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.


  1. Hi Carol Ann - Mission accomplished - they are beautiful. They are more compelling than repelling to me to want to take a closer look. I love the tones you've used and the graphic symbology in N1Hi. Fantastic work. Love Always

  2. Thanks for your comment. If you want to see more of my work, I am now blogging on my website!

  3. Oops. Here's the right address