Sunday, May 23, 2010

The F Word: Fiber

My semi-solo show opened on Friday and more than 175 people came to our reception.
Rossi and I collaborated on two huge pieces measuring 72" high by 76"wide and these were hung in the front of the gallery so these were the first pieces seen when people walked thrugh the front door.

Our show was all about fiber -- my pieces were made from fabric and thread and Roxanne's pieces were made from hand-made paper. Even though our studios are next to each other and we visit each other all the time, we worked separately and didn't know how it s all going to come together in the end but we got many comments about how well our work complimented each other's. Surprise!

For the pieces we collaborated on, we chose a black and white color scheme. Here are photos of the two large pieces.

This one shows the piece on "my" side of the gallery.

This picture shows the other piece hanging on Roxanne's side of the gallery.

This picture shows some of my other pieces.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Dream Rocket Project

There's an artist in Alabama named Jennifer Marsh who founded the International Fiber Collaborative in 2007. She's a woman with BIG ideas. Her first project was covering a gas station with fiber panels.

Gas Station Project

Her next project was creating a tree with more than 30,000 fiber leaves (I contributed 10 leaves).

Completed Tree Daytime

And now, she wants to cover a Saturn Rocket with more than 8,000 2' x 2' fiber panels.

So I made one and here it is:

There are several themes participating artists can choose from. I chose Space.

Here's what I wrote about my inspiration:

I will never forget sitting in front of our TV and watching man land on the moon. It was a dream come true. Ever since, I have been fascinated with space. My dream is that when we finally meet other intelligent species in outer space, that they can teach us how to live in peace on our own planet and with others in the universe.

Here's what I wrote about the panel:

This panel was made from a photograph taken by the Hubble Telescope of the Orion Nebula, M42, NGC 1976. I downloaded a copyright-free photo and sent it Spoonflower a company that specializes in printing photos on fabric. I tiled and mirrored the image so it fit onto one yard of fabric. I then selected a 24 inch square of the fabric, layered it with fusible fleece and a cotton backing and machine quilted all three layers together. I added some Swarovski crystals to evoke the shining stars and finished the edges with rattail binding.

Fun Fact

If you turn this piece upside down, you will see a picture of an alien!

Visit this website to sign up and participate!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Rusting Fabric

Last summer, I fell in love with rusting fabric. Unfortunately, I live in a very clean city and no matter where I looked, I couldn't find any rusted objects. So I actually ended up buying my first rusted objects online. Imagine!

Now, my garage is full of plates, nails, horse shoes, gears, metal sheets, you name it, I have it! I experimented with white and colored fabric and decided a combination of these gave me a great palate to work with. Not only did I love the surprising results each time, but using this fabric in my art quilts also gave me great ideas for enhancing the marks with machine quilting.

Here's how I rust fabric. (I do this outdoors because of the smell).

Mix 1/2 water and 1/2 vinegar into a spray bottle. I wrap the fabric with the rusted objects and spray until it's soaking wet. Cover with plastic and let it sit for 24 hours. If it dries out, spray with more mixture. Unwrap the fabric and if you like it, it's done! If not, re-wrap with different objects, spray and wait another 24 hours. you can keep doing this until you get the affect you are looking for.

When it is just right, put the fabric into a bucket of water and add 1/2 c salt and let it sit for an hour or so and then wash the fabric with soap & water in your washing machine. I like to let it air dry or I use an iron to get rid of the wrinkles.

Two of the art quilts I made from this fabric were featured in American Quilter Magazine in January 2010. Here are the two quilts that were featured. This one is called Universe.

This one is Earth & Sky.

I was thrilled to have Earth & Sky selected for the Rust-Tex Collection curated by Lois Jarvis. It was awarded Honorable Mention for design. This show will be traveling worldwide over the next year, starting in Chicago at the Spring International Quilt Festival.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Working Small

I envy my friends who work in other mediums than fiber. It seems like it takes me many more hours to complete a piece than a watercolorist or acrylic painter. I was looking over my "inventory" of work I have completed over the last several years and only 10-12 medium to large works per year.

But last year, I realized I could create a lot more work if I limited myself to 12" squares. By doing that, I found I could experiment more and if it didn't work I could throw it out without feeling bad about all the work I put into it! I also realized that these "small works" could be studies for larger works.

Here's an example.

When SAQA issued a call for entry to "Art Meets Science" I immediately thought of doing a piece about the Swine Flu. I went to the Center for Disease Control and found a microscopic photo of the virus. Here's what it looks like.

Kind of beautiful! I printed off several copies of this image on white fabric and started to think about what I wanted to say.

This is in the fall of 2009 and everyone was worried about this potential epidemic. Being in the low-risk group (too old!) I wasn't even thinking about getting vaccinated so I was more
worried about a public panic than getting sick.

I wanted to make a piece that would be beautiful and interesting but when people saw what it was, they would back away with fright. So I decided to show one of the swine flu cells in the center of a four petri dished, show how these cells are multiplying at a great rate and then have tentacles overflowing in a meandering pattern to show how this virus will reach everywhere. Scary right? Here's the piece I made for the show.

It's called "H1N1".

But while it was hanging on my design wall, I got another idea. Why not make it benign -- just a part of nature.

So I made a 12" x 12" piece called "Swine Flu Flowers". Here it is.

I used it as a study for a larger piece which I also made for the contest. This is called "Swine Flu Garden".
I am happy to say that both pieces were juried into this show which will have its debut in Birmingham, England in August of 2010. I am donating the 12" piece to the SAQA Auction to raise money for their organization.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Jumping Ahead

I've decided writing my history is just too boring and uninspiring so I'm just going to start writing about whatever comes to mind and tonight, I'm going to talk about two shows I saw tonight: Connecting Threads is at the Longmont Museum and Stitch.Design.Art is at the Old Firehouse Art Center, also in Longmont, CO. Both are wonderful exhibitions of cutting edge fiber art.

I have a piece in both shows.

Here is the one hanging in the Front Range Contemporary Quilt show at the Longmont Museum. (yes, this is a picture of me too.)

Here is my piece at the Stitch.Design.Art show:

This is the piece in the SAQA Stitch.Design.Art show and shows my current work. I am in the midst of doing a series of deconstructed silk screen prints (aka Kerr Grabrowski) combined with surface design techniques (aka Jane Dunnewold) and my own freehand machine stitching.

And I'm loving it. The process and the results.

Deidre Adams said to me "when you find your passion, the work just flows." and she was right. I have so many ideas right now, I can hardly stop working.

I finished two new pieces in less than two weeks -- unheard of in fiber art! But, my semi-solo show is coming up in May 2010 so I still have a lot of work to do.