Sunday, May 1, 2016

Keeping Track of Color

I admire the work of artists who work spontaneously and successfully build on surprises but regrettably, I am not one of them.  I am much more a planner/implementer/control freak.  Here is how I document dye color formulas so I can get exactly the color I want.



With paint, mixing the color you want is straight forward:  the color you have mixed will be the same when applied, allowing a bit of shade change for wet to dry.  With dye, it is not so easy.  The color you see when you mix the dye bath only has a general resemblance to the color you will get when the dye process is complete.  When I have tried to adjust a color bath that seems wrong by adding more dye colors it has never turned out well!  Unfortunately, What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get does not apply to dyes.

The only way to really have control of color is to test and keep accurate records.  Obviously, a swatch does you no good if you don’t remember what you did to get it.  For this, you need to measure accurately and keep notes.  I use a gram scale that reads decimals to mix stock solutions with graduates and syringes to measure as accurately as I can, but use whatever works for you.  Write down what you did immediately—it all goes vague and fuzzy really quickly.

Once you know what you mixed and have a swatch of the final result, it’s time to put it into a reference bank so you can always find that information in the future.  After several false starts, here is how I now store my reference swatches.

I use blank cardstock that is perforated for making business cards, but anything stiff enough will work.  I wrap a 2” x 3” swatch around the card and tape it down.  The formula is written  on the card.  I include the strength and percentage of each stock color so I can easily adjust to different amounts of fabric.

The payoff for all this documentation is you always know how to get that fabulous burnt pumpkin or vibrant limeade color again.  If you want a new color, reviewing the formulas used previously will give you a good start on how to adjust them to get the desired new color. 

Happy swatching!

Wrenn Slocum



Friday, April 29, 2016

In Southern California???

Please come out for my big SOLO show of textiles and mixed media work.    Three GIANT installations, art quilts, mixed media/fiber wall work and much more.   There's a short MP4 explainer on my blog (fiberfly.blogspot.com) to whet your appetite!



Monday, April 18, 2016

Stories of Migration: Contemporary Artists Interpret Diaspora

 Joy Lavrencik and I attended the opening of this exhibit at The National Textile Museum at George washington University in Washington DC this weekend.  It was a wonderful exhibit in the musuem's new space. There were several events over a 2 day period. We got to meet   many of the other artists in the exhibit and get to know them and their art better.  The curator explained to us at one point the development of the call and how they worked together with SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates).  I found it an opportunity to work in an entirely different way. It was quite an honor to be included.  Here are some photos from the exhibitand a link to the Museum. There is a catalog available for $20.

https://museum.gwu.edu/diaspora

Stories of Migration
















Sunday, April 10, 2016

Art Quilt Elements 2016

The Art Quilt Elements exhibit at the Wayne Art Center had an opening reception on April 2, with a full house. The venue is a beautiful stone building in a lovely suburb of Philadelphia. The exhibit dates are March 18 - April 30, 2016. If you can get to the show, it is rich in variety and well worth viewing.

Three Art Cloth Network members were juried into the exhibit. Judy Langille and Jeanne Marklin attended the opening and were able to talk for a few minutes. The opening was packed! Approximately 6 quilts sold on opening day. The color in the catalogue is much improved from past years and is well designed. It can be ordered on the Wayne Art Center website.

The surface design techniques of the ACN members were featured in each of our work.

Judy Langille in front of her work "Ancient Composite 1". 62" x 34"


The piece is composed of silk noil and linen. Langille screen printed the silk, used shibori style dyeing and hand pieced it. There are many French knots on the surface. Her artist statement:

"I am interested in ancient manuscripts and writings that are part of the historical memories of my ancestors. These "writings" in my work represent memories, both forgotten and recollected. The marks are sometimes screenprinted, and other times created by the use of shibori. Stitching in the fabric creates a texture, which implies that there is great detail in every life or story, held closest by those who lived it."

