Friday, October 18, 2013

Dorothy Caldwell Workshop

I was lucky this year to get into the workshop of my dreams--the Dorothy Caldwell Mark Making workshop at Nancy Crow's art barn in Ohio.

It was worth the price of admission just to worship at the shrine of Dorothy's work.  I spent lots of time returning to this gorgeous wall, trying to absorb it all.

Along with her own work, Dorothy set up displays of world textiles and mark making.  She shares a wealth of information about the processes and stories behind these pieces.

 This beautiful red and black piece was a gift from Dorothy's Australian students.
Besides just gazing in awe, we did work, and lots of it.  We stitched, drew, pierced, painted, waxed, discharged, burnt and in general made marks in every way we could.  This is a collection of the class's randomly stitched pieces.

 We went from working minutely to working outside on large scale paintings.   Mine is on the left.

I really want to show all the beautiful work that was produced in class.  It was amazing how much variety came out even when all we did was make a single mark on the page.  We did, however, agree not to post each other's finished work.  Here is a glimpse of some of the gorgeous piles of materials around the room.

My table as I start to assemble my main book.

Our main project was putting together a book of samples of all the techniques we covered in the week.  The assembly of the book was especially challenging as we tried to get the pages to flow from one to the other and read cohesively.  Here are some of my pages.

I loved that I was working without a plan, but after working on about 4 pages, I found that there was a theme of flight and eggs developing.  My mind has been on empty nest syndrome a lot lately as my boys get closer to leaving home.  It's funny what shows up even when we're not conscious of it.  I went with it and made my cover with that in mind.

Working with Dorothy was a fabulous experience.  She has a beautiful, quiet way about her and an almost childlike wonder about every mark she sees.   I have always found her work deeply soulful, and after hearing about her process and her connection to the land, I understand where that comes from.  A generous and amazingly talented woman who will inspire me for years!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

I made a grungy Valentine this year with a nod to roses, X signs and lace.

Hard to believe that I need any help making messy things, but I found this great stencil.  I've done my own blobs and drips in the past, but found this really helpful in controlling exactly where the mess ends up.  Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Moon Garden

I finally finished this piece I've been working on for a while.  It's titled "Moon Garden" and is the first in a series I want to do called "The Secret Garden."

In my last post, I was pondering several problem areas, and Suzanne suggested I flip it.  I did and that seemed to solve a number of problems.  Of course, it caused a few new ones, but with some readjusting and adding more weight to the bottom, I'm happy with it.  (Thanks Suzanne!)  I also changed the too light area at the middle to integrate the whole piece better.  Finished size is 9"x34".

Besides a few handpainted bits, it's made entirely out of scraps I scrounged--old sari fabrics and scraps left behind at a quilting store.  Nothing makes me happier than making something for nothing!

My goal for this piece was to experiment with getting a more painterly look in fabric, trying to keep things loose and spontaneous looking and playing with soft and hard edges.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Work in Progress, finally

I was so happy when my art group decided not to continue our holiday show because it would allow me time to work on bigger, more complex pieces.  Of course, I quickly found out that freedom + challenge = artistic paralysis for me.  After sitting and contemplating for way too long, I finally started getting back on track after taking a fabulous 5 day workshop with Sue Benner.    I could go on and on about everything I loved about the workshop, but I especially appreciated Sue's willingness to work with us individually towards our own personal goals.  For me,  that meant experimenting with ways to keep fiber work looking loose, more painterly and also incorporating in handstitching and mark making.

I began this piece in Sue's workshop and am really enjoying the process of it.  There are many challenges in trying to figure out how to do Sue's method of fabric fusing while keeping the loose edges I like and also being able to incorporate handstitching on top of it.

I'm working on this in two sections.  The top half is above and has the hand stitching done.  The lower half is ready to be hand stitched.

They will go together into a long, narrow piece something like this, probably with a smooth edge all around as on the left.  (the gray frame is the background I shot it on.)

Now looking at the photo, I'm bugged by the light area in the middle, and I'm kind of liking the gray frame, and I can see adding more weight to the bottom......This one might keep me busy for a while.