Hello all! Relieved once again that it’s Spring? I have been in the studio or at the drawing board most of the Winter and work is beginning to emerge. Included in that work are felted interior textiles and artworks, artwear from the petal-una collection (original designs made with hand-dyed/printed & discharged cloth), and 2-d work (more on that later). Also in the mix: I finally started my organic indigo vat in February (yay!). Although, I have been distracted by other dye work in recent weeks, the vat has been maintained and is patiently awaiting my return. I did recently take some time to make a rice flour paste resist. It was labor-intensive and the paste didn’t hold up past the first dip…but the results were gratifying. Although the rice paste resist resulted in some beautiful subtleties, I am planning on working with the gum-Arabic resist I learned from Catharine Ellis last Summer at Arrowmont – my experience demonstrated that the gum paste holds up better in the vat (i.e., 2 dips were possible, yielding a more intense indigo).
4 months until the ACC/San Francisco Show!!!….things are progressing there and I will be blogging more about that in the future but first, back to the petal-una collection – my show of that work and a sneak preview of the ACC work is on Saturday, May 3rd. Mark your calendars!
I have been nursing a bit of a cold… and since my studio temperature can hover at 55 degrees (really!) during the coldest days of winter, I have been resisting the urge to busy myself at the felting table until I am 100%. In the meantime, I continue my sketch process (along with various internet-related tasks). This recent batch of sketches are all in ink, all slightly toned with chalk. Feeling for the groove – ink is demanding but inviting; still, I cannot resist overlaying it with the tone and loose, almost gestural mark from chalk. The paper is part of a cheap, acid-free, mixed-media sketch pad/98 lb, mildly toothy. Probably need to graduate to better paper….I have acquired some and it is patiently waiting for me to “grow up.”
One of the things I decided to start doing this year was renew a commitment to daily drawing and sketching. To that end, I humbly offer a new series in this blog: “The Weekly Sketch,” featuring scanned (and unadulterated) excerpts from my 2014 sketchbook.
They aren’t finished works; they are process pieces – the byproduct of my daily commitment to the page, which I feel keeps me loose and open to creative possibilities in and out of the studio. Essentially, they are meditations on surface and texture, a means of rendering my mind’s-eye more porous and receptive to information which might serve me later. General Info: The subjects vary – sometimes I work from images, sometimes from life; many of the examples are gestural or loose renderings, some are more detailed. The media and tools vary as well – brush and ink, technical pen; pencil, pastel; and who knows what else may turn up in the future. Many of these examples also reflect the use of a new tool for me: a digital stylus and graphic interface which I use now for a lot of my surface design studies – it’s easy to stay loose without having to worry about committing a line to a piece of paper – also easier to erase if something doesn’t work! I allow myself an hour to an hour-and-a-half for each session, no more. The time limit keeps me from getting too deep; and although that often means I can’t finish (or over-work) what I’ve started, I have honored the commitment to the daily practice. After that, I’m off to the computer or the felting/print table, the sewing machine, or wherever the Work next requires my presence!
I’ve been working on some printed cloth to incorporate into soon-to-be-revealed petal-una pieces. These are floating print layers and are one-of-a-kind pieces, each having a life of its own. I am always on the look-out for what I feel are perfect confluences of pattern and color in whatever surface design work I’m up to – these confluences will often become the subject of further image and pattern development. Here are lightly embellished “portraits” of some of these recent discoveries:
I have been experimenting with botanical extracts and I am completely hooked….I have already fabricated some wearables from these goods (images soon) and I feel so energized! Full circle and returning to my plant roots! (Addendum 8.8.2013: My enthusiasm for these early encounters with natural dyes have been tempered slightly following the recent workshop at Arrowmont with Catharine Ellis but I feel no less energized!)
madder with indigo, chestnut overlay before rinse/dry
the proverbial indigo dyepot
barely out of the pot!
madder, logwood & indigo blends fresh from dyepot
indigo, madder-chestnut blend after rinsing/drying
indigo, logwood & madder blends after rinsing/drying