Saturday, May 3, 2008

Dye Studio Tulips Blooming!

In the midst of black and white and gray scale, look at this lovely garden of blossoming reds I started dyeing yesterday to expand my letter forms palette! I'll try a few other techniques today -- these were wet in soda ash, scrunched and then I painted on three bright and dark reds directly with foam brushes.

Days keep flying faster and faster as the May 20th hanging deadline for my exhibition nears, but my enthusiasm seems to stay constant for making two more new pieces before then. New ideas and variations present themselves daily that keep my body in perpetual motion at my studio. The more I immerse myself in fleshing out these ideas, the more intoxicating the possibilities seem to become for continuing experimentation -- including installations and sculptural forms! However, the very real constraints of limited time before "Notations" hangs has cut short my R&D experiments with deconstructing letter forms; Pages 4 is now underway, but returning to my previous methods.

I am trying something new on this piece though. I want to separate each page into the tiny pages but keep the original compositions intact. I am creating the centers individually and will cut and paste them one at a time to the water soluble fabric. I composed them individually after creating a ground fabric with deconstructed screen printing and basically came up with two design options. The first piece is a silk screened bit of graffiti that I photographed in Montreal. It took me a while to realize that the vertical shapes are actually letters that spell a word, I just loved the shape and movement of it! The second variation is a more familiar one for the Pages series, a screen made from an excerpt of found text from a late 1800's woman's diary.

Each one of these blocks, once cut apart, will be surrounded by light fabric pages with light grey text printed on white (so the variation on this piece is to create a unified darker page set on a lighter ground). Today I'll decide whether to use one of the above sets or perhaps combine them in some way. I'll cut and paste up a sample block of each at my studio this morning while I wash out the red fabrics and then decide. My goal is to be ready to cut and paste the blocks on the water soluble fabric by tomorrow.
One of the many lessons I'm learning from this current body of work is to observe how ideas evolve. I have tended, in the past, in trying to move my work forward, to abandon ideas and themes before I invested time and energy in fleshing them out. Dorothy Caldwell said an amazing thing to me about creating a series when I showed her the first Pages piece last June in her class -- make the commitment to stay with a concept and develop a body of work. Make small changes with each new piece in a series rather than huge ones. The evolution of the ideas and theme become a step-by-step process. The connections between the works will become apparent.


  1. I would just like to say how much I am enjoying watching the process of your developing work, and look forward to seeing your end results

  2. As I was looking at your screenprint of an excerpt from the diary of a late 1800s woman, I saw the partial nude body of a woman. Look behind the 'from' and you see her belly and below that her thighs. Don't know if this observation is of any use to you. I love both of the screenprints and the reds are gorgeous.p