Thursday, April 23, 2009

Pecking and Scratching

For two days I felt as though a tornado-like vortex of creative energy had seized me and lifted me into the air. I mixed dyes and colors like a wild woman, working the silk surface on my print table with textural marks and colors. It had sat untouched on the print table for days and suddenly I felt so connected that I barely noticed the passing of time.

The cloth draped to the floor on both ends of the table. I slid it over and back to work on each end.

The details on this piece, before it dried and I could steam and wash it, were enticing and exciting. The concern at this point is what the dyes will look like once the steamed piece dries, since the colors always lighten slightly.

When I completed steaming and washing the first layer and put it up on my design wall to evaluate the progress I was pleased with it, but a bit puzzled by the length. Sorry, my flash keeps washing the full piece out. Why did it seem so long for a 120" piece?? Then I measured it with a tape measure and found out it is 168" long, so I will eventually cut off one of the two ends.

Here's a detail that's a bit more true to the current color and marks and patterning. The surface will evolve as I add more layers, but it's almost exactly what I had envisioned as I was working on it. My inspirations for this piece are ancient Etruscan funerary pot fragments with bits of text incised on their surfaces.

Today I'm doing samples and considering how to get these language marks onto the surface. I've been drawing and painting letterforms with various tools, from sumi brushes to reed pens, knowing that eventually some tool will create marks that convey the spirit of the work.

Here's a detail of another idea I also tried today on my sample cloth -- which is turning into a lovely piece in its own right -- painting on some angled and/or horizontal striations across the long, vertical surface that will suggest fissures or cracks.

Eventually there will be a click and connection and I'll be off and running again, but for now I'll just keep scratching around in the dirt and pecking at possibilities for "what comes next."

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