Sunday, November 27, 2011

What Inspires You?

I know there are many sources of inspiration for the artist.  Still, each of us has a set of particular things that  we love to look at for inspiration.  I'm inspired by the forces of pressure on a variety of things, as well as surface tension.  I find that these preferences are often reflected in the type of marks I make on cloth and paper.  I challenge you to think about some particular things you are visually drawn to.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Small World

folded in half, dyed red, over-dyed next day with olive
I had a delightful time reconnecting with 3 Art Cloth Network members at Jan Myers-Newbury's Pole wrapping workshop Nov. 19 and 20th at the Newark Museum. There were thirteen students and many of the others I have met at Quilting by the Lake. It was a great workshop and you can see images if you check out my blog at Notes from 207, but here is one sample. I do hope Rayna, Russ and Judy will post some images too. Jan will be teaching there again this spring.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Lure of the Resist

I've been experimenting with resists on cloth for the past six years. I think I am drawn to them because they are so enchanting.  You apply the resist and let it dry.  Then you add paint or dye.  At that point, the cloth usually looks very ugly.  But when you wash the cloth, the pattern and texture from the resist appear like magic.

There are so many resists to choose from.  There are a number of commercially available products - waxes, water based resist, washable gel glue.  But my favorites are those made from ingredients in your kitchen - oatmeal, flour, sugar, corn syrup, tapioca and grits.

Working with resists requires an ability to let go of your control impulse.  They can be unpredictable and small changes in the process can have a big impact on the end result.  Below are a few photos of cloth created with a grits resist.  If you would like to try this for yourself, download the grits resist tutorial.

Grits, painted with dye when dry

Grits, painted with dye while still damp

Grits applied with a silkscreen

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

XXI: An exhibit of cloth by Carla Veliz

Artcloth is not only that which we make "pretty".  Sometimes we use destructive processes to make a statement or create meaning on the cloth.  A powerful example of this is an installation by artist Carla Veliz, titled XXI: Who We Are and Who We Could Become.  The exhibit was shown at Gallery Nord in San Antonio this past September. In an effort to represent the abuse humans have inflicted on the planet, each other and themselves over the past 21 centuries, Veliz spent 21 days ripping, burning, burying, cutting and destroying a 16-foot long piece of silk. Then she spent 21 days repairing the damage.

She documented this process in a 21 minute video.  Watching the video is an emotional experience - seeing the cloth tattered and damaged and then lovingly cared for and mended. The exhibit included still photos from the video and several assemblages created from the tools she used on her journey with the cloth. 

Read more about Veliz on her website.

View the following links to read more about the exhibit:

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Monoprinting on the new Gelli Plates at the Houston Quilt Festival

I was recently introduced to Gelli Arts reusable gelatin plates, which are used to replace a "gelatin plate" made in a similar fashion to "Knox Blox", an ideal surface to perform monoprints on both cloth and paper.
These reusable plates are ideal for me when teaching in a place that is difficult to make gelatin plates from scratch. Plus, these do not require refrigeration!  The plates come in two sizes:  6 inches by 6 inches, and 8 inches by 10 inches.
The idea is to spread a thin layer of paint over the surface with a brayer, brush, or other spreading tool.  The paint can then be manipulated by a variety of stamps or other tools and the pattern can be "picked up" from the surface with cloth or paper.
Here are a few images taken during the Sketchbook Challenge workshop by Sue Bleiweiss  and myself of the round robin workshop in Make-It-University during the quilt festival.  Among the four technique stations featured, I taught gelatin monoprinting.  I gave each student two types of paper and two types of cloth to experiment with:
 Things are still pretty "neat" at this point!

paint is applied across the gelatin plate surface

students selected among the large variety of texture tools to create marks
left foreground:  student places her paper onto the gelatin plate to "pick up" the paint

After use, the plates can simply be wiped off with a damp paper towel and stored for future use.  Any type of acrylic paint can be used, and each print can be "layered" repeatedly by this method.