Saturday, May 31, 2008

First results

Here are some results of the first DSP session. Some of these pictures are blurry, sorry about that. I should know better. This first piece started as a pale yellow fabric, which you can still see in the areas between the screened stuff and in the blocked out area of the centers. I'm getting some good edges here.

This is construction fencing. The base fabric was a pale purple and the dye paste was a dark purple. Excellent edges here.

Base fabric might be pale blue or green, I don't remember. The print paste was brushed onto the screen with a paintbrush in no particular design, so it just makes an interesting texture as it deconstructs.

The background fabric was a definite orange-y low water dye piece. The screen was red print paste in a scribble with a curved tip syringe. The first pulls produced pretty faint outlines but they became much more obvious as the line began to deconstruct. Very interesting images here.

This last image is of a piece with the print paste still on. It hasn't been washed. I want to be able to compare the before and after to see how much disappears during the washout process. This started as white fabric. I used two different screens and then covered most all of the fabric with a goldish wash. I suspect that the wash color will nearly disappear.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Makin' Fabric

I'm devoting the next two and a half weeks to deconstructed screen printing. I plan to take this fabric to QSDS and use it in the class I'm taking, a Master Class with Sue Benner. The class lasts nine days. I think I will be exhausted.

I spent the past weekend (in between doing Memorial Day Weekend stuff) soda soaking fabric that I pulled from my stash. For this session all the fabric I'm using will already have a color on it. This will introduce another factor into my dye color choices. I think I have about 30 yards of fabric ready to print (but that's just a wild guess). I strung up a clothesline outside to dry the fabrics so I wouldn't have to wipe up dripping soda ash from the basement floor. It was very colorful.

I also mixed up some print paste using Prochem's premix. I used this last summer and had a problem with the print paste rewetting on the screens and oozing. So far I haven't had that problem; I guess that's the difference between May and August. Once again I have probably overdone it on the amount of dye to use - I have 13 little dye pots - several reds, several yellows, several blues, and grey and black (which I probably will barely use.) It's not possible for me to resist all the different colors.

Last night I prepared the screens and this morning I used them. Right now the fabric is wrapped in black plastic and batching in the sun. The sun is getting low and behind the trees and they've been batching for at least 5 hours so I think it's okay to rinse them out tonight. I'm eager to see what I get.

When I was ready to begin creating the screens I had a mental blank - couldn't remember all the different methods I had used in Kerr's class and in later sessions. Spent a while hunting up my notes which once I found them turned out to be rather sparse. My friend Linda in Belgium and I traded notes last summer as we were both doing dsp so I read those also. It turns out that she's working on a new technique right now so we're trading notes again. I'm not going to describe what she's doing because it's for an article in Quilting Arts.

I also have Kerr's DVD on DSP and I think I'll review that also. I'll post some pictures when I get some results.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Week of Meetings

The last seven days have been chock full of meetings. Regular meetings of the second Tuesday, second Wednesday, and third Friday all fell in the same week. Then there were the special meetings on Saturday and yesterday. I think I've put nearly 500 miles on my car in the past week because only one was close by. Two were in other states even. And I even opted out of another meeting that also fell on the second Tuesday. And everything was fiber related. Am I crazy?

Can't answer that particular question, but I think it's important to be connected to other people when I spend so much solitary time in my studio. It's great to see what other people are doing and to hear about their successes and failures. We can share resources and techniques and explore new friendships. I know that I am introverted and can have a difficult time making new friends and so going to these meetings is important.

I received notice the other day that two of my pieces were selected for the regional SAQA show Amazing Art Quilts to be held at the Augusta Arts Center in Staunton, Virginia. The entry for this show was a throwback: they only accepted slides. So when the return letter arrived I could feel the envelope and knew that there were slides enclosed, and it seemed like all 6 (3 full and 3 detail) were still in the envelope. Made me hesitate to open it - I mean, who likes rejection? But when I unfolded the accompanying letter and it began 'Congratulations' I looked at the slides. They kept the full shots for the 2 accepted pieces and returned the details.

These are the pieces. The first is Summer Solstice and is a big piece - 69" long and 42" wide. It is a former Quilt National reject.

