Friday, June 30, 2017

Floating in a Sea of Symbols

Floating in a Sea of Symbols
40" x 40"

created for:  Dinner@Eight, Personal Iconography: Graffiti on Cloth An artistic expression based on personal style

An underlying social message

A story that is told through lines, shapes and imagery

A graphic landscape that conveys a story

A mark, an object, an idea

"As I get older, I indulge in reminiscing about my past. Each ocean layer is comprised of an abstraction of shapes which have multiple meanings for me. This allows me to express my personal history while simultaneously maintain some privacy."
This is an invitational juried exhibit.  Each year when I make my entry, I never know if I will be able to come up with an idea and then be able to execute that idea to my satisfaction, AND, whether or not it will fit in with the rest of the exhibit.  I am delighted to find out that this quilt has been accepted to the exhibit.  I am also very pleased that it is so appealing to me.  Double win!
I had a hard time getting started on this one.  The theme of personal iconography didn't speak to me.  I struggled and struggled.  I gave up more than once.  I tried googling the words in the title.  I tried journaling about what it meant to me....more than once.  The entry description is purposefully vague and open to interpretation, but I was not feeling it.  Sigh...
For me, making art is about expressing something that I need to give my voice to, something personal, something meaningful.  However that voice can also be too personal, sometimes private, and I am not comfortable sharing it with a wider audience.  It is a delicate balance.  

And so, I finally made some progress when I settled on an ocean theme, with blues, and quite a bit of reminiscing.  Each layer goes back to some period in my life.  All of the symbols represented large overlapping chunks of my life, decades.  I also had a long list of symbols I wanted to use, but decided to narrow my choices to those that had multiple meanings for me.  

I started with blue. It has been a while since I have dyed anything or played in my batik studio.  So, I bought some new blue dyes, and set about the task of experimenting so that I could choose my blue palette.
Next stop, the process of patterning my cloth with batik.
These concentric rings would become my sodium chloride ions.  The fabric started as blue, then I stamped some concentric blue circles with different found objects.  This shows what it looked like after bleaching out the blue fabric that was not protected by wax. It was later painted with 2 different colors of dye.  Then the wax was boiled out.  I used fabric paint to paint dots for the electrons, and a black ink pen to put the symbols Na+ and Cl-. (Not tedious at all, eh??)
This one is similar to the above.  It was dyed a dark blue, batiked, and then bleach discharged.  It is waiting to be overdyed.  Notice how the dark blue dye did not discharge to a white (like the fabric above).  That happens sometimes, and it adds interesting color qualities to the next stage of overdyeing.
These two have been dyed, and then batiked.  The next step is the bleach discharge to remove the color.  And then dyeing again to put a contrasting color on top.  
After getting all my fabrics done, I decided which order to put them in by layering them on the floor.
Then, I used a freezer paper template to cut out the wave shapes for each layer.  The fabric was then fused (sweet, sweet Mistyfuse) to some white cotton batting, and then the white batting was trimmed with scissors to echo the shape of the fabric wave.  I built up the quilt one layer at a time, machine quilting as I went.  When I finished, I hand stitched the tiny white float with the girl on it.
As for the bicycle layer?  I ironed freezer paper to the back of a section of blue fabric, and then traced with a black pen from a line drawing underneath.  I taped the drawing and the freezer-paper-backed-fabric to my sliding glass door to let the sun shine through in order to see the drawing through the blue fabric.  Then I colored in different parts of the bicycle with markers and heat set. I LOVE the bicycle!  And, I love the scale of the bicycle!

This exhibit will open at the International Quilt Festival in Houston this fall.  It will be at both Quilt Market (Oct 27-30) and Festival (Nov 1-5).  I can't wait to see it!  The images flooding Facebook yesterday from the selected artists are incredible!

Friday, June 02, 2017

Dinner @ Eight Exhibits

Dinner @ Eight Exhibits
It is time once again to enter a quilt into the annual Dinner @ Eight exhibit. Each year the exhibit is based on a theme and a size which are selected by the curators, Jamie Fingal and Leslie Jenison. This exhibit is is by invitation only and is an honor to be asked to participate.  It is also a juried exhibit.  This means that quilts are entered on-line and my identity is kept a secret from those who select which quilts will be in the exhibit.  I have been participating in this exhibit since it first began in 2009.  This year I have been looking back at my previous body of work for this exhibit.  It is interesting to see my path, and how my art has changed over the years.  The exhibit always has a theme, and many, many times I have struggled to interpret that theme.  For me, the quilt has to be about something that needs to be made next, it has to be interesting to me, and it has to fit the requirements of the exhibit.  It is difficult and hard work, but always enjoyable.  I love the way this challenge has pushed me to try new things.

2009 Edges: 1) the sharp cutting part of a blade, 2) sharpness, keenness, 3) the projecting ledge of a cliff, etc., brink, 4) the part farthest from the middle; border; margin.
A Few of My Favorite Things - 36" x 48"
2010 Beneath the Surface: From the roots that anchor a majestic tree, to a song by Kings of Leon, "Beneath the Surface" has many connotations.  We look into the dark water and wonder what lies beneath.  We long to understand the meaning of a cryptic statement.
Fifty, Female and Fearless - 36" x 48"
2011 The Space Between: A pause as we reach for the telephone. The moments between the lines. Negative space in a painting. Uncertainty, and finding your voice. From one place to the other. Birds on a wire, and the distance between friends...The Space Between thought and action. Thin cracks separating this from that. Lines on a highway, or reading between the lines...The Space Between.
Blue Towers - 36" x 48"
2012 Rituals: An exchange between friends. A handshake. A kiss before bedtime. The artist at work.  A sun salutation. The wave before boarding the school bus. A song, a word, a meditation. A habit, a custom.  The traditional toast at a gathering. A rite of passage. The sacred moments of the ordinary.  Rituals:  What are yours?
Morning Commute with Sweet Jane - 24" x 60"

2013 An Exquisite Moment: Consider the following:  The unfurling of a flower. A hummingbird in flight.  A magical moment shared with a lover or friend.  The birth of a child.  A personal milestone.  The realization of a dream.  A treasured memory.  The sacred moments of the ordinary.  These are the Exquisite Moments that make us who we are.
Balance - 24" x 60"
2014 Reflections: A mirror image. A response to a thought or word. A memory. What glints back at us as we gaze upon the water. The throwing back by a body or surface of light, heat, or sound without absorbing it.  What will your reflection reveal about you?
The Deep End - 24" x 60"

2015 Affinity:
I am the garden that I plant.

I have…a natural liking for or attraction to a person, thing, or idea.
I am all the books that I have read.
I have….. A close resemblance or connection to someone or some thing.
I am the places that I have been
I have…. An agreement with someone.
I am the people that I love to be near
I have…a relationship or ties to another individual.
I am the sum of my life experiences.
Dot - 40" x 40"
2016 Patterns:
They may be naturally-occuring or manmade.
They can occur in relationships and in flocks
We construct them
We often drive in them
Some can be changed, but others cannot
Fibonocci was famous for recognizing and sequencing them.
Some are symmetrical, others wabi sabi
They are everywhere if we pay attention.
Which pattern might speak to you?
100 Days, 100 Nights - 40" x 40"
2017: Sorry, I can't show this quilt yet.  But I am keeping my fingers crossed that this one pleases the jury and plays well with others (meaning that it works well with the other entries to make a great exhibit).  Some time in July, I will be posting about it.  Until then.....

Thanks for stopping by!