Sun Series #1

Sun Series #1

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Prep Work

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

Going Back In Order to Move Forward

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

Solar Winter?

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

"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

"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
and reinvented.
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

Studio "Crash" is Complete!!

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!