing know, but it was a surprise to me.
As I write this it is interesting to realize the geography and chemistry involved in this piece.
Cans that have been rusting in the Arizona sun and sand.
The natural decay of the leaves in my own back yard.
The effect of heat and organic matter on cotton thread.
A true display of Alchemy.
This piece will be in the Morgan's Instructor's show later this summer.
Thursday, May 4, 2017
From the "Farmscape Series"
May Week 2
Yesterday, the first of Grandma's poppies opened up!
Last year the poppies weren't so plentiful and I was worried that they had run their course
and were on the decline. But as you can see there are more in the background and
lots more around the corner. Lots more than last year.
This artwork is from my Farmscape Series when I created one artwork each week for a
year (2012) representing the changes on our farm.
This one is a favorite and is in my family room right now.
It is mixed media collage and measures about 13 x 15".
I love watching the seasons change and the way I can count on the rhubarb to come up early and the dogwood to bloom just as most of the daffodils are ending. The poppies are the first flowers to appear in the side garden announcing coming attractions: day lilies, peonies, coreopsis and black eyed susans.
Friday, April 28, 2017
"About a Girl"
encaustic collage on transparent paper
The images here show the transparency of this accordion fold book made on gampi (I think) paper.
Because the paper is so absorbent you can see the images on both sides.
The beauty of an accordion fold book is that it stands up and its' sculptural aspect allows the light to pass through the paper creating an ethereal effect.
Friday, April 21, 2017
Saturday, March 25, 2017
|"When Night Comes Before Day"|
11 x 14"
|"Quilt Study no. 1"|
8 x 10"
Sunday, March 12, 2017
|"Anonymous (times two)"|
mixed media collage on canvas
30 x 36"
I am having so much fun with this new series!
It is good to be working this large and combining media and techniques that I really have an affinity for...quilts, paint, paper, stitching, images of women.
Saturday, March 11, 2017
silk organza, plaster, wire
I feel fortunate to have a piece in this show celebrating women's creativity.
One of my "In Her Closet" pieces made the cut!
If you are in the Chicago area stop by and see the show.
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
mixed media encaustic and collage on paper
9 x 12"
Working with an image from a past artwork of a photographed sculpture made of an encausticized
canvas torso, I added paper collage elements, encaustic paint, thread, hooks and stitching to create this
small artwork for exhibit at Peter's Valley Craft Center (petersvalley.org) this summer in their Instructor's Exhibit.
I am so please to be teaching Encaustic on Paper at Peter's Valley this summer!
Friday, March 3, 2017
mixed media quilt and paint on canvas
30 x 36"
I have finished this piece using a vintage quilt and other collage elements on canvas.
I am pretty happy with it. This is the kind of look and feel I was aiming for several weeks ago when I started deconstructing two different blue quilts. It incorporates some pieces from both of the quilts along with a bit of imagery.
The title comes from the idea that the quilt I was repurposing was "anonymous"...I did not know who made it, how old it was, where is came from. Then I started thinking about the woman who made it and that she also was anonymous, at least to me, because the work was not signed, as is true of many older quilts.
The concept that I am developing with these deconstructed quilts is concerned also with the transience of identity. That a quilt in one form has one kind of identity. If I change that by taking it apart, changing the arrangement, adding and deleting elements, painting it and use an unexpected surface for my collaging, then the object becomes something else. It's identity becomes subject to all of the changes and rearrangements. I hope it still has emotional content, but the way in which it might now comfort someone is different from the way the original soft quilt did.
Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Original quilt from 1983
|Current state of Sunrise/Sunset as I reconstruct the original quilt into these squares|
So...since I feel free to deconstruct, cut up. take apart, reconstruct found quilts in order to make new art, I think it is only fair that I am do the same with my own old quilts.
The top picture is a detail of a quilt I made back in 1983 when I had been making contemporary quilts for about 4-5 years.
This quilt was made of commercial, mostly cotton fabrics. It was machine pieced and hand quilted by me.
Was it hard for me to cut it up?
Yes, a little. But I had done some other deconstructing of my own quilts, as well as favorite clothing when I was in graduate school. So doing this is not completely new to me. What seems to be harder for me is the deconstruction and cutting of the found quilts. I wonder about the maker, why it isn't signed, why it has been so neglected and uncared for, who owned it originally, was it made for a special occasion or just for necessity. All of these things make up the identity of that old piece and its maker.
At this point I have a clearer idea of what I want to do with the found older quilts than I do for this 34 year old quilt of my own making. So I have cut "Sunrise, Sunset" (what a corny title!) into these 3x3" piles of quilt blocks that are like little windows and that have some depth to them. I have about 55 of them right now and still have some of the quilt left.
