November 19, 2013
I’ve decided to do something special for supporters on my mailing list!
Each month I will be offering an original one-of-a-kind piece for 30% off for that month only-a savings of $300-$900!
This will only be offered to folks on my mailing list!
How do I join this mailing list you ask?!
Look over there in the right hand column (if you don’t see a column, click on the banner at the top of this page and the column will magically appear)>>>>>>>>>>>>
Under “Pages”- Click on “Join My Mailing List!”
Voila! You will now recieve notice of each month’s sale artwork and maybe some studio news to boot. The first sale notice will go out December 1st so if you’re not on my mailing list yet, this is an excellent time to join.
You Are Here – detail
Beneath I (detail 1)
November 3, 2013
You may remember that last summer my 90 year old mother and I felted up a storm. I was specifically focused on experimenting with creating channels using various resists. Read all about that here.
I have since dyed that felt and am now working on a smaller piece incorporating that felting and some dyed and painted silk. It will be called “Worlds Apart”. Here are a few early glimpses at this piece taking shape.
What to do with those lovely channels?
Making silk and felt play nice together
Felt is very sumptious to stitch.
I’ll keep you posted on how it comes together!
October 30, 2013
I promise i will post about my own current work in the next few days BUT I had to share this first. It’s rare that I get so blown away and excited to see how a person can develop such an original and brilliant artform. This should be inspiring to any creative folks out there!
jerry’s world-very small detail
Jerry Gretzinger has been creating a stunning sprawling map of a detailed imaginary world panel by panel for 50 years. This visually sumptious creation- made of paint, ink and collage-now spans over 2000 sheets of paper that fit together to create this world. And his process…how he decides each day what part of the world to change and develop…well you just have to watch this 9 minute video:
AND a portion of this artwork will be installed at my own local Brattleboro Museum this week. I can’t wait to see it in person.
October 13, 2013
I really never thought I’d be using this blog to recommend a computer game but this is art related and all about COLOR. The game is Blendoku:
It’s a free puzzle game that, I find, strengthens my sensitivity to subtle shifts in color. Here’s a screen shot:
Of course it starts easy and gets more challenging. As a dyer who will not follow recipes and who is always playing with figuring out what blends make what hues..this game is perfect. It’s totally right brain which I find soothing. And I don’t feel guilty playing it. If you try it (free on apple or android!) please let me know what you think. Am I deluding myself to justify frittering away chunks of time…? Do I want to know the answer to that…?
September 24, 2013
Lighting is everything.
I just finished a new piece-Seed Dreaming IV. It’s part of my series based on the Australian aboriginal saying, “The plant is the dream of the seed.”
Because it has raised “bas relief” features ( thick felting, silk covered thick cotton cording, dense stitching and more…), it was a bear to photograph!
Lighting it as one would a 2-D piece resulted in an evenly lit but flat washed out photo:
flat and washed out
Where are the lovely crevices and shadows? Ugh.
So the lights were moved slightly at more of an angle and it helped a little:
a bit better…
But, oh, when the lights were moved to an acute angle to the piece-THEN the luscious texture came alive:
Seed Dreaming IV
Here’s a detail:
Seed Dreaming IV detail
I want to make a viewer really want to reach out and touch it! Do you?
September 4, 2013
Dan was also working on his own pieces while he taught us. When we arrived we saw a pile of large bundles of 2 color batiked fabrics which had been widely folded accordian style and bound. These were awaiting final resist dyeing.
Dye bowls were placed tilted in a drainage gap in the floor. Dan mixed dyes into the bowls.
Dan mixing dye for his own work
You can see three bundles in the foreground ready for dyeing. Each bundle will be stood on its side to pick up that color and then stood on the opposite side to pick up a second color and to allow for color combos along the middle. Hard to explain but easier when you see the picture hopefully:
Dyeing the bundles
I really wish I had taken more close up pictures of his finished fabric so you could understand why I was so taken by the uniquely intricate patterning and rich colors. Here’s another shot of fabrics for sale at the shop. It does not do it justice.
fabrics in the shop
So back to finishing my piece of beginner batik: After the second block printing, dyeing and drying, the fabric was rinsed in the outside bathtub.
Then Dan plunged it into boiling water from the heated oil drum to melt off the wax. He deftly moved the fabric around using two sticks like tongs.
Notice the heavy handed moments. Dan and Elizabeth made it look easier that is was!
I hope this vicarious experience was interesting for some of you. It was wonderful for me to relive that day!
