Monday, November 19, 2007

More Than Frost Is On The Pumpkin

Much to my surprise, I woke up to accumulating snow this morning. Driving around town, this was one of the sights I saw.

But not all the leaves are off the trees yet.

Although my maple lost all its golden glow about a week ago, and now makes a stark contrast to the white snow.

Last week I did some more work on the red blob piece. This is the result after discharging, i.e., barely any change.

So I decided to put in some additional elements. It is still batching, and I hope to wash it out today. But now I must go out into the snowish weather and search for a Thanksgiving turkey.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

It All Starts with White Fabric, Part II

Three pieces of fabric in process, most recently screened with the same image and color, then washed:

This one started with using up left over dye.

This one is the orange that won't die, but will dye.

Don't know what to say about this one as I can't remember how it started, although there seems to be some of that orange in it.
Who knows what will happen next? I certainly don't. Hope you stay tuned for further installments.

It All Starts with White Fabric, Part I

Yes, this is how it starts, and I never know how it's going to turn out. But I've been doing more work lately, so I'm going to post lots of pictures so you can see how it's going.

This is the one piece I've been focusing on. I've been working on it in a once-a-week class on whole cloth composition. The class is challenging me to think and work in a way that is different from how I usually work. I screened the whole piece using torn freezer paper as a resist for the red shapes. For once the red dye really took. I free-handed the black curve with a black Sharpie marker.

But the background color wasn't right, so I decided to discharge it. The freezer paper got a little burned and was difficult to remove. Some of it lasted through four hot water washings!

Then it looked like this. Lighter background, but still not right. That Sharpie marker seems to stay no matter what you do.

Then I screened in some chartreuse.

And it came out like this. (My back door makes for an interesting design wall.)

Then I decided to discharge a different shape and got this. I used freezer paper again to keep the red shapes from being discharged.

But the color was still bothering me, so I screened purple over all of it. It's interesting to note that--in terms of true color--sometimes the photos look better than the fabric and vice versa.

And this is where it is now. (Please ignore the background, it's all part of my archeological design wall.) I think the piece is much more interesting than what shows up every time I take a photo. On the whole, the piece is more complex than the photos indicate, and now I'm also concerned about how well it might ultimately photograph, assuming I continue to the finish with it. I can't believe how those red blobs jump out in the photos, but are much more subdued in reality. I think I'm going to have to do something to them, but I'm not sure what. Suggestions welcome.

For more quick views of other pieces in process, see Part II.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Can It Be Fall Already?

More time has passed than I thought since my last posting. I wonder what I've been up to. . . . At some point there was a vacation in Michigan where I was part of a small exhibit at the AuSable River Center in Roscommon. This is my piece Sunrise Poppies above the fireplace.

From April to September my arbor (formerly the children's swingset) of clematis returned to its yearly beauty. I deliberately chose a clematis that blooms in late summer/early autumn into a cloud of little white flowers. Below you can see the before when the clematis was chopped back in April and the after in September just as the buds were starting to pop. Other things in the garden have grown, but I am sad to say I have managed to kill my favorite and only tradescantia (spiderwort), I think because it became overshadowed by a bush I never thought would get so big. Am I the first person ever to kill a spiderwort? I am so sad because it was given to me by a wonderful friend.

So much for gardening. What about fiber? Luckily, earlier this week I spent the better part of a day dyeing fabric. I experimented with two new fabrics (for me). Both are linen/silk blends, but one has more linen and one more silk. The one with more linen is a little stiff, and the one with more silk is gauzy. This is the deconstructed screen I unintentionally made .
Here are results: on the left is the linen/silk; on the right is the silk/linen. This is just after screening and before washing. Now that I have washed them, I can see that the silk blends hold onto the dye much better than all cotton.

