I don’t always plan out this much, or in such detail. I know things will migrate, mute, change, become more subtle or disappear.
It looks more complicated than it is.
It will be simpler when all the threads and fabrics translate the idea to form.
This is how we riff in this studio.
Original paint sketch above, below colour adjusted in photo edit program–if she were madder (HA! I mean the natural dye of course 🙂 )
And what if i “translated” her like one of the figures from “Tabula Memoria”?
but gave her a background like this?
and treated some of the shapes like this:
I can do this.
I was looking for something this morning in the studio, and in the photo archives, and realized i have inadvertently done a series of these. Based on my original pen and ink drawing from 1975 (!) (photo cropped because the other side has a drawn-by-an-angsty-18-year-old demon figure 🙂 ), apparently i’ve kept returning to it in my textile work.
This/these are what i’m looking for, as i have some more ideas in mind 🙂
And they involve Lac and Madder dyed fabrics from the recent dyepot adventures, and BLING.
Above, original drawing/painting from 2012, below work inspired by the sketch, started in the same year (!!!!):
(these 2 clickable for enlarging)
She still needs a few more stitches, and a name though…… As much as i love her, there’s been something holding me back with her, still undefined.
Playing a bit in photo editing (i use Irfanview, a free program and relatively easy to use), i put her into “negative” and got this lovely indigo surprise:
Now THAT gets my juices flowing. Any juice these days is appreciated. I’m still wavering mightily between giving it all up, and
scrabbling searching scraping probing studio and psyche for new work.
This necessitated buying some cheesecloth to supplement the harem cloth. Harem cloth is sheerer than most cottons, but not quite transparent enough to layer as i wanted for colour gradations. And i’m too tired these days to worry about purism, so i’m combining indigo dyed cotton , with some fabrics i dyed with commercial dyes as well. I’m using what i’ve got, in other words. I don’t see a lot of use with natural dyed threads either, by other artists, so ain’t gonna fret it. (Though i do have them in the shop….)
Those ***“commercial”dyes are quite pretty on these soft fabrics, cheesecloth left and top, harem cloth bottom right:
Need a few darker ones, as well as a dark indigo for the base, and then i can start laying out, and (probably 🙂 ) stitching at work.
***“Commercial” dyes in my books are everything from Tintex and Rit, to Procion, Pebeo silk dyes, Jacquard products, and other products that are usually predictable colour-wise for everyone.
Throw it and see if it sticks!
Not much happening by hand, but a lot of “research” has been on the table. I ordered a copy of a very old illustrated anatomy book “De Humani Corporis Fabrica/The Fabric of the Human Body” (much abridged and less annotated, as the actual book reprinted costs $1650US………..) Vesalius didn’t get it all right (dog parts anyone?), but my own copy fits the bill for inspiration. I do still love body parts in my own work 🙂
I found out about this book from an episode of either “Criminal Minds”, or “Cardinal” or something similar! Some serial killer had it on his coffee table…and that’s where i keep most of mine while perusing them 🙂
I also signed a great WHACK of textiles design books out of the library, not how to’s, but histories and pattern bases focusing on yardage. Intriguing how design in this field changes, re-occurs, cycles and reflects.
Since i am now dealing with heart issues (mild to moderate damage, so FIXABLE), i have returned to that part of the ol’ bag of bones, squidgy bits and blood we all wear. Inspired by the “electrical current” of the heart, i’ve also been painting and drawing and note making about this:
A very liberal depiction, but adequate for the task. More accurate below, though of course with science and art, there’s never a way to actually capture electricity naturally moving through a body!
It may be that none of these specifically will make it to cloth, but that black and red combo is really speaking to me again. (I keep remembering Raggedy Black Heart, and red used to feature quite often in my work, pre hand stitch obsession.) I have huge yardages of both in cotton, and have to venture into the back room to dig them out. I have 11tybajillion ideas, but know i am going to be sidetracked, (have in mind some functional objects as well) and that’s okay. I need to be doing something, and that’s all that counts. Maybe the art is there.