Marklin's work is titled "Blooming", and was made with snow dyed cotton fabric and machine pieced and quilted as well as fused.
"Blooming" 37" x 29"
She wrote: "Snow dyed fabrics have called me to showcase them and give others the opportunity to dream about them. They bring visions of under the sea, lichen and agates". 
At the opening, she stated that the patterns in the fabric remind her of the sense of awe we feel in nature, when we wonder how complex patterns came about.

"Leaf Fall, Oak Leaf Tangle" by Barbara Schneider. 50" x 25" x 6"

Schneider's artist statement for the piece: "I continue to explore the beauty of leaf shapes, textures and markings. I like to collect them at the end of summer when they have begun to wither and fragment. Looking at them closely and then enlarging them allows me to see them as sculptural objects. I look at the play of light upon surfaces, and shaping the pieces introduces a new element - light and shadow interacting with the undulating surfaces."

Monday, February 29, 2016

Stitching in the Studio



I love all the seasons here in New England but winter holds a special place in my heart because I spend the majority of my time in the studio. Even though it has been unseasonably mild here this year that rule has held true.
I thought I would share a small stitched piece that was inspired by a walk I took last November on Cape Cod with fellow ACN members, Priscilla Smith, Jeanne Marklin and Diane Franklin .


I started with a piece of Solufleece, a stabilizer that dissolves in water, and hand stitched using a selection of chunky threads. 


It is important to overlap or crisscross your stitches connecting them so that when you dissolve the stabilizer they stay together.



 Afterwards I used my embellishing machine, to further interlock the threads and blend them together to create a more muted painterly effect. 

 


 When finished I cut off the excess Solufleece and soaked the piece in lukewarm water. When the Solufleece was completely washed out I rolled it in a towel and then stretched/blocked the embroidery by pinning it to one of my work tables. After it dried, hand stitching beach grasses in the foreground with DMC embroidery thread added just a bit more detail.


 Now I have to decide how to finish it. I detest the idea of framing textural pieces like this under glass, so I am thinking about stitching it to a gallery profile canvas with the sides painted in a grey like the stitched sky. I guess it’s time to place a Dick Blick order!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016



The Art Cloth Network call for new members is here!  January 15 – March 15th 2016.
Art Cloth - cloth transformed by adding or subtracting color, line, shape, texture, value, or fiber to create a compelling surface and composition that reflects the hand of the artist.

Members of our group find that the opportunities for community, conversation, sharing of techniques, inspiration and resources have benefited our art and creativity. While some of us also make art quilts or mixed media work, the group is focused on art cloth and its specific surface design techniques and approaches that meet the definition above. This includes making lengths of art cloth, art cloth to be used in art quilts and/or wearable art that comprise a body of work that reflects your creative hand.
Send a request to jeanne@jeannesisson.com in order to receive detailed information and application instructions.

Monday, January 18, 2016

New Directions

18 January 2016

The hard cold air of today's January wind is creating a draft in my studio.
But I hardly notice as I am hard at work creating my new series. Last Spring, I
actually tore up some precious and beautifully dyed cloth. At first I was a little horrified. But, amazingly enough, that event set me on a new course. I am exploring shame and pride in the female form with the kimono shape in two and three dimensions as the substrate.

I will make twelve pieces following the color wheel and allow the process to develop the pieces as I do.  I like the chance to develop my knowledge about dye in a systematic and deep way. I want to use this opportunity to investigate techniques I haven't used consistently, like printing with thickened dye.

I began by developing the imagery and converting them to silk screens and thermofax screens and a stamp. That took all summer and much of the fall.  In November I started exploring color.

Starting with yellow,  I made samples in silk broadcloth, handkerchief linen and silk organza to explore the color palette that would represent shame and pride. I am now sorting the printing and dyeing order on silk broadcloth.

As I go along I will add posts here to keep you informed of my progress!


Saturday, November 28, 2015

What"s up in Florida?