The second piece is Ventanas: Reflections and is a former SDA Members show entry, which means it's 52" long by 18" wide and is double sided. I don't have a picture handy of the reverse side. The background is whole cloth painted and then screen printed with 'window' images. The foreground is appliqued strips to form more window imagery. I like this window imagery. I should more of it.

Today I plan to spend lots of time in the studio and also get to the gym. I've missed my normal workouts because of these meetings and it makes me crazy.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Public Forum

Last Saturday was the Public Forum at Maryland Art Place. The nine artists, two writers, and one curator sat at a not-quite-long enough table and responded to questions from the moderator. In my previous post I mentioned some of the questions and I'm pleased to say that I was able to speak up and not sound like an idiot (at least I don't think I did.) The audience had wonderful things to say about the art and several people told me directly how much they enjoyed my pieces. For a review of the forum and some pictures, visit the BMoreArt blog.

I haven't posted many pictures lately so here is a little treat. The azaleas are in full bloom in Baltimore and it's the climax of the spring blooming season, in my opinion. These are in my back yard and I wish the blooms lasted longer than did.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Fabulous new book

I purchased a copy of Martha Sielman's new book Masters: Art Quilts while at the SAQA conference last month. It just arrived and it's a fabulous book. Each of the 40 artists has 10 pages devoted to her or his works, all in full glorious color. I'm thrilled to be able to say that several of my friends are included in this book, so at least I'm associating with the right people. You can purchase it through Amazon or directly from SAQA. It's cheaper through Amazon, but if you purchase it through SAQA, Martha will autograph the book and 55% of the purchase price is dontated to SAQA.

Friday, May 02, 2008

It's May already

I feel as if I haven't posted in months, but it's only been 2 weeks. That's bad enough. Yesterday I finally got back onto my sewing machine and I know I haven't done that for a month. Trying to account for my time I come up with a weekend retreat, the SDA/SAQA Conference and Workshop, a trip to Chicago, a fair amount of time trying to solve a technical problem for my current quilt, and an inordinate amount of time working on my web page. I have changed the look but the major work was in cleaning up the underlying code. There was a lot of useless and conflicting junk in there. I know enough about programming to make myself eternally frustrated.

Anyhow, in the course of my time in Chicago, where I spent several hours volunteering in the SAQA booth at the IQA show, I volunteered to become the SAQA area co-rep for my area. I know I have had some less than complimentary works about SAQA in the past, but in the past few years they have really gotten their act together. And I think that it's not right to continually complain about something and not do anything about it. So I could quit or I could volunteer. One of my complaints has been that in my area we never heard from our rep. So my goal is to be the kind of rep that I would have liked to have had.

I solved the technical problem on my current work, got it sandwiched and pinned, and started quilting on it yesterday. Ouch, my shoulders hurt today. I guess that month off was enough to get out of quilting shape.

Tomorrow is the Public Forum for the Critics' Residency Program that I'm in at the Maryland Art Place. You can see several of my pieces in the picture of the gallery. I received a list of discussion questions so that I can think about what to respond.

A few of the questions: "What is the role of titles in your work? Are they a necessary evil or do they anchor and frame your work in essential ways?" For me, titles are usually an afterthought. Since my work is abstract, the title may or may not impart a meaning. I tried numbering the series for a (short) while, but discovered that I needed actual names in order to keep track of what was what in my head. I have a database in which I keep all the pertinent information about a piece, but there isn't a picture attached. Even so, when I look at my list of quilts and try to figure out what's available to enter and what might be appropriate, a list of numbers just doesn't work very well.

The moderator wants to ask about the issue of figuration vs abstraction. The actual question: "is there an opposition between figuration and abstraction in terms of the philosophy each implies or do you see that as an old and irrelevant argument?" Somebody is going to have to first interpret the question for me, I think. Why do I do abstract work? I've never been really taken with people, especially faces, done in fabric. (Although I can't make that a hard and fast observation, because I have seen fabricated figures that I really like.) It seems that many fiber artists who do that strive for an exactness that is difficult to achieve with discrete pieces of fabric. The goal seems to be how close to a photographic image can they get. Doing that doesn't appeal to me at all and so perhaps my involvement with abstraction is partially the result of the medium in which I'm working. And also the fact that I don't draw very well.

And the last question: "Do you feel any loyalty to a particular esthetic, lineage, or medium?" Yup. My medium is fabric and thread.