Sunday, April 13, 2014


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Endnote: Last weekend, I saw "Beyond Love", a fantastic exhibition curated by the Whitney of Robert Indiana's work at the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, TX.  It peaked my curiosity enough to do a little research on my own ,and I came across the photo of him with his work in his home in Maine.

Love the mix of old and beyond new. It makes me think about how the things we are surrounded by--  the houses we live in and the furniture we sit in--  may reflect a very different sensibility from that of our internal world.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


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This week I expanded on the idea of drawing and sewing  by experimenting with drawing in marker on cotton canvas and mixing it up with cut-outs, drawing and embroidery.   I like the contrast of the whiteness and flatness of the drawing against the chaos of colors, textures, and patterns.  The bird reads clearly as a simple image in the middle of  a bunch of complicated stuff (wording maybe not so eloquent but gets the point across.)  

I'm interested in how we take in and experience what we see--  in this case there's the cognition/identification of the "thing"-- the bird, as well as the sensations evoked by colors, patterns, textures, movement. 

Here's an earlier version before I added the sheer printed fabric on the back. The green slash on the left, which I like, got covered up, so I'm thinking of slicing through the overlay fabric to expose it-- one of those things you don't see until you look at successive photos.
...and another version showing the brain opened up, so to speak.  Ultimately I decided to make it uniform-- smoothed out Italian linen not a bad metaphor for a mind state.

Last week I drew this bird on canvas, and put a tiger in it's square-- peaceable kingdom? Interesting how narratives can evolve depending on what fabrics are on hand.  The color swatch triangles printed on the selvage reminded me of writing or language, so I used them as the title.

 Here's an experiment with different inks,  pens,  and a soak-stain of acrylic wash on old cotton curtain lining fabric. I really love the way it bled into the fibers.

The lining of my lamp shade deteriorating  after what, 70, 80 years? isn't exactly an experiment,  but it's certainly created a new lighting effect.  .

                     Here I drew one of the birds with a marker instead of the pen I usually use. The heavier line gave it a comic-book character quality, like a super-hero, so I added an energy field and named it "aura bird".

--- more birds in squares drawn on old cotton sheets:

On a shopping note, I scored this large scale, digital-print silk remnant at the Austin Fabric Co-op , which will make a great scarf.  I love scarves and am happy to now have one with the words "Hot Pizza" and "Italian Sausage" written on it.

I was playing around with it,  tying it in different ways--  bet I'll never get it tied exactly this same way again with the beautiful bit of blue-green turned out at the knot-- such is the nature of experiments.

.... a couple of photos I have up in my studio - the revolutionary early 20thc fashion designer, Emile Floge (left), and the Irish poet Seamus Heaney with a quote from his poem "The Gifts of Rain" .  

.....and  Emilie Floge  with her best friend and life companion,  the artist Gustav Klimt-- great robes,  not to mention those wicker chairs.

              and the two of them knocking around -- Emilie wearing one of her own experiments.
Just wow.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Drawing, sewing, Queene Anne of Hungary and Audrey Hepburn

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This week I experimented with drawing a bird -- about 13"x13"-- in Magic Marker on the cotton lining of some old curtains, and then appliqueing around it.  By using two sheets of the cotton, I was able to cut back into layers a la molas textiles, keeping the line of the drawing, and fill in the spaces between. It was interesting to start directly with the drawing this time, as opposed to cutting shapes from a pattern for the applique.  This process feels closer to painting to me -- starting with a drawing and filling in color with patches and "strokes" like the stripes above.

I'm obsessed with black shapes on color and pattern, as seen here in this portrait of  Queen Anne of Hungary by Hans Maler zu Scwhaz .  Love the ormanment hanging off the hat.

then there's this drawing I did when I was five that's all about clearly outlined shapes-- note the black--

taken from this cover for stories, now lost -- wonder what I was writing about then-- also an early interest in birds, storks in hats with baskets, anyway.

                                          or this Playschool puzzle that was daily activity for me when I was little.

Can't miss the similarity to original drawing.

As soon as I finished it I thought-- "Audrey"

guess it was the eye.

When I started stitching patterns on the face, I was thinking of Maori facial tattoos

which I was also thinking about when I did this textile in 2011.

This week I laid out my drawings-- done on old cotton sheets-- on my dresser.  There's something about the small originals that I find so endearing that I feel is lost in the translation to textile.

Or maybe I shouldn't compare, just look at them as two separate entities-- apples and oranges.

This is what the textile looked like pinned together just before I began sewing.
I enjoyed making this textile but am not sure how I feel about the result -- there's something jarring and maybe even kind of kitsch about it, which might make it interesting,or not. Do I like it? Does it fit with my idea of beauty? Sometimes things just have to sit for awhile before I know what I think.   I did enjoy this process,  the direct, and what to me felt like a natural progression from drawing to sewing.