I recently visited a friend in the fair city of Guanajuato, GTO Mexico – I have been there before and in fact posted in this blog about that trip as well. This visit was a bit different as life-altering experiences had emerged in my recent past, as well as that of my friend. As a result, we both set out with the intention of sewing the seeds of rejuvenation. It really became a launch of the essence of “re” – a return, revisiting, renewal, reinvigoration, revitalization, restoration, revisiting and review on the way toward a new point of beginning. Signs and signals, resources and connections began and continue to be revealed to both of us as we progress through this new terrain.
My images from this trip varied but seemed to have a decidedly architectural focus, especially where roof/facade and sky meet. I was also understandably attracted to the many templos (churches and cathedrals) which populate the religious landscape of Guanajuato (Gto). The architectural residue of a bye-gone colonial era is enriched with structural and superficial decay, but these buildings endure – maybe that was a metaphor taking hold. Even in cases where the buildings have been renovated or “restored” with a nod to another era’s sensibilities, their original presence does not fade. I realize in retrospect that this was a profound symbol of solidity and grounding after a year of standing on shaky ground. In any case, these buildings are essential landmarks which give the entire State of Guanajuato its character, along with the many-colored domiciles stacked on the slopes surrounding the city’s natural structural essence – that of river valley. Indeed, when I arrived, the rainy season had just begun and the imperative of the geographic low point repeatedly asserted itself during my trip as flooding from recurring thunderstorms regularly inundated parts of the city. Of course, the rain also brought a renewal of a green, lush landscape latent during months of seasonal drought in this high desert region.
Rain notwithstanding, I was pleased that we were able to make it outside to see art and eat excellent food, including the most moist and delicious tamal I have ever tasted (thanks to, my sincere apologies to vegetarians, lard). ¡Nos veremos en el futuro, sin duda, Guanajuato! For a slightly different perspective on the trip, visit my wearable site’s journal.
This past weekend I facilitated another “nuno-felting” workshop. The experienced participants had room to spread out in this workshop so it was possible to work with a larger-than-usual piece of cloth. Keeping the palette fairly simple, the focus of this session was on a few basic surface design elements: the dot, the line, and the circle. 3 ideas, executed within the same format (base dimensions & materials), resulted (of course!) in 2 very different surface design solutions – each having its own distinct character. Here are a some images:
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:
This past weekend I facilitated the first Surface Design Workshop at Studio Mariposa.* This first level is essentially an introduction to using thickened fiber-reactive dyes on cloth. I kept the palette very simple but the results were just amazing! It was a really inspiring weekend for all of us. What follows are photographs of the work at different stages. They are fairly chronological, i.e., the stages leading up to and including removal of the work from the table for setting are first, followed by the presentation (and discussion). The last images are of my demo pieces, both discharge and positive prints. Click on any image to launch the larger format viewer.
*SD 1 & 2 go together. The work will continue in the next level workshop scheduled for mid-August. I will be scheduling a new round in the Fall. If you’re interested, please contact me so I can keep you apprised of the dates.