Tuesday, September 23, 2014

From the kitchen to Istanbul--scraps of fabrics, scraps of ideas PLUS Daniel Gordon and Mickalene Thomas

This is a textile I made from my pile of small scraps --silk, old curtains, wool, velvet, corduroy, old bedspread-- all sewed onto a piece of tea-dyed burlap,

 ...which I then cut into pieces and arranged on yellow burlap-- I like the slashy effect.
The process is self generative: arranging/ attaching/ cutting,  then rearranging/ attaching/ cutting.  It could go on and on, yielding infinite itererations.  Nothing is predetermined, I have no idea of the outcome when I begin.

Here are the same pieces on black wool, looking something like an intersection in a city plan. I could sew them on in this configuration, then cut that textile into pieces which would make yet another new textile. It'a an endless path.


... looking around this week at artists' work that focuses on color, shape and patterns, like the still lifes of  Daniel Gordon

and the landscapes of  Mickalene Thomas  


a photo my niece took in Istanbul this summer....

from which I put together this preliminary"sketch" using cutouts from the screen in her picture. The blue patterned cotton is from India,

one of a set of swatches brought to a friend by her husband who was travelling there in the 1980's.

This project is a new experience for me in that it's "about" something-- a collection of friends' and family relationships and experiences; a husband thinking of his wife when he's away from home, a young person traveling alone for the first time. It's about how we capture memories of our experiences with images and objects.  It's inclusive.

And in contrast to the burlap strips, it's an intentional process, at least partially predetermined from the outset.  I wanted to make something personal for my niece as a college graduation gift, something that includes a piece of her life,  so I suggested using one of her photos to make a textile. Graphically I like what I'm seeing in the mock-up, but am not that excited about cutting pieces from a template.
I wonder about the literalness of this particular interpretation and how comfortable I am with that.

It is however, a gift, and since my niece really likes the mock-up, and I like the photo and that it captures her vision,  I'll continue to work with it and see what happens.  I'm very curious to see what comes out.

A last note about this process-- judging by how much I've just written, there seem to be a lot of words attached to it.  I'm getting tired of words, just wanting to focus more on making things rather than meaning, to pursue the not-quite  ineffable ,  because that's too grand a word.


made with random scraps: 1950-60's pink cotton chrysanthemum fabric from my grandmother Catherine,  brown basket-weave 1950's upholstery fabric, various 1980's woven gray cottons (my sister's pants scraps). The leopard is a 1990's upholstery scrap from a friend's office/library.  Other fabrics include upholstery samples, wool and silk.