September 1, 2013
It’s been decades since I’ve experimented with stamping with wax but Dan was a patient teacher. I tended toward being heavy handed.
Here is Dan’s assistant, Elizabeth showing how it should be done!
Notice how she doesn’t even look at the vat of hot wax as she dips. I, on the other hand, had a number of hot splatters on my hands and feet!
The fabric was hung outside for the wax to dry-it took only a few minutes in the sun.
Meanwhile, Dan helped me mix the vat dyes we would use. He shares my style of mixing dye-no pesky measuring spoons.
I had never used vat dyes before-it apparently involves some nasty chemical reactions. so I was grateful for the mask.
Next came the actual dyeing…a lovely blue:
Then, letting it dry in the sun while greeting neighbors…
…then stamping with block 2 ( I was a bit smoother that time), mixing my next color-purple- and the overdye.
Next post: the results and more about Dan’s process!
August 29, 2013
The next morning after a squished hour ride on a trotro (beat up minivan-the main public transport) and after a prolonged search we finally found the workshop-a concrete block, dirt floor, open air structure in a residential area. Lots of friendly neighbors, curious kids, goats, chickens, a few pigs and sounds of a raucous church choir practicing next door formed the backdrop.
Mercy’s son, Daniel Tekfor Baflo, welcomed us and showed us around.
Dan in shop
It became clear that because Mercy had actually stopped batiking 20 years ago, Dan was the artist behind the work produced. He’s 34, went to art school for graphic design over 10 years ago and works here 7 days a week. Yet he gets no personal credit for his textiles. This was one of many moments of I ran into of (to me) mysterious cultural rules of loyalty and obligation. Dan is not happy with the situation but feels he has few choices.
OK back to the workshop…
At one end were the large plastic dye pots.
And at the other end was the work table, the wax pot…
…and overflowing shelves holding dozens of beautiful intricately carved thick foam stamps! The designs ranged from traditional to bold free-flowing contemporary.
blocks on shelf
Clearly THESE were part of the secret behind the uniqueness of the fabric Dan produces here. Dan draws freehand on the foam and carves each design with a razor blade. The additional step that distinquishes his work is his technique of overstamping with these blocks. That results in the filagreed, richly layered surfaces I fell in love with.
I had to choose 2 blocks. Well that took a while! But I settled on block 1:
…and block 2:
Dan then filled an oil drum outside with water from an old nearby bathtub and built a fire.
water into the drum
Next step-stamping the wax…To be continued!
August 27, 2013
I just got back from a transformative four weeks in Ghana, West Africa! It was jam-packed with extraordinary adventures that I’m just starting to digest! Here’s a fiber related one. It will probably take a few installments.
Nearly everywhere in Ghana are women (often carrying large loads on their heads and babies on their backs!) wearing boldly colored batik dresses and head wraps. I tried not to stare but the intricate fabric designs, the complicated cuts of the dresses AND the ingenious way yardage was skillfully used to secure those babies was a visual treat. Some of that fabric was cheap fake batik imported from China. But I sought out where to buy locally made batik. I had been given the name of Mercy Asi Ocansey from a friend as the place to see the most beautiful and interesting hand made batik in the area. I finally found both she and her small shop in Accra, the capital of Ghana.
Mercy and I in her store
She is retired and the designs and fabric are now being created by her son, Daniel Tekper Baflo (much more on his amazing craft later!) She asked me to wear one of her batiked shirts for the picture. This photo does not do justice to the multilayered unique designs on all this fabric. Needless to say I left with a lighter wallet though it was agonizing to pick what yardage to buy.
Dan and his sister
I returned a few days later to work out a plan to be able to observe her batik workshop (outside of the city) and create some fabric myself. This involved lots of misunderstood English, laughter, many cell phone calls to “the boy” (her son, Dan) and polite price haggling. My friend and I left with very rough directions and a plan to travel there the next morning. I also, of course, had bought more fabric : ).
More in the next installment!
July 25, 2013
I leave on Sunday for a month in Ghana, West Africa!
Four weeks solidly outside my comfort zone but I’m (mostly) ready to drink in fresh imagery, colors and wild adventures. I leave a half done piece on my design wall and many half formed art ideas in my head. How will this immersive experience shake up all those notions and expand my visual vocabulary? I hope quite a bit!
There is a tremendous amount of fiber and non fiber related art in Ghana and I intend to explore it all!
making adinkra cloth
My goal is to stay open and flexible (not my strong suit!).
I’ll report back in a month!