How did 6' of Chaos happen?
As I mentioned the other day, my piece "6' of Chaos" was just invited to show in Quilt National 2021. Here is some info about how it was created. There are three main stages, with many small stages in between.
First there is the photography. I take photos a lot. I have thousands in my computer. Only a few of these will become fiber works. If the photo speaks on its own, it doesn't need more, but some photos are just a recording of WHAT I saw, and not really HOW I saw it. Those photos need the textures and layer of fiber to complete their story.
Secondly is photo manipulation. Sometimes a photo just needs some edits of contrast, or cropping or some minor color adjustments, but sometimes, like in this case, many images are merged together to form a new image. Each is manipulated with my editing program, then merged into one image. The finished file is then sent to be printed on fabric. The photo becomes the starting point; sometimes just an underlying sketch for my finished piece. It is an important step because it is where I make my base color, contrast, and composition decisions.
Finally is the layered construction of the process. This can include layers of additional fabrics either above or below the photo fabric, hand and machine stitching, couching of yarns, fabric paint, or whatever it takes to create the colors or textures that I need for the piece. On some pieces non-fiber items like found objects or produce netting is added.
Together these stages create a unique image and surface for my work;
one that neither photography or fiber could create on their own.
The photo manipulation
After the fabric is returned with the photo printed on it, I start to add the layers of additional colors and textures. I have used some of the same techniques I show on the DEMONSTRATION page, but also some additional ones that are unique to this piece. Below are some detail shots and information about the process(es) used in that area.
A Fat Envelope* day
I have been waiting for today. This is notification day for the Quilt National show. This show is held ever two years, and the show host a variety of contemporary and international art quilts. As with all juried shows, the exhibit slants differently every year, due to the subjective nature of jurying. I have no doubt that each jurist tries their hardest to be fair and that is appreciated, but when compiling a "best of" grouping, it is impossible not to have your own opinions. I say this to recognize the difficulty of being a jurist (I have done so in the advertising world, so I empathize), to console the makers of pieces that may not have been juried in, and to explain my anticipation for the day, because it is always an unknown.
I submitted three pieces to the judging. The first one "Dystopia in the time of Covid" (34wx60h) is based on the "doom and gloom" of the dystopia that is 2020. The dog toy is an image that I had, and the first time I saw a picture of the virus, that is exactly what I thought it looked like. The collage image is printed on chiffon, and behind the chiffon is a grid made from the remnants of the masks I made for the protection of family and friends.
The second piece I submitted was this self portrait, "Just Thinking" (50wx36h). The background of this one is woven fabrics, and the weaving blends into the image via some painting and the stitching. The image itself was printed black and white on a linen-like canvas. It was then hand 'colorized' with fabric paint.
The third piece, "6' of Chaos" (52wx36h) is also influenced by the Covid world we are all now a part of. Our world seems a bit surreal right now, and I wanted to make this piece feel that way. It is a combination of three photos, with stenciled figures and paint as well as layers of fabric, yarns and stitching. It was my hope that this is the one that would be chosen if I was successful with my entry. I tried so many processes to get the textures and images I wanted. I thought the concept was strong, and the quilt techniques were unique in their use, if not their process!
Happily the judges agreed. This will be appearing in the 2021 Quilt National next June through September in Athens, Ohio at the Dairy Barn. Tomorrow, I will write another blog entry about the processes I used to make this one. So if you want to know more, stay tuned!
*"Fat envelope is a carry over from when you were notified be snail mail, not email. The "skinny envelope" contained only a rejection letter, while the "fat envelope" contained the acceptance, show information, and contracts.
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