Here is another piece of linen/silk after several screenings:
Then I covered it with a purple/brown and it looked like the picture below. Even after washing, it remained dark enough that I had forgotten about the two rectangles in the middle. Good thing I took a picture.
I managed to work on the beginnings of several other pieces, too. One time I put a piece of the gauzy fabric on top of the other and pushed the dye through. Unfortunately, I just kept forgetting to take pictures. I'm looking forward to working on them some more, especially with discharge paste. But that will be for the next entry.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Art Quilts Lowell

This was not the view from my hotel window in Lowell--I overlooked the parking lot. But it didn't matter too much because I spent most of my time out and about with old and new friends enjoying their company and enjoying all that Lowell had to offer as part of their Quilt Festival. There were some wonderful quilts on display at the New England Quilt Museum that have been documented by the New Hampshire Quilt Project. The "Images" quilt show was held at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium. Of course I enjoyed checking out all the vendors.

Perhaps the biggest reason for my visit to Lowell was to see my work Noontime Gate (16 3/4" x 19 3/4") at the Brush Gallery, where I am fortunate to have it included in the exhibit "Art Quilts Lowell 2007." It looked great under the gallery lights, which made the silk shimmer and the beads really sparkle. I brought the silk back from Vietnam a couple years ago. This piece refers to the Ngo Mon Gate, which is the principal entrance to the Imperial Enclosure in the Citadel in Hue.

Here it is in situ, and you can see that the opening was very well attended.

Around town, Lowell's ARTventure Public Art Program provided artwork in response to various historic locations. There were dresses along the canal in the Lucy Larcom Park that honored the history of the mill girls.
And there was this over-sized dress specifically honoring Lucy Larcom, the most well-known mill girl. Words from Larcom's writings are printed on the apron.

The Revolving Museum is housed in the Light and Gas Company headquarters built in 1859. There were matzoh walls in the kitchen (check out Rayna's blog for photos), but I was particularly taken, er, frightened, by these gnomes that surprised me after I went into a dimly lit room behind two sets of big curtains.

Of course spending time with friends meant discovering new menus. The favorite spot for breakfast was the Owl Diner where I ate in one meal what could sustain me for the whole day.

But there was always dinner to consider, and it was fabulous, too. This is an appetizer from Riccardo's, a wonderful Italian restaurant. (The local French restaurant was great, too.) It's not just salad, but fried olives stuffed with Asiago cheese with a little balsamic vinegar dressing. Yummmmm.

Despite the heat, and it was HOT, I had a great time in Lowell. Old friends, new friends, art, quilts, food. We laughed, we cried. I'm so lucky.

Friday, July 20, 2007

New Fabric, Part II

Thank you all for being so patient--well, not all of you were--to wait for Part II. Some of the fabric you will see in Part II has already made its way into a new series I'm tentatively calling Cosmos.
All the pieces remind me of photos I've seen of cosmic explosions that have been in magazines like National Geographic. But that's not where they started. I think they started with good fabric gone bad-- redyed, discharged, redyed, discharged--that eventually got better.

Here I am working on two small pieces, getting ready to discharge them.

Here's the one on the left, above, with discharge on it.

And here's that piece after discharge, with embroidery.

Here's another piece before discharge.

And here it is after discharge. Not sure where this is going.

This is the piece that started it all and will be the first in the Cosmos series.

Another time I'll show you how the little piece on the right in the first picture is evolving.
Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

New Fabric, Part I

It was such a beautiful day this past Saturday, I grabbed the opportunity to discharge some fabrics I had recently dyed.

On the left is the blue-ish and red-ish fabric I had dyed and then discharged. On the right, I've added various colors. This all started in March and April.

On the left, in June, I screened on several colors and shapes. On the right is what it looked like after washing and ready for more discharge.

On the left is after discharging and on the right is after washing.

And this is what the whole piece looks like now. (The sun is shining on some of it.) Don't know what I'm going to do with it yet, but I think it's done. This is one of the largest pieces of fabric I've worked on.

I generally prefer to work with smaller pieces of fabric (more of those in Part II), but no matter what the size, you never know what you are going to get, and for me that is a big part of the fun. It took me a while to let go and enjoy whatever resulted. I learned that, after all, if you don't like it, you can always go back and do more. Thanks, Rayna.

For example, I made this fabric with all the leftover dye. When I screened a grid with discharge paste, I just put it in the sun. The grid turned purple. Of course I really loved it and so when I washed the fabric, the purple was gone. I may have to go back in with purple dye.

Stay tuned for New Fabric, Part II.