Sunday, September 06, 2009

Fun with an air pen

Summer is pretty much over, so sad. How come summer goes by so more quickly than winter???? I'm working on a new piece for a New Image group show. It's about 60"L x 48" W. The background piece is composed of gelatin plate prints with black-eyed susan leaves spaced more or less in a grid. I inked up the plate, put the leaf on top with the vein side up, then rolled the leaf with more ink. The fabric took up the ink on the plate but from the leaf only the veins made an impressions and the surrounding areas were left white. When the piece of fabric was completed covered with the monoprints, I decided there was way too much white for this to be a background fabric, and went over the white areas with pale washes of blue or purple or green. Much better, everything settled down. Then a little yellow for interest. The picture here is of the practice piece. I also have another piece of fabric that has the second imprints off the gelatin plate after I took the leaf off. The background color was mostly gone but under the leaf there was still enough paint for a good print. So I have companion fabrics that could easily become another piece.

My idea for the foreground was a large drawing of a fading coneflower. I used a picture I took several years ago and used one of the filters in Photoshop Elements to get the outlines. Since I wanted the drawing to be big, about 36" long, it wouldn't work to make a thermofax screen. The air pen seemed to be the (more or less) logical solution. I could print the drawing out onto several sheets of paper, tape them together, and then trace them onto fabric with the air pen. My last experience with the air pen was an exercise in frustration. I was using it to write out words and wasn't happy with the little blots and stuff I was getting when starting and stopping. And the scraping of the metallic point on the fabric was like fingernails on a chalkboard. This time I used one of the plastic points, which is a bit larger in diameter, but doesn't scrape along the fabric. And the little blots didn't detract from the drawing enough to bother me. So this experience was a whole lot more positive than the previous one.

Now I have these two pieces of fabric and am mulling over how I'm going to put them together. Right now the coneflower piece is rectangular, sort of, but I think it would be more interesting if I cut it to follow the shape of the flower and then sew it onto the background. After quilting I may rub some paint or paintsticks onto areas of the flower to emphasize them, but that's a ways off. I can think about it as I'm quilting and then decide if it needs it or not.

Yesterday I went to the opening of the National Juried Quilt Show at the Delaplaine Visual Arts Center in Frederick, Maryland. This is a very nice art center in a very nice town about 40 miles west of Baltimore, right off Interstate 70. The show has 32 quilts in it and was juried by Karen Bresenhan, of Quilts, Inc. Many of the artists in the show, including me, have 2 or 3 pieces hanging, which is really nice because you can get a better idea of the artist's work when there are several pieces. There were prizes awards - best traditional quilt, best art quilt, best of show. There was really only one traditional quilt in the show, which of course won the prize, but this quilt would have won a prize even if there had been competition. Before the prizes were awarded, I picked the art quilts I thought might win (I mean besides mine), and picked out two. Obviously, the prize committee disagreed because they selected different pieces. The art quilt they selected is the one pictured on the link to the show.


Twila Grace said...

The air pen piece is quite interesting. I was surprised to hear that it was hand-made. I think that it, and others like it, has good potential for integration into a fabric work. Very nice.

Rayna said...

hmmm...I'll be interested to see how this piece turns out.

Shirley said...

I am fascinated with the air pen and what you have done with it. I have not seen these pens but I am going to look for one. I will continue to look at your blog as it is inspiring to me. Keep it up.

I read an article you wrote in Quilting Arts so I had to look at your work.