I am teaching a deconstruction (Thanks, Kerr Grabowski) workshop for the Tampa Bay Surface Design Guild in January. I just re-activated my blog and posted a teaser for the members. Here is a teaser pix for all of you and a link to my blog if you want to read more.


Go to http://fantasticfibers.blogspot.com/ for further eye candy.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Finding Exhibition Venues



Art Cloth Network Blog: Finding Exhibition Venues

My blog posting is about the various ways you can search for exhibition venues. Once you see how many opportunities are available out there for your work as an individual and also for our group you will be energized to go submit your work!

Online resources
This is by far the easiest way to find venues. You can sign up for various lists that send you upcoming opportunities on a regular basis. Below are some of the best ones.

Café Management
There are hundreds of possibilities on this site. It takes some time to go through them but there is always something of interest from exhibits to residencies and everything in between.

Similar sites include:





Fiber specific exhibit info is available on both the SDA and SAQA sites.


You can also follow local and regional museums and organizations:

For example, this is the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber

And there are individuals who post possible entries on their blogs and email letters

For example, Lyric Kinard, a fiber artist in the North Carolina has a call for entry list on her website.

Usually if you sign up to follow or get on the email list the information will come to you on a monthly or weekly basis.  Going htrough the listings can take time but you do hone your eye to see the words that matter.  And it is ifun to see hwat kinds of exhibits are going out there in the broader art world.  Also many ehxiibts now include fiber as a medium which allows you to submit and show in a different environment.

So go forth and search and REMEMBER TO CONTACT THE EHXIBIT COMMITTEE WITH THE GREAT THIGNS YOU FIND FOR ART CLOTH NETWORK.

Barbara S.




Friday, October 9, 2015

The Season of Making...

Want to see what Art Cloth Network member Russ Little is doing in his studio these days?

Click here to see a recent blog post by Russ.


Monday, October 5, 2015

Heading to Houston...

As a new member of Art Cloth Network, I am excited to take my book, Wild and Wonderful 3-D Quilts, to the International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas this month!  The book features fast, fun, and easy techniques to make four different projects.

My quilt It's a Jungle Out There will be in Houston as a part of the Studio Art Quilt Associates Wild Fabrications exhibition.  If you go, look for me at booth 2014.  Hope to see you there!


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Call for New Members



The Art Cloth Network call for new members January 15 – March 15th 2015.

Art Cloth - cloth transformed by adding or subtracting color, line, shape, texture, value, or fiber to create ao0Hf2IwQMS compelling surface and composition that reflects the hand of the artist.


Members of our group find that the opportunities for community, conversation, sharing of techniques, inspiration and resources have benefited our art and creativity. While some of us also make art quilts or mixed media work, the group is focused on art cloth and its specific surface design techniques and approaches that meet the definition above. This includes making lengths of art cloth, art cloth to be used in art quilts and/or wearable art that comprise a body of work that reflects your creative hand.


www.artclothnetwork.com


Send a request to jeanne@jeannesisson.com in order to receive detailed information and application instructions.








Tuesday, December 2, 2014

FINISHING THE EDGES OF TRANSPARENT FABRIC


Many fiber artists enjoy dyeing, printing and painting transparent fabrics such as organza.  When the piece is complete it is sometimes a challenge to finish the edges so they compliment the piece.  Try the following simple method:

 

1.      Steam-press the side and bottom edges over 1 inch to the wrong side of the piece.



(Photo 1)

 
 
 





2.  Sew a narrow satin stitch along each folded edge.  You will need to experiment a bit to determine the stitch width and length that provide a smooth finish




(Photo 2)


.
3.      Lay a small pair of sharp scissors against the stitching and carefully trim away the excess fabric as close to the stitching as possible.
 


(Photo 3)

4.      Press.  


 
(Photo 4)

5.      The top edge can be turned to the wrong side to form a rod pocket. A hand stitched hem will complete the piece

 

Hints: I like to use machine embroidery thread.  Select a color that either blends with the colors in your design or contrasts for extra pop.   

 

Barbara James

November, 2014