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Thursday, January 09, 2014

New Directions.

Firstly of course, Happy (if belated) New Year!  Our festive season introduced us to a new person, our grand daughter, Cara, who was born shortly before she is on her quilt...well, okay, half her quilt...
The quilt features some of my hand dyes, as well as some hand painted and printed fabric, along with a mixture of commercial fabrics.  I wanted to make something that represents my creative life, as well as something pretty..I think I achieved what I wanted to  The quilting is different in every block, featuring hearts and flowers, as well as a doll like shape, plus some stylised Macintosh roses, for a Scottish baby.  Though Charles Rennie was credited with these, it was, in fact, his wife, Margaret MacDonald, also an artist, who designed such  motifs.  She was a skilled artist, working in textiles and other media.  I hope she'd approve of my use of her motif.  More information about her is to be found here.

But I digress.  As usual.

Last year was difficult, for a variety of reasons, and it looks like this year will be little different.  I've been struggling with the demon depression, and my lovely husband has been struggling with unemployment, also a demon, with its own nasty consequences.  So this year is the year where I don't spend any money, but try to be as creative as possible with what I have, and with what surrounds me.  What I have, is quite substantial; like all quilters, I've got a substantial stash of cloth and threads.  And plenty of ideas about what to do with them!

I've been inspired, recently, by the work of a new Facebook friend, Fabienne Dorsman-Rey; check out some work and an artist's statement by her here .  She kindly suggested the book 'Eco Colour' by India Flint as a starting point, and I was given it for Christmas..  So, any dyeing I do this year, is likely to be of the natural variety.  But I had already started down that path a couple of years ago; if you are familiar with the book 'Exquisite Evolon', you will know that I give instructions for rust dyeing that most flexible of fabrics.  Mainly, though, I have rust dyed silk and cotton, and started a series of work called 'Flotsam', featuring hand stitched rust dyed silk with found objects.  This is the first of the series;

...and here is a detail;

I'm particularly fond of the piece of wood at the bottom of this image; its textures seem to echo the textures created by the hand stitching.  I started out machine stitching this piece, but soon realised that it just didn't look right to me.  Machine stitching gives a hard, regular line, regardless of how you vary the stitch length within the line.  That seemed lacking in the subtlety that the cloth shows, so I removed it, and started again by hand.  I think the piece has benefited from it, regardless of how long it takes.   It is, of course, a good thing to pick up and put down, and to take with me on journeys.  I find myself using hand stitch more and more, either in conjunction with machine stitch, or on its own.  It feels very personal.

So, I have looked out two large pieces of rust dyed silk... more in my next post.


Vicki Miller said...

I love the texture in this piece

marion barnett said...

Thank you, Vicki! I have a passion for texture. I feel that I have succeeded as an artist, at one level at least, if people can't stop themselves touching the work. Textiles are tactile, after all...