Friday, February 27, 2009

Batik Etching

Batik Etching
This first sample is a comparison of etching with a tjanting tool. I applied wax in square chunks to the lime fabric. After it cooled, I used a sharp point to draw some designs in the wax. Then I took the sample back out to the wax pot and drew the same designs with the tjanting. Then I died the sample orange. So, the etched lines are orange, and the tjanting lines are green.

In this next sample, I put wax on the entire piece of lime fabric and then etched the designs with a sharp point, taking care not to tear the fabric. You may wonder what the sharp point was?? I tried several different tools, a small screwdriver, the point on a compass, and a seam ripper. There are others, but I liked the seam ripper the best. Then dyed it with orange. LOVE IT!!

The last sample is all about texture. I sprayed water droplets on the yellow fabric, then quickly painted thick wax stripes across the entire surface. This one, I dye painted from the back side, as the front side did nothing. Interesting! My mind reels with possibilities.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Arizona in February

Arizona in February
I went to play. It was fabulous!! So, is this what you think Arizona looks like? Me neither! The canal was beautiful and unexpected. I expected desert, and I LOVE desert, we will get to that later.

Art Space/ Textures Gallery in Scottsdale had a fabulous exhibit by a number of European Batik artists; Noel Dyrenforth,Pat Hodson, Andrea Trabitsch, Joachim Blank, Nina Stoupina, Hetty van Boekhout, Greet Bogaerts, Lu Van der Linden, Fritz Donart, and Rita Trefois. An amazing lineup, the exhibit was spectacular. It totally broadened my world about what batik is and what you can do with it. I feel like an infant, with so much to learn! That's a good feeling though, refreshing!

I went to take a 2 day batik workshop from Noel Dyrenforth. It was wonderful. Below are some examples of my work.  First a sampler. I was not that impressed with this piece, but I did learn.

The next is a fish. We traced it from photos Noel supplied and then built up layers of wax and dye. The fabric was super thin (that's why you can see the newsprint under it), but it allowed our piece to dry very quickly so that we could work fast. Great idea! I am not super impressed with my fish either, but once again, I learned a lot.
We also did a Picasso etching (sorry, I don't have a photo to post). I didn't know that you could etch wax....a whole new paradigm of possibilities. Mostly, I was inspired by my classmates; Terri Haugen, Marilyn Salomon, Mary Jane Keys, Katalin Ehling, Bunny Bowen (see photo with Noel below), Joan LaMoure, Vivian Faye. They had been doing batik for years (and we are not talking about stamping found objects either). Their art was fantastic, inspiring, fabulous! A good enough reason alone to take the class!
On my one night off, I went to see the Chihuly exhibit at the Botanical Gardens. You can see a slide show of my best pictures in my sidebar. I took a lot of pictures with my new tiny point and shoot, and by the end of the evening, I even learned how to use the flash, finally!! I was lucky to see some of the exhibit in daylight and in darkness. It was captivating, I never wanted to leave. And the plants were incredible too!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Doors Across Austin

Doors Across Austin
36" x 52"
I have been working on this one for several years now, and finally a venue came that fit it, so I knew it was time to make it. I had read a wonderful book called Thinking in Pictures by Temple Grandlin. She designs cattle gates for a living and is famous for being successful and having autism. As a child, she had a fascination with doors, I remember reading her fascination with sliding doors at the grocery store vividly. It reminded me of my son's fascination with spinning things. As she got older, she would use doors, both literally and figuratively, to help her with transitions in her life. She would walk through a door and picture in her mind the change she was making. It is common to really, really hate changes. Ah, this is my son's experience too. Although because he has ADHD too, he loves novelty. I can never predict when he needs things to stay the same and when he will want novelty. It's exhausting. I made this quilt and dedicate it to him. All the normal developmental challenges that he will face, transitions he will have to make. This year was middle school, and it hasn't been pretty. I used photos of doors from all over Austin, because this is where we live. And, I only selected colorful doors because he likes bright colors (guess he is kind of like me in that respect). If you notice, his path avoids entering most of the doors....
 The door images were taken over a period of about 2 years. I printed them on cotton fabric. My printer is not calibrated, so I had to do a bit of photo manipulation on photoshop. For the most part, the doors are really these colors. The background was made from accordion pleating my hand-dyed fabrics, rolling them like a cinnamon roll, then dipping the edges quickly in wax. Then bleach discharge, and over-dyeing. I tried to soften the images with lots of hand stitching, a mother's love.
And though, this quilt is about him, I think avoiding changes in life is a fairly universal feeling, at least it is for me.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Winter to Spring

Winter to Spring
58"x 40"
Some people like winter, I am not one of them. It's not just about being cold, it's about the light. There is less of it, and it looks different in winter. But spring! Now, that's my season, the light looks fresh and new and young. It makes all the flowers look bright and cheerful and fresh. This abstract piece is about the light in spring and the feeling I get from it.

How I made it:
I draw a small line sketch on a piece of paper that was roughly the same scale as I wanted my final piece. Then I taped some large pieces of paper together to make a full scale template. I tried to capture the feeling of the smaller sketch and just let the lines flow on the paper (not too hard, I only had to draw three of them!). Then I pieced the 5" square blocks together in a grid. One whole section for each color. I placed the paper template on top (previously cut to shape), and cut the fabric along the line. I approximated where the edge would be so that I could have fusible ironed to the back already. Then the piece was ready to fuse on top of the next piece (which I cut slightly larger than it's template so that it could have the other sections fused on top of it along the edges). Normally I would have satin stitched the edges next, but I saved that for last. I sandwiched and machine quilted along all the stripes and then satin stitched the raw edges.
The fabrics: most are commercial cottons, a few are my own batik designs. There are perhaps 80+ different fabrics used. Each one was batiked in thin 1/4" stripes, bleach discharged and overdyed.