snowed in

I have come down to the wire, losing my last excuse to postpone the drudgery of art--putting on hanging sleeves, cutting mats, framing pieces. Next week we hang our show at Fine Line (details later in the week, opening 1/8/10).

But we came home from visiting family for Christmas to around 11 inches of new snow. When we got home, the roads hadn't been plowed. They have been this morning, but still it's on the 'you'd be crazy to get out in this' side of the fence as far as driving. I'll give it another day or two--one of the pluses of working from home.

So while I may be snow dyeing (this stuff is unbelievably lightweight), I'll also be knuckling down and doing the boring bits of art making.

Happy Holidays to all.

That is all.


getting it right

This piece was snow dyed last winter. It seemed to have too much going on with it, so I stamped it with discharge paste. The above picture is how it looked at the end of that post.

But it seemed too busy still, too much a bunch of parts and not enough cohesiveness--an elusive quantity I've come to believe. So, having not much to lose, I threw it in yet another dye bath:

It's getting better. But now I have to decide whether to proceed with a whole cloth piece, or cut it up. And how to deal with these artifacts of the cloth's previous life as a dish towel:

On the one hand, I would like to celebrate this and all the other holes, either making the piece see through, or layering something else behind the hole. But on the other hand, those holes are there because the fabric is weak and strained at those points. Would I be using something that will only deteriorate over time? Or is that time frame so long that it doesn't matter?

Don't know the answer to any of these questions. So the piece hangs on one of my design walls, waiting for its moment to shine.

That is all.


losing it

This is a brand new tea towel I bought at Woodman's grocery (our current favorite store) the other day. It was white when I bought it, for around $3 for a pack of 2. After prewashing, I was hard put to distinguish them from the old ones I have been collecting at rummage sales. They are very slightly sheer, so they can be influenced by the color behind.

Anywho, I threw this in a dye bath I had going the other day. When it was rinsed and dry, I hung it on my design wall. And promptly saw a raven in the mottling, waiting to be enhanced (stitching? paint? pastels?) and turned into another piece for FAC's 13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird show. So using my brilliant techniques of working this morning, I took the piece down to work on the enhancing, beginning with ironing the cloth.

And promptly lost all sense of the raven. I know generally where he was, and I think I even know which way the fabric was hanging. But he's gone. If he was ever really there.

I constantly see things in mottled hand dyed fabrics. It's not something I necessarily want to do; it just happens. Sometimes I go with it and use it, other times I ignore it and leave it for the observant viewer to discover on her own. Sometimes using the accident feels like cheating. Sometimes it doesn't.

The towel is back hanging on the design wall, waiting until I see the raven again. I may have to turn it once in a while--come to think of it, I'm not entirely sure whether he was on the right side or the wrong side of the fabric. Oh, well.

Ruhroh. I just previewed this post, and now I'm seeing a grizzly bear cub. I'm doomed.

That is all.


layers on layers

This piece has been kicking around my studio since I did the snow dyeing last winter:

It's an old tea towel, with some holes in it (the black spots). Couldn't quite bring myself to do anything to it, probably because I couldn't think of what to do.

Then I read Cynthia St. Charles' blog about printing and overprinting, and it got me to thinking about trying something similar. But different. Not copying, being inspired by.

I took this stamp (which I carved inspired by a cross section of a hedge apple):

and, using Jacquard Discharge Paste, began stamping it:

I first tried some here and there, but I kept needing more--the funky peach color I was getting was weird when rare, nice when common. The current result is this:

Because of variance in the amount of paste I put on the stamp each time, and also in the amount of heat I applied to the paste, there are at least four levels of discharge in the piece. So I already have some layering going on.

The piece is currently drying (I find it best to wash out the excess paste before proceeding). When it's dry, I may add some more layers via paint--but the decision to be made is whether to use the same stamp, or switch to another. And what color to use.

Right now the piece kind of reminds me of diatoms swimming in a primordial sea. But that's just me.

That is all.