I was asked to join in on a Blog Hop by a fellow textile artist, Madalene Axford Murphy whose work I recently blogged about a couple of posts ago here. I was given a list of questions for this post and have done my best to give some thoughtful answers. I might be lagging behind by a week but here’s to hopping now!
What am I working on?
For most of the summer I’ve been working outdoors in my “summer shop.” It’s just a screened room that I cover with a tarp overnight and I’m all set up out there. I started out doing a lot of sun printing, experimenting with different transparent paints and dyes. I used Speedball silk screen paints, Jacquard Solar Fast, and Pro-Chem transparent paints. For sun printing, I found that I had the best luck with the Solar Fast.
Then I also did up some large batches of dying, mostly shibori, both tied and clamped. While I love the results, I can only handle so much at a time before my poor fingers refuse to do any more. Most recently, I’ve been painting and hand printing on my fabric. I carve my own blocks, mostly from soft block, an eraser like material that’s great for printing on fabric.
Although I’ll be using all of these in textile art over the fall and winter, I’ve already made quite a dent in the sun prints by incorporating them into a series of 12” X 12”mixed media art quilts that are stretched onto wide gallery stretcher strips. Nature inspires much of what I do and this series is all about appreciating our natural environment.
Here’s a couple of pieces I just did last week:
How does my work/writing differ from others in this genre?
Well, I’m certainly not the only fiber artist who uses her own photos or dyed, printed or painted textiles in mixed media collages, but of course, they are made from my own hands and these hands leave their unique marks all over the place. Although I’ve only been seriously at this for about 3 or 4 years, I’ve begun to develop a visual language of my own. And while I do believe that the craftsmanship of a product should have its own sincere integrity, I suspect that what we do as artists comes straight from the heart or it doesn’t amount to much, so what you see is pretty much what you get, straight from my hands to yours.
Why do I do what I do?
It’s not so much a choice as it is a compulsion. If I couldn’t do it now I’d be a lost soul. Art has always been a part of my life in some form or another. Making things is the essence of who I am. I come to life in the creative process. The reason is simply because I have to do it! I have to play with the pigments. I have to solve a posed problem. I have to get lost in the textures and colors of the fabric or paint. I have to carve out the block and print what I have left. I am urged to gather up the “stuff” – the toys and tools of art and craft and arrange it into a composition that would speak to me and, perhaps, to you.
How does my writing/working process work?
As an intuitive artist, I have to let go of too many external ideas about what I’m going to do. My starting point varies from piece to piece. Sometimes I have an idea and commence with some research on a subject, but at a given point I have to let go of the outcome and let whatever’s happening grow into itself. There are times when I just have to travel with the muse who leads the way and I go along for the ride. Sometimes I can plan a piece and it works well but that’s not the rule for me. It’s all about the inner journey, the brain probing and discovering, the emotional response and inner dialogue between myself and the materials and my responses to and ideas of the world around me.