My intention is to render the whole quilt into these squares and go from there.
So far the muse hasn't been in attendance for this project, meaning I don't know what will happen to these squares.
Meanwhile I am working on reconstructing and painting a found quilt that has more direction.
Sometimes it is good to have several things going at once.
There is a work-in-progress picture of the deconstructed found quilt on my instagram page: https://instagram.com/claremurrayadams
Thursday, February 23, 2017
mixed media collage on canvas
Another study using remnants of an older quilt work of mine along with paint, hand stitching and drawing.
I'm preparing a canvas for a larger piece using these same quilt remnants and paint...30x36".
Stay tuned, but give me some time.
When you make something 3 times the size it takes more than 3 times as long to finish.
Monday, February 20, 2017
This past week I spent some time reworking one of my own older quilt pieces. It was made up of a vintage quilt that someone in my family had made but never finished quilting because they used the wrong batting and backing. Too hard to stitch! I added more stitching, some polaroid transfers that I was doing at the time and left lots of the batting showing. Thought I was being rather daring!
The piece spent several years in a friend's book store where is got a lot of sun causing it to fade, which looks kind of cool, adding another dimension to the identity of this piece.
I have taken it apart and am using the various sections in new work. The piece at the top is the first one I made and the piece at the bottom is where I am right now with this transformation. The more abstract piece in the lower view is where I wanted to go when I started. There are 3 or 4 other pieces in between these 2, so you can see it took a while to get here.
I am hoping to push this painted and stitched fabric idea further and make it larger.
A few posts ago when I started deconstructing quilts I titled the post "Remnants of a Another Life". Looks like I am returning, revisiting that former life again with all of the stitching and use of quilts.
Hopefully I am moving forward into new creative territory.
Friday, February 17, 2017
|Jars of kitchen food items that are dyeing crochet cotton in 40 degree weather in Ohio!|
|From left to right: tea leaves, instant coffee, red onion skins, and 2 jars of black bean soaking water.|
|The tea and coffee dyes. You can see the spool of crochet cotton in the one on the left.|
Dyeing fabric with natural materials is not new to me.
But doing it the slow way, with the sun as the heating element is.
I read about solar dyeing in "Slow Stitch" by Claire Wellesley-Smith although I have known about using the sun to heat up dyes for a long time.
The whole Slow Stitch process has impressed me as I work with the old quilts I am deconstructing. While taking apart someone else's work seems destructive on one hand, I feel that I am preserving the work and the process that went into the work by the way I am revealing the back of the quilt blocks, the batting, the remaining stitches, the torn and deteriorated fabrics.
Taking apart a quilt is a slow process. Not as slow as the initial making of it, but kind of a delicate and even intimate process. Reconstructing the quilts as I am doing brings into question the identity of that object. Is it still a quilt or is it another art form? Or something else entirely.
I feel that incorporating some solar dyed crochet cotton will add a sense of the current time period because I am dyeing them now, but also add an element of "slow" to the overall process as it will take 10 days or more to dye the threads.
Using the threads as I stitch by hand is also part of the meditative and repetitive process that I have always found so appealing about quilting and hand stitching.
It is good for me to slow down.
I have always been a multi-tasker and some one who has lived by the clock.
Time is so important to me...having enough of it to make art, while also doing all of the other things that I want to do each day, every day.
Both the deconstructing of the quilts and the hand stitching have caused me to really think about my process and my art from a new perspective. I know I have touched on several ideas here. I am just beginning to really hone in on the idea of time and how it affects my work.
I need more meditative hand stitching time to really sort it all out.
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
|"Deconstructed Yellow Quilt"|
mixed media fabric and collage on canvas
24 x 48"
This work and the piece in the previous post (Remnants of Another Life) are about how the identity of an object, in this case a quilt, changes when it is deconstructed or reworked in some way. The yellow quilt that I used for both pieces has been transformed into another artwork that is perceived more as a painting than as a quilt.
Materials for this piece include the quilt, acrylic paint, gesso, shellac, burlap, plaster, a few pieces of vintage linens with hand and machine stitching. I used the reverse side of the quilt, taking it apart so that the batting is revealed in the areas where it did not pull completely away from the quilt top. I also used the reverse side of the stretched canvas which calls into question the identity of a painting. One might react to my using a vintage quilt in this way. And I get that. But I am also working on deconstructing some of my own contemporary quilts so I feel like I am being fair in my questioning of the identity of objects...some older pieces and some of my own handiwork.
Saturday, February 4, 2017
|"Remnants of Another Life"|
mixed media collage and painting on canvas
30 x 40"
This is the last large work I did in 2016.