I had my Thalium heart test yesterday, and am keeping my hoofies crossed that the “mild to moderate damage” is more to the MILD side. I’m also giving a round of gold stars and hero biscuits to the tech who could actually find my vein for the IV without butchering my arm ( my veins really really hide but we discovered Left Arm is more co-operative..), the one who cheered me on at the treadmill and took graciously my blurted “well, fuck you” when she said she’d had *her* morning coffee (i’d had none since 630AM the day before, woe is me), the nuke crew member who got the thalium into the IV without me even noticing (!), and the one running the MRI who chortled when i screeched “WHAT?” when the machine told me to stop breathing. I don’t feel quite “normal” this morning, but given that up to a month after, you have to show paperwork that says what was done to you if you are travelling–don’t want to set off those security checks with radioactivity!—-i don’t feel too bad. The only visible sign of anything happening is the bruises on both arms from the blood pressure bands–kept telling them THAT hurt more than the IV! (Apparently Right Arm is the one that can have the dystolic heard!)
Obviously there are going to be some major life style changes made because of all this. I’m not a sloth, but neither have i been a cheetah!
In the annual purge that takes place in January, i found an old “mark making” journal. A period of mixed media and a lot of colour, it was my antidote to living and working in my MIL’s basement, a horrible place and situation in many ways. “Notes from Mother Nature” was made in October of 2008.
My “epiphany” is gelling, if indeed epiphanies do gel. Reflective searching thought, and research has led back to some ideas, but unless i actually start somewhere, nothing will take form. Simple, right? There are many many parts i wish to use again: the studio worktable is a jumble of sketches, fabrics, notes and paper scraps.
So, start small, because small can become big when the sum of the parts become the whole dance.
HA! It took me TWELVE YEARS to figure out here was something wrong with this sketch. At the time, i was quite concerned that i get the valves and tubes all facing the right way, (there was an actual, real life cardiac surgeon on the QuiltArt list in those days, who helped a lot), but what about the hands???? Who holds a heart like that (pre-supposing one could, and not as part of some nasty ritual 🙂 ) ?
It’s not the intended Next Big Thing, but a smaller part of the whole, perhaps a new “series”. Either that or a very intense sampling 🙂 The hands are done on a potassium permanganate/rust/brazilwood cotton from a residency, with naturally dyed threads used for the embroidery.
I’ve done some dyeing now for this particular design, both “potperm’ and cochineal with iron (I want deep purple, not fuschia), and have some logwood dyed cotton as well for bits. I’m torn between using an indigo with potperm background, or just potperm–or something else entirely different!— and have to decide reasonably soon so i can commence the rest of the work.
My sketchbooks would never be considered “art journals”, but that’s okay–they’re WORK books, not cheesed up multi media shows of virtuousity. (Yes, some of those are lovely, and for those who work primarily in painting/sketching/printmaking, perfect. Not so much however for those of us who “translate” to another medium!) And honestly, most of my notes, sketches etc, are actually loose sheets in an expandable folder from the dollar store. When i finish a project, i file them immediately. I have only once participated in a show where the “documentation” was intentionally part of the show. It’s interesting for some to see the process this way, but a lot of artists i’m sure would have a heck of a time “explaining” the linear progression of sketch to sample to work–because usually it’s all decidedly NOT linear 🙂
I have no desire to re-create precisely what is on the page. Work books are just that: lab samples, experiments, epiphanies and eurekas, cryptic notes and puzzled fumblings, shared only, and rarely, as part of the process, documentation that indeed, i did invent this. I have no need to pretty up the performance so i can wow somebody. Workbooks are gardens, the ideas are seeds in mysterious packets, and no one really knows what will pop up under the right–or wrong- conditions. My “back 40” is wild, unkempt, full of what others consider weeds, piles of branchy debris and bits i’m “saving”. (Much like the actual Back40 at The Stately Barr Manor……)
I think the planning for the “vision” for this one is going to take more work than normal. These are only snippets of ideas, like creating a mood board from scratch! Sometimes i do that, sometimes i don’t.
An old sketch that was used for two different pieces of work, has surfaced. (One and two.) This one has me quite fascinated again, not only that it helped create two totally different from each other works before, but that i can use it again, and it will be again completely unique to itself.
The river and sky colours keep attracting me, though i’m thinking of earth and a dusky sky now, rather than the clear blue of indigo. I have some logwood dyed fabrics that are astonishingly purple, but think i’m going to fire up some of the cochineal and iron again also, for the haremcloth.
