Friday, June 26, 2015

Plaid Fatigue

So, I have these ideas about American landscapes and I made my little test landscape and I used my shirt fabrics because, you know, that's my thing, and that's what I've been using. And the more I have been doing my mental preplanning, the less excited I am. Not about the basic concept, but I am really just kind of burned out on the plaids and stripes. I didn't see that coming, but there it was. Last night as I was drifting off to sleep I had a vision of clean, pure flat color.

I have that. Twenty plus years worth of collecting solid color fabrics.

Most fabric artists don't really love solids. Many say there is just not enough variety available. They probably haven't been collecting long enough. Others just don't like that flatness. I sorted through my solids today. These are the bigger pieces. There is another tub of smaller pieces. I'm a little light on blues—not my favorite color. But I'm leaning toward setting the plaids aside for now and digging into those solids. I noticed I have a lot of white and more pink than I will ever use, so I threw a big chunk of each into my nearly exhausted blue-gray dye pot.

I am smitten with the smoky softness of this formerly pink, now dusky purple and that cool, foggy blue.

So. No fabric has been cut. I am thinking, thinking, thinking. I've made stuff with solids before.

American landscapes. I guess it's not really a new idea.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Continuous Line...

One of my favorite things about our big cross-country road trip was watching the landscape change along that 9000 mile continuous line. Anyone who has traveled around this vast country knows that the geography is very diverse. You know when the plane lands in Albuquerque that you are definitely not in Pennsylvania, but flying doesn't ever give you a picture of the transitions that get you from one distinct landscape to another. I became a little obsessed with that idea and I started snapping a lot of photos from the car window that showed examples of The changing face of the countryside. Here are a few of the photos.


Just so many kinds of beautiful...

Naturally, I guess, I began to envision big, horizontal quilts. Not traditional landscapes as much as abstracted impressions. I'm still not quite sure how I might accomplish this, but I tried the idea out small.

This is a tiny little test piece. (10" x 12") but I think something at least 36" wide is what I am thinking I want. I think it has possibilities. I don't much like the sky, but I can see better ways of dealing with that.

By the way, when I showed the bottom third of the composition in my last post commenters guessed it was farmland in Kansa or Nebraska. It was actually inspired by an amazingly green stretch of New Mexico where the brushy country was cut through with dry stream beds revealing layers of red and pink earth.

So this could be the beginning of a series. I'll share it as I go.


Monday, June 22, 2015

Good to be working

I was happy to be in my studio these past few days. There was so much to catch up with when we got home that it took a few days before I could spend some time working on things. I finished up my second neutral piece for submission for the next High Fiber Diet show and photoed my piece and submitted online for the Oregon SAQA show. I am nervous about that one. My submission didn't get into the last Oregon SAQA show and I felt really crummy about that. I don't know about this one either. I was really literal in my response to the theme and what I am seeing of what some of my friends are working on is subtle. Mine might just be way out of step. But what's done is done and I like it. Photos to come.

So today the deck was clear and I could start to think about all the stuff that went through my head over 9000 miles of views from the car window. First up I knew I needed to over dye some fabric. I need some bruised, storm-comin' sky colors. I've had some great white-on-white striped fabric I've been wanting to add some color to.

Over-dyeing is unpredictable, but I was pretty sure the stripes would take the dye differently. I mixed up what I hoped would be a light blue-green-gray and dyed two chunks of the stripe, leaving one in the dye longer than the other, then threw in a couple of light blue pieces as well. They took a lot more of the dye than the white stripe.

Here's how they looked after I rinsed all the excess dye out. Wet is always much darker than dry. Here's how they came out after they dried and were ironed. The striped pieces are different on the front and back, which is a nice bonus.

The stripes are grayer than I wanted, but these are good, useful colors.

While the fabrics dried I started putting together a small test piece to see if my ideas for some "American" landscapes had any validity.



Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Looking for America

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Never did find the biggest ball of string in America, but really, who needs it?