Monday, August 15, 2016

Cocoons and Artifacts

a little experimentation - four-harness overshot version of the sun moon and stars pattern rendered in very fine linen and silk yarns from habu yarns, both with stainless steel cores.  The middle swaths of all of these little guys have had the linen exterior of the weft chemically burned off, leaving only stainless weft and silk warp (only cellulose fibers burn off, not protein).  Click on the pictures to see the detail of how some of the half-tone areas remained behind despite burnout.

So I'm calling them "artifacts"...

The sculptural properties of this weave and yarn combination are phenomenal.  The overshot and tabby provide much more structure and density than straight plain weave.  Before I wove these three guys, I tried one with 100% linen and stainless steel.  The warp broke a bit and was frustrating but it resulted in a piece that allowed full burn-off of both warp and weft wherever I applied it.  I ended up with this:

It sat around for a few weeks as I wove the artifacts.  I would go back to it and try things - burning out words and cutting into it, even burning the cut edges with flame.  Then one day I started twisting it into forms.  This is what I got:

I kinda love these a lot.  Making another one.  Frustrating linen warp be damned.  Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

Monday, May 23, 2016

InSide Out

Looking back at February's post, I realize I didn't write about anything - just posted pictures.  I am pleased by this, as I have tended to be very verbal about my work.  I have reached a point where I don't want to have to explain what I am doing, at least not to the extent that it becomes as much about the explanation as the work itself.  So in that vein, I will say that these are a few shots from the same body of work last fall that I continue to explore and am using as points of departure for new work investigating fabric as skin and what it may contain.  The first two photographs here are figurative.  The middle group were taken using an overhead projector and the last group were shot using a paper screen and backlighting.  All of the images use the stainless steel and cotton sample except for the paper screen group which use a piece of linen I wove and burned holes out of.  Both pieces of fabric were samples for finished pieces in the Synesthesia show that I exhibited with Katie Vie and Lisa Mandle in 2014 at Flow.  

"Self Portrait"

Monday, November 2, 2015

The more things change...

What a watershed year it has been.

"Edge", pen and ink, conte' crayon, 2014

I've continued through this summer and fall to explore the idea of fabric as skin, thinking specifically about how our skin holds us in and apart from the outside world.  (See post Staying in Touch from last October). I just finished another fabric version of one of my drawings:

silk, wool, alpaca, natural dye, sewing thread, 2015

Then, about three weeks ago, I walked into my studio and noticed how the autumn light was streaming through my windows and illuminating a sample I had woven for the Synesthesia show last October.  I started taking pictures of it, noting how it played with light and shadow.  I couldn't stop snapping pictures.  I felt like the fabric was having a conversation with me and I couldn't stop listening.

Detail of sample out of direct light on black background
to show the stainless steel plain weave
Note: All shots are of one 18" x 12" piece of fabric woven in plain weave of  100% white cotton-covered stainless steel yarn.  The two stainless steel stripes are a result of using a chemical to burn off the outer cotton coating of all the yarn in that area leaving only the stainless steel.  
Entire sample laid flat in direct sunlight on white background.
All dark areas are cast shadow.

These pictures were snapped with a phone camera  I have since bought a digital SLR, lights and a sweep so that I can really explore what is happening here.  I feel like I have reconnected with the ideas I was exploring in graduate school, the interaction of light and fabric.  It's too soon to see exactly how the fabric as skin series forms the connecting tissue from my painted warp coverlets to photographs of cotton-stainless-steel burnout plain weave but I know it's there.  It has to do with layers and uncovering what's underneath.  Bringing the back to the front, shedding light on the hidden places.

Closeup of stainless reflecting sunlight and a tiny bit of cotton covering not burned off

wadded up, out of the light

Stainless picking up sunlight over black background

I found a fabric fingerprint in this one, as if it were leaving me clues:

The cast shadows evoke some sort of special joy in me, the same joy that I get from making a pen and ink drawing.  Black and white and all the subtleties in between.

Friday, April 17, 2015

A Skin with a Heart of its Own

Silk, alpaca, wool, cotton, stainless steel, sewing thread


few posts back I mentioned that I was taking a break from the big coverlet- inspired wall hangings in order to explore some more personal points of departure for my work. I'd been drawing more and found myself wanting to make these drawings three-dimensionally. These are explorations of my heart and skin, anatomical envisionings of what makes me, me.

Pen and Ink, Watercolor pencil, oil pastel
10.5" x 8.5"

"What I Felt"
Silk, alpaca, 6.75"x 6.25"x 1.25"
I see this as the beginning of a series, explorations of my heart and soul, trying to weave my skin and put my heart and soul into it.  This is extremely personal work, for it pushes me to find vulnerability and flaws both in myself and in the cloth.  No hiding here behind pretty colors and pattern.  Maybe because there is a measure of bravery involved here, I feel like these little pieces have taken as much energy to produce as my big wall hangings.  Nuclear fission, my friends.