Friday, October 31, 2008

Auditioning letters


These are paper letters.  I felt like a small child cutting out these letters.  Then I pretended like I was a teacher putting my bulletin board I sharing too much stream of consciousness thinking. 

I decided against the fine line that would have covered the entire piece because I didn't think it was enough of a contrast or focal point even if it was going to be black.  The bold weightier letters I think will work and give a focal point.  Imagine the letters in black instead of gray.   Possibly in transparent paint/ink or sheers.  Then maybe solid black letters would work too.  I'm not going to add the letters until I sew on 2 narrower panels (this panel is 60 inches in length and about 36 in width), 1 on each side.  Would you believe this piece pretty much consumed my hours in the workshop yesterday.  I sat down to meditate on it, and then wrote what I see...I love the colours which I spoke about in the previous post and the depth is top dog groovy!  I love the light/dark contrast.  The numbers I see before the letters (not the paper letters) and I have to work at it to figure out what the letters say.  My hand writing is very faint and I'm slightly disappointed that its that faint and am working on that not occurring in other panels.  My first thought was the whole piece was the focal point and the problem I have with any complex cloth is that it is very hard for me to go/grow past my first heart throb moment when I'm in love with the look and don't want to add another layer for fear of messing it up.  I don't think fear should be the reason I stop or even the rapid beating of my heart...but a piece of cloth should be complete when, when,....ummmm, well, when the piece says it is complete in conjunction with my heart saying so also.  

Ummm, looking at the photo again, I'm going to eliminate one of the letter "r"s and let one "r" be used for both words.  And I'm thinking of eliminating the "the" too.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Slow Processes of Creating Complex Cloth

Creating complex cloth is a slow process.  Since returning from Ohio the way I work is even slower and has changed the way I work to the extent that I've rearranged my work space.  I have a print table permanently set up.  Its too close to my design wall where some finished pieces hang as well as in process fabrics but its what I have and I'm going to work it to its best. 

DSCN3686  DSCN3679  DSCN3685

I spend a lot of time rinsing, soaking, layering, writing, and taking time to commune with the cloth pieces in process.  It hit me earlier in the week why the process is so Ohio we had the benefit of Claire and Leslie doing the grunt work.  I'm working toward getting 15 panels completed so I can have more of a selection in placing panels together for the series.  I'm working on not thinking about the time its taking but just flowing with the processes.


I was thinking that this panel was complete but I'm going to add another layer of my handwriting in a bold black colour with a thin line marker (or maybe thread (hand or machine?), hand work would raise the surface...ummm, more to think over).  This panel I refer to as the "book cover" for the 5 quilts.  When I look at it I want to dance.  Why do I want to dance?  Because the dominant colours remind me of the Rastafarian flag and Rastafarians make me think of Reggae music, thus dancing. 


Here I am dye painting over the larger screened on peaches.  The final colour came out coral...either because I needed to add more soda ash to the water or because the dyes where dead or both.  I'm leaning toward the dead dye because I was still trying to get leverage from the dye stock left in the fridge during the black out.   The peaches where a borrowed image from a poem.  My great grandmother had a peach tree in the back yard.  She came to Kentucky from her birth place of Georgia and grew the tree as symbol and for the produce that she canned.  


Here is the start for another panel.  I decided to write on it first and will over-dye it next. 

DSCN3680  DSCN3688

While I rested and waited for cloth to either batch, dry, or wash...I made stamps and stencils.  How do you keep your personal symbols/icons?  In your head, online folders, or a seperate journal? 

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Working it out

DSCN3665 I painted the back of this experimental piece with dye paint and fell in love with it after I flipped it back over.  It is with this piece that I also concluded I prefer using metallics underneath and not on top...its the on top that makes me describe a piece as too garrish, they often steal the show...I just do no yet know how to handle the metallics in the foreground.  Here is what it looked like before I worked it out from interesting to whooooh!!!!!  The draw back is this is a small piece less than a fat quarter in size...I might be able to replicate will be on my to do list for the coming week.  This is what it looked like before I painted the back side:


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Honoring the Call

for Ron and Crystal...Your talents are your infinite wealth...

Here is Ron's art work on the cover of African American Review...he also has up-coming cover of another scholarly journal due out next year.  He is also preparing for another solo show.   Praying for continued blessings in honoring your calling as artist, my brother.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Unreality Check

Yesterday I drove to my brother's place.  The further I drove away from the city the expanse of commercialism faded away and gave rise to more God-made substances of land, trees, and dirt.  I felt my mind and body relaxing more. 

Sometimes I'm aware that I'm romanticizing living "in the country" and a simpler life but every time I visit Midway, a small left leaning liberal town where people wave and human beings actually still get on their hands and knees to paint parking lines.  Every body picks up their mail at the post office...utility bills are kept in a ledger and the racial balance is enough to give psychic comfort.


Similiar to Berea, the state's arts and crafts capital, Midway feels like an artist's town full of quirky locals.  Ron has been there going on 2 years and his stories fulfill my fantasy. 

