While the heat and humidity rose through the weekend and finally turned into thunderstorms and good, soaking rains, I spent three full days at my dye studio silkscreening and then monoprinting, trying some different marks on the fabric surfaces that suggest written marks and/or "pages" to me.
This is an example of one of the pieces that I monoprinted with thickened dyes rolled on Plexiglas. An old piece of plastic construction fencing serves as a resist. Repeating the printing process while removing the plastic and manipulating the dyes created other variations to which I'll add additional layers of dyes or paints.
I got so absorbed in the variations this simple process created that I just kept printing, grabbing piece after piece of any kind of silk I could find laying around. These will all get steamed tomorrow and then I'll hang them up and decide which ones to add more layers to and what those layers might be.
It felt wonderful to have the space and time to work continuously over the three days, especially after the stimulation of teaching last week. One artist friend visited me at lunch time on Friday and gave me a trunk show of fabrics she's dyed and printed and some of the garments she's making them into, which provided yet more creative stimulation. Then another good friend came in on Saturday and worked on my second print table to silkscreen some fabric and work on ideas for a new series.
One of my growing realizations is not only how an individual's commitment to work in a series creates a structure and framework for artistic exploration, but how it also actually creates a feeling of expansion rather than confinement.
Creative minds can be restless, responding continuously to all the visual stimulation that abounds around us -- leading us to jump from one subject and process to another and another. While exploring techniques is richly satisfying, exploring them in relation to a particular theme or subject informs the explorations much more. And the results, rather than leading down a new trail, widen the one we're already on. Everything starts to connect and fit together, sometimes in exciting new ways, sometimes in familiar ones. Even a slight twist can make a huge impact on how the piece "reads", how the work communicates to an audience.
Small changes can be just as significant and interesting as huge, sweeping ones. Perhaps creative people tend to be like kids with their hands in the cookie jar, trying to grab fistfuls and stuff them in their mouths all at once. In contrast, working in a series encourages the artist to savor each bite, allowing a full appreciation of the flavor and texture of each one before moving on to the next.