Sunday, January 27, 2008

Finally finished Hiroshima

I finally finished the long silk and cotton hanging entitled, "Hiroshima". I really let loose on this fabric and as I said in a posting below, I dyed the chiffon, discharged it to the point of destroying fiber, attached it to a cotton underlining, applied metallic paint, applied more fabric paint and then acrylic house paint, sewed, machine stitched, cut and tore holes, reattached pieces of silk here and there, did some more hand stitching and gathering and now it is finished. There was a point where I threw it in the sink all wadded up and just dumped powdered dye and chems on it and left it over night to do something- anything. This is a great example of knowing as an artist that there is potential and a good piece inside there; it just had to be worked and reworked and reworked until it appeared. Sometimes you have to let a piece go as it is just plain overworked and to save yourself time,money and materials you just have to leave it and move on to other things. This one wasn't like that. I knew I had to see it through to the end. I'm glad I did.

Here is a detail again for you to see the layers of color and texture. I really like this piece. Final dimensions are: 27" x 83" (not including the bamboo rod).

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Land of Metallica

Here is a detail shot of a shibori dyed crepe backed silk satin scarf that I then livened up with silver spray paint and the application of fabric paint. It was pretty blah before this so adding the bling-bling helped. And speaking of spray paint...

I never got around to bronzing Joel's baby shoes. What I DID do was spray paint one of his beloved shirts and a pair of old jeans. This was a monumental task. Cotton absorbs paint. I knew within 30 seconds that I was not going to be able to spray paint this whole thing as easily as I thought. I had to dip the whole piece into house paint first to seal the threads and give it a nice base from which to work. Then the spraying began. How many cans? Enough to make the guy at Orchard Supply suspect me of perhaps a bit of illegal activity. "So... gonna be tagging the school? Heh-heh". To which I replied, "Nope. The court house." He said, "Well okay then!" I enjoyed that encounter.
To my son I say, "Joel- this is part of the legacy I am leaving you." Like it?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

And more production-

I have some stories to tell you today about this next set of fabric creations. The silk you see above is crepe backed silk satin that almost got sent to the Woodland landfill this week. About a year ago, I had a customer order 7 yards of this beautiful fabric and wanted it hand dyed blue and purple which I often make for people. Somehow it got away from me and turned out very pastel and not right due to whatever reason; an over sight in measuring or perhaps I forgot to add the right amount of chemicals. Anyway. I had to start over again so I tossed the whole lot of it into a barrel and left it without even rinsing it out; sometimes you just have to walk away and let it all go. A week or so later I had a very intense navy blue run of some cotton and after all was said and done, I tossed the left overs into the barrel with the forgotten silk and then while cleaning, took an old shirt I had used to mop the dye room floor and threw IT into the vat. A week or so after THAT, I tossed in some more blue dye and another t-shirt rag. There it all sat for...get this...almost a year. The barrel got shifted around and I put off taking the stuff out of it and then it migrated behind my drafting table and dried out completely. Then...two days ago it began to smell baaaaaad. I looked and looked for the source of the stinko and found the bucket. I knew it was time to just dump whatever was in there, which I did, but when I saw all that silk in the bottom of the toter it sang to me! "Woah", says I. "Gotta have a look at THAT!" Took it to the sink. Started rinsing. Glory. This silk certainly had time to suck up the dye. Never have I attained such a depth of color on crepe backed silk satin. So....I have 7 yards of it. There is some mottling. Some splots of unusual color. It is going to make one hecka dress. Can't reproduce that one. All those people (like myself)who say silk should NEVER sit in soda ash for more than 6 hours....I've got some news (and fabric) for you....
This piece I call "Hiroshima". There are about 5 yards of it. It's 43" wide. It is silk chiffon that was hand dyed, then discharged which I knew would considerably weakened the fibers in places. Those holes have been enhanced and reinforced with machine stitching. It was then attached to an underlayer of cotton. The whole thing has been redyed many times and several layers of fabric paint and house paint have been applied to help support the weight of the piece and build up it's ability to support itself when hung from a rod. The depth of color is beautiful and ugly at the same time. It reminds me of our time in Hiroshima at the Peace Memorial. Such a beautiful place and such an ugly place. Such peace and such violence. It's so rewarding when you work and work and work on something and almost OVERwork it and then you step back and have to stop before it IS too late. It's a "there it is" kind of moment and you know it's a winner. Satisfying.
This is fairly traditional, eh? I designed this piece because I love fish and wanted to start a series using them as my subject matter. I have one and a half done. I stalled out but may pick it back up some day. The piece sat for a long time until I went to visit Myrna and play in her studio. I took it with me to experiment with machine stitching. Down in the center of the piece where the rocks are is where she started me thread painting with her machine. After about a minute I burst into tears. This was so totally cool and fun and dimensional! How could I not do this to any fabric painting I ever make from here on out???? It certainly rocked my world. Thank you, my friend. She gave me another tool for my fabric making tool belt. This last piece is silk velvet that I shibori dyed today. It is about 36" x 45". I wanted to check a project I have the beginning shibori students attempt in my Quilt University class and have always liked the final results of this exercise. I modified the recipe a touch but have decided to keep it the same for the class. I call this piece "Navajo".