The picture below is of downtown Midway...these are shops that depend on tourists stopping in or folks from Lexington getting away for a day.  I've noticed the shops change frequently.  Ron said the owners tend to be from "someplace" else and he is of the opinion that the shop owners that stay are in this for hobby and fun mostly.  The train tracks run right down the center of the street.   And I guess back in the day (original day) this must have been a happening spot right before entering into Lexington.  In my sentimentality I imagine this was a great undercover spot for abolitionists to gather and strategize about their cause...I have no evidence of that but it just feels like that kind of space to me.

DSCN3649  The building in the background in the picture below is a modern day looking apartment building that looks totally out of place.  It was built as an apartment building and still is an apartment building...this is so wrong in Midway where most of the buildings' original intent have given way numerous times to arrive at whats in them now.


In my fantasy, I imagine living there in this house DSCN3658

or this one


secluded somewhere in one of the rooms making great quilted art and wrestling poems from the tip of my pen.  Family and friends would begin to worry if I'm still lucid and sane because I never leave the house and its been years since they've seen me but they would know that I'm having solo shows throughout the U.S. which is a sign that I must not be too "off".  Somewhere around the age of 125 I would sit down in my comfy chair (the same one I got off of Craigslist back in 2008) for some hand sewing and drift off to sleep and never wake up.  The End.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Kinetic Energy continued

I wish I had taken a photo of my packed to the roof and from side to side with all the supplies of Valerie White and mine...of course heading from Louisville the kudos for packing it all in belong to our men but hey, we didn't do a too shabby of a job packing to return home. 

The fact that I shared this time with Valerie and Juanita, in its own unique and delightful way, was a socially creative phenomenon!  I mean what are the chances that we all would take the same workshop and all 3 of us, uniquely different in style, would come away feeling the workshop was incredibly worth every single moment!

This past week I've had what I would call one productive day in my workshop.  I adjusted the height of one of my folding table to waist level and will use it as a work bench.  I switched the position of this table and the cutting/ironing table and am looking for a cheap-to-free rectangle wood kitchen table to place the top of the cutting/ironing top onto...the folding legs that came with it are too wobbly.  And I'm leaning toward ordering this for my sewing machine.  On the same day I made the adjustments I took the dye stocks that where in the fridge during the 7 day power outage and tried them far the one I tried showed no signs of diminished colour.  So I'm going to try to use them up dyeing painting shades of greens, yellows, and reds.  Instead of selecting a panel of each colour for creating complex cloth for the remaining quilts in the Poetry Series, I'm going to create multiples of 5 of each colour and then work on them and then select 1 of each colour to make up the panels in each quilt. 

The weekend has been spent resting so I hope to have at least 3 productive days this coming week.

Phoning for Obama/Biden

Friday morning Petra and I headed to one of our favorite spots for breakfast:

DSCN3637  I tried something new:


(I prepared my own version of this for brunch today...two fried eggs with sauteed seasoned steak and tomato-pepper relish on top, hash brown casserole and sourdough toast.)


We called those on the registered Democratic list for the city of Indianapolis...there were a lot of disconnected phone lines and unanswered calls due to the time of day we imagined.  The few I spoke with of the 150 calls were mostly enthusiastic for Obama.  I spoke with one undecided who was leaning toward McCain but after he saw the debate he was questioning if it was the right thing to do with him being a teamster and all. I did my best to affirm him redirecting his vote :)  I came across a few crabs who firmly stated they where strong for McCain and not to call any more (to restate it pleasantly). And one woman yelled that it was none of my business (again restating it pleasantly) who she was voting forAlrighty then, moving right along....


Here I am with Kenya who works in the office:


The next time I go back I'm taking my 16 year old son. 


Saturday, October 11, 2008

KE=(1/2)mv to the second power

Beginning with the ride home last Saturday I've been trying to put into words the description and impact  of spending one week at the Crow Timber Barn with Leslie Morgan's and Claire Benn's Working with Intent has had on me and I can't find the words.  To discuss it in terms of techniques learned seems to trivialize the whole of it; to talk about it in terms of their enthusiasm and energy my words don't measure up; to discuss it in terms of how my mind and vision were stretched and latched on seems to elevate it to a spiritual experience.  Taking the workshop was like somehow being a part of their formula for kinetic energy.  So with that said I'll just share photos taken because at this point its a good beginning.  Over the course of time and my work, the experience will grow and hopefully become one I can give justice towards when speaking/writing about it.

Pinning fabric to the bench

Me at the barn2 

Breakdown Printing

Me at the barn3 

Debbie, Juanita, and Karen R. in consult


Leslie giving critic to Karen R.


Claire surveying the room


With much respect I will state that Claire and Leslie are truly among the few hardest working women I have ever encountered in any arena.  To read the perspective of other bloggers who attended check out  Juanita  and Debbie.

But no one's energy during that week would have sustained without the extraordinary healthy, nutritious, and delicious meals prepared by the heart and hands of Margaret Wolf!


The next post will be a brief documentation of my day yesterday as a phone surveyor for the Obama campaign.