I’m quite excited by the idea of this particular “hope it works, and hope it gets done” piece. I’m a bit scattered now, with Real Life issues that are Very Important to Deal with, but am planning some dedicated time with the whole process. I have no clear vision yet of the size, the whole, the techniques or the end result (!!!), but i know i AM on the right track.
(I have only ever ONCE taken sketch to textile interpretation “faithfully”, exactly as shown, pure luck that i had the fabrics to do it, and the stamp and stencil that started it. Heart stamp and crow stencil, my designs.)
I know i’ve started when the printouts, and the plans for the plans begin. I write all my meanderings on my private blog, with wild flights of fancy, because hey, ya never know what will connect, then slap all that in a dedicated sketchbook, and start colouring in the lines, way out of the lines, adding “patterns”, shapes and technique notes, and even more scribbled why nots. So far there are elements of several previous (finished) projects (Mother’s Heart, Nightmare Interrupted, Ebb and Flow, The Difference Between A Plum, unused Leighton work) and seeing how the interpretations fit together is where the fun, and the serious work, begins. I have the notes from those previous endeavours as well, and will riffle through them, slotting them in and out and away, as needed or rejected. It also makes it impossible then to “COPY” myself, as now there are Frankensteiny mishmashes happening!
I even have a title, though that will wait until some definite work has started.
This little bit has been stored in one of my sampling/”component” boxes since Jan 2013. It’s not the “thingness” of it that draws me, but the potassium permanganate dyed cheesecloth, and that wild stitching on its peripheries.
Though that stitching was done by machine, i don’t want to use Lalage again, bitch that she is, because she *is* a bitch to work with. (One of THE worst machines i’ve ever had…) After the work i did on the figures for TM, i now know that it is possible to tame the harem cloth enough to stitch, by putting it in bondage on a tapestry style embroidery frame. (Never say never though…) I can do the stitching also pre or post dyeing, depending on the effect i want with the threads.
I’ve decided to start the intended Redux project with some sampling for hearts a la “Mother’s Heart”. Off to the potassium permanganate vat in the Dye Dungeon!
I find myself unable to just sit, and think. Or not think. I have to accept that sometimes my mind *is* in low drive, for whatever reason, but i’m also one of those who *have* to keep my hands busy, so i’ve turned to “finishing” small things that have sat around for aeons.
At times like this, i often look to old work, whether sketch or textile, and found two small bits that were based on a 1975 pen and ink. The first is a little happier than the original at least! A bit to do in the top corner and maybe off to a new home for someone?
All naturally dyed threads again (some in the shop), and approximately 5×7″. I cropped the original below, sparing you the other portion of the teen angst sketch it was then 🙂
A smaller one (also still being worked on):
That figure was also on “How the Light Bends”, the piece that was accepted for the SDA “Materialities” conference/exhibit in 2015, so she’s been around the block a few times.
However……these have led to this:
I dipped some of this treasured “lace” in potassium permanganate, and being a nylon base , it soaked it up. (I think it’s nylon, i know it’s definitely NOT a natural fibre, but it’s had pieces dyed in brazilwood, indigo and walnut and they all “took”! Some nylons will take up some natural dyes.) I’ve been eking out this fabric for 6 years now, and will be quite bereft when it’s gone. I found it at the local thrift shop, a shower curtain cover, and it’s almost a signature fabric. (Now that i think of it, why couldn’t i make my own with a sheer and some soluble???) I started stitching on this (other than the outline), and have decided already to rip out what i did!
This figure was also the basis for work on “Tabula Memoria”:
I don’t really do well with abstract, or fields of just colour or just shape, so i think the figures will be on the worktable for awhile. They’re easy to read, fundamental to most viewers for interpretation and even when the same, *not* the same. (And i’m still looking for the blue figure from the previous post, in a “safe spot” no doubt, just like my wedding ring which i lost last week…)
And i need to do some self directed workshops again 🙂 Quite frankly, i seem to be repeating myself–and i don’t mean the re-iterations above! I’ve let go by the wayside the experiments, making mistakes and messes, and throwing things together in serendipitous mixes. Every day now i have a moment of “i’m not doing this anymore”……….
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