25 August 2013
Okay, so the new website is finally done and I've started blogging there.
Please visit me at Smudged Textiles Studio! :)
I won't be posting here anymore although the blog will remain up for as long as Blogger let's it be. Unfortunately, if you subscribe, either via email or using the Follower widget, you'll need to do it again on the new site.
When you get to the blog there, you'll see a subscription for email delivery at the very top of the right hand sidebar. Beneath that, you can also use Bloglovin' to follow the new blog. Wordpress does not support the Follower widget that is on this blog, so if you want to subscribe in some way, those are the two options.
I hope you'll follow me there, have a LOT of great stuff in store! :) See you over there!
11 August 2013
I'm entering what I affectionately call "exhibit season". (Is it just me or does there seem to be an exceptional number of show deadlines in the autumn?) I have a solo show in October and then the Earth Stories quilt and an Invitational to send work in for.
I was messing around with a new series idea a few weeks ago, was positive I had nailed it. And then when I tried to repeat the trial piece that I liked so well, it kept flopping. Might mean the trial piece was a fluke. Not sure. Only thing I know is that this is not the time to pause and ponder it. So I set it aside and decided I would make some more Remnants Collages as planned. (I do like me a good collage.)
Then yesterday, the studio smacked me in the head with an idea and I dropped everything else I was working on to obey.
You see, I've been working toward becoming comfortable with machine stitching. I want to make a new series that is more quilt like and while I'll stop being a hand stitcher when you pry my needles and perle cotton from cold dead hands, I do admit that I was feeling lured.
Now I'm going to say something and I'm sure I'm going to get some "Not true!" shouts at the computer screen - machine stitching is quicker. It's quicker because of the way I stitch my work - straight stitches, graphic, simple. So a line of straight stitch on a machine goes a hell of a lot faster then a row of straight stitch by hand.
Would it be quicker if I was thread painting? Nope. And all you lovely artists out there that do that kind of machine work have my admiration. But for the way I use stitch in my work? Light years faster.
So here is where I was at: if I can learn to use machine stitching in a way that I'm comfortable with and that suits my work, then I could produce more work, quicker and larger. Period. That's what really sparked my quest for a new series because honestly, I'm weary of producing such a low volume of artwork every year. I have so many ideas, I want. to. make. more.
And yesterday in the studio I did it:
19.5" wide x 18.5" high
I don't know about you but I always like the detail shots better then the overall ones. So here's a close up:
I don't know how to express how this makes me feel. Scared and excited all at the same time. Never thought I'd see machine stitching marching across my work. But somehow I feel it goes, maybe because it's a whole cloth printed piece of fabric. The focus is on the printing, the stitching is merely a layer.
It's a small piece, I wanted to see if it would work the way my vision grabbed me. And I'm happy to say that it did. It might seem insignificant, after all, quilters are burning up their machines every day.
But this is a huge step for me. One that still feels uncomfortable in a lot of ways but I've decided to just feel weird and keep going.
Gotta love the weird. :)
03 August 2013
So today I really got rolling on my "Earth Stories" quilt that I mentioned in the last post. First up on the agenda is making landfill fabric.
Wha?? (Sounds really weird, I know.)
I plan to make the art quilt in my collage style and I want the foundation fabric to represent the paper cups that go to the landfill every year. (Statistics range from 58 billion to 12 billion. Quite a range in numbers but the key word there is "billion". Scary, right?)
Last week I painted the fabric to look like it has been coffee stained:
I did try using actual coffee but wow, talk about seriously wimpy color. I got creative and I'm really happy with the result. Ever since The Great Studio Purge of 2013, I've been secretly operating on the Buy-nothing-new-only-work-from-the-stash pledge. (Not so secret anymore, is it?) All that fabric came from the stash, had a lot of neutrals. And the nice thing is that even though they are all cotton, they all reacted differently to the paint. So there is some seriously nice color and pattern variation going on there.
In all honesty, I'm not sure if I have enough. Looks like a lot but when I cut the felt panels today, I got twitchy. (Cutting the panels to the right size is most likely the hardest part of this entire project for me. Exact sizes are not my forte but I got it done with minimal cussing.)
Here's another look at the grungy wild coffee "stained" fabric:
The plan is to print all these with several layers and then rip them apart like a wild woman to create the collaged background. (The ripping apart is great fun.) It's a delicate balance at this point because if I print too much, I back myself into a corner when it comes to printing more after it's put together.
And for a girl who likes to get carried away and print long after the cows come home, it's a little difficult. But I started by printing every piece with a sihlouette of a to-go coffee cup tattooed with the word "billions" on it:
(This is my first go at the Blick Textile Screen Printing Ink. Can I just say 32oz? Yeah, baby! So far so good, got a little sticky but the color is good and it has a nice consistency. Oh and did I mention 32oz?)
I printed a lot of coffee cups.
I flirted with the idea of actually printing billions of cups. But the quilt would either need to be ten times the size I'm making or the cups would be so tiny you'd have absolutely not idea what they are. Plus there is also the issue of my sanity so we went this route. These cups are about 3.5" high x 2.5" wide.
I did do some more printing over top of the cups but everything was wet when I walked out of the studio. I can't show you the final quilt but I can show you parts, like the fabric, and annoyingly cropped super close up details just to taunt you. Which I'll probably do.
I'm especially excited about the exhibit because SAQA really does know how to tour a show (this will be out for a couple of years) and it's debuting at Michigan State University in 2014. Which means I'll actually get to attend it! Woo!
And before you ask - yes, this will be a very brown quilt. I've done some monochromatic pieces in the past and to be honest, the challenge of it is really fun. It takes quite a bit of work to make sure that you don't make a one note hunk of solid color with no interest. The key will be varying the tones and shades and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of layers.
The printing shall continue! :)