It is comprised of a vintage yellow and white quilt that had embroidered squares.
The deconstructed quilt takes on a new identity in this form.
The idea of quilt that we easily recognize is challenged.
Doing the work itself was quite challenging.
I have some remnants of this yellow quilt left and am at work on a second piece
where the quilt is deconstructed
I did some deconstructed work when I was in graduate school and want to return to the thinking and conceptualizing that pushed me to create work that offers alternative realities of an object's usual connotation.
Friday, February 3, 2017
Here is my new studio table! It is at a height so I can walk around it and work on large pieces.
No more working on the floor! Yeah!
This view shows the painting and collaging area on the left. The area beyond the new high table is for encaustic painting. My printing press is in the foreground.
It has been over 12 years since I've had a sewing table that was at the right height.
This is the sewing area with most of my fabrics in that cube shelving unit.
The thread, notions, etc. are in the unit to the right of the sewing machine.
And my very favorite space saving element is this under-a-counter rack for storing my framed artworks. Thanks Joe Martino for this idea and John for helping me select and install this.
Previously this space held various materials and supplies. I got rid of a lot of things that I no longer use or want to use. Some things went to the Goodwill, some to the church rummage sale, some things I sold and some had to go to the trash. But having the art under the table freed up the top of this counter for another working space.
Yes, I still have a lot of stuff in a small space.
But it is all organized.
I have been working this past week on the new table and using the sewing machine.
So far, so good.
It was worth the whole month it took me to do this.
Now, it is back to the business of art making!
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
This is my studio!
What a mess!
I've promised myself for a couple of years to pair down.
Get rid of stuff.
Organize what I want to keep.
Have specific areas for each media...painting and collage, encaustic, and sewing.
And, of course, I have lots of finished art that needs to be stored.
So to that end I have been sorting stuff, donating stuff and throwing out stuff.
It doesn't look like any progress has been made in these photos, but with this kind of cleaning it always gets worse before it gets better.
Please tell me it will get better!
Thursday, January 12, 2017
mixed media on paper
I really do not like to leave my work untitled.
So I am still working on a title for this piece.
This is a different color palette for me with the aqua and gold.
Still working at loosening up.
There are some nice subtleties going on here with drawing overtop of drawing.
Some days it comes more easily than others.
Also searching for some basis in concept for these small collages.
They are not tied together by color, that's for sure.
So far it is size and the use of basic geometric shapes that is the unifying element.
Monday, January 9, 2017
mixed media collage on paper
How mixed media is my work?
Almost always more than 2 media.
Here's the list for this piece:
pen and ink
Saturday, January 7, 2017
|"Four Part Harmony"|
mixed media collage on paper
Fourth in a series that I hope will have 100 works on paper that all measure 8x10".
So far everything is vertical. Not sure if I will go horizontal or not.
Probably should as vertical is my default mode of working.
This piece has a section of a vintage quilt on it, along with paper, other fabric and a piece of canvas.
Trying to stay abstract without any representational images.
So far so good.
Thursday, January 5, 2017
|"The Games People Play"|
mixed media collage on paper
Second in a series that I hope will be 100 artworks done on paper.
In this piece I feel that I worked very intuitively and really right from the gut.
Didn't have a plan.
Didn't have a concept in mind.
That is often where I struggle. I like to have an idea where I am going.
But that is the whole point of this series.
Make work that is part play and part experimentation.
Layer, hide and reveal.
Like little secrets.
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
|"Hiding From Winter"|
mixed media on paper
Mixed media work and collage are my default settings.
As much as I want to draw and paint, I feel most comfortable and feel I make my best work
when I can use lots of materials and when I can collage materials to a substrate whether that be
paper, canvas, wood or fabric. Even my assemblages are done in this way.
How then do I grow as an artist?
I don't want to just repeat a familiar and comfortable technique.
I want to use this way of working as a springboard and go beyond what I am so familiar with doing.
The challenge to myself in the new year is to see if I can take collaging and mixed media to a place
that is less comfortable or easy but getting results that I am happy with. Results that feel like
growth and a new place.
To this end I want to use unexpected materials. This piece for example has plaster on it
to create some textures. It is risky to use plaster on paper as it is prone to cracking and flaking off.
In contrast to using unexpected materials I want to use the "normal" collage materials in unexpected ways.
Layering is always an important aspect to my work. I want to continue that but raise the bar
on the way I layer or the kinds of materials I use to layer the work.
It is good to commit to paper some of these ideas before and throughout my working process.
It keeps me thinking. It keeps me honest.
Articulating the ambiguousness of the process makes it more concrete.