Thanks for looking.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

More art fabs

This piece is done in gutta resist on habotai silk. It is called "Jael". I think I have done about 5 pieces with her as the subject matter now and have about 4 more in me to bring forth before I leave her to rest. Jael is one of my favorite Old Testament women. She was a Hebrew woman who brought one of the generals of the opposition's army into her tent and gave him food and drink. While he was napping, she drove a tent peg through his head! Gotta love her!


This is a shibori dyed piece of cotton using clamps that were moved ever so slightly and then redyed a different color each time. I call it "Lunar Eclipse".
Next is a long cotton panel that I "stuffed and dumped". It's almost 5 yards long and was the test run for an even longer habotai silk piece that follows.
Last one. This was a thrill to make. I did four panels like this; each being quite a bit longer than the cotton but each had it's own dye bath. They were used as backdrops for our church's Easter Sunday celebration. Glorious fun.

Happy dyeing everyone!


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Some new art fabrics-

Here are some new art fabrics I have made for an upcoming event. This first batiked piece is about 3 yards long. I painted on the dyes in various shades of blues and pinks with faint traces of greens and beige.
This piece is crepe backed silk satin that was shibori dyed. If you have ever tried shibori dyeing silk you will know this isn't an easy job. I dyed it a coppery brown and the subtle colors in the folds can't be seen very well in this shot. Sorry. There's purple and green in there in very small sections. This piece resists digital technology.


This is a long run of silk chiffon that was dyed in what I call on my web site, "Special-Stained Glass" but it got away from me during the curing time and came out WAY too red. It is about 6 yards of silk that just got too much color applied in the wrong way so it was a loser UNTIL I decided to splatter metallic fabric paint over the entire run. It shimmers now and makes me happy. Once again I saved a dud with a little time and imagination. No fabric is hopeless. There's always a way to fix it. Inspiration may not be there right away but give it some time.


This is a 3 yard run of cotton that I dyed a very pastel green/turquoise and brown. I wanted it to look like the rust and a copper patina seen on metals left outside for awhile. I then made my own stamps out of soldering wire and thickened some dyes to make a print over lay with the images you see above. The whole cloth reminds me of the deserts of Australia or Arizona/New Mexico.
This last piece for today is habotai silk, hand dyed blue and purple. Then a wash of metallic fabric paint was applied and left to dry. I have to be careful or all my fabs are going to have silver or gold splashed over them. This is habit forming.

More tomorrow.


Saturday, January 19, 2008



Here are some pictures of my latest art projects that are being "generated" for two juried shows that are coming up next month. I have been pretty productive as you can see. This jacket was spray painted gold and then embellished with black fabric paint. There is some small brush work that you can't see on it and I am planning on mounting it with some gold link chain and two gold rods. When I get that finished I will post another picture.



Here is the one I was working on earlier. It's called "She Spilled Her Guts" for obvious reasons. That's a lotta fabric that I braided and stitched together. There is silk chiffon, silk dupion, habotai, raw silk, and some crepe backed silk satin all in the mix- probably about 24 yards of silk total with some gold bling-bling from the Christmas tree and some shattered gold ornament shards in there as well. I'll include a detail picture.
I've really been drawn to metallic paints lately. They are such fun to spray or brush on and then push around on fabric. Now lest you think I am very extravagant to be using all this silk and that I hand dyed it just for this piece of art I have to tell you that all this silk was yardage I had from dyeing runs that went bad or were returned for various reasons from customers who wanted something else. Instead of being miffed about the waste I save it up in case someone else comes along who loves it and visits the studio, or for someone who could use a gift, OR for inspiration that hits me and I need fabric and I need it NOW.

This is a crepe backed silk satin panel called "Cave Painting". It was done using Procion dyes and some black silk fabric dye that is so amazingly funky and BBBBbaaaaaddddddd that I will never use it again. I think that Dharma is discontinuing it because it IS so horrible however....it made a really cool piece of art in spite of its inability to dye silk well as it claimed. I was (and still am) working on perfecting my own black silk dye formula and this stuff is now OFF my list as a possible ingredient. Are you still interested? I really am amazed that people read blogs...especially mine! Okay... if you are still hanging in there with me, this piece I call "Io". I love that name. Pronounce it : "Ee-o". Some very smart person named one of Jupiter's moons Io. In a telescope I think it must be very white because in Greek mythology, Hera (Zeus' jealous wife had her transformed into a white heifer but that has nothing to do with my piece). MY image of what Io really looks like is this! I made this with layers of silk chiffon and silk velvet that I painted and dyed and stuffed and cut and machine stitched all over and sprayed with silver spray paint and then stitched some more and there you have it.

Tomorrow I will show you some art fabric that I have made.

Thanks for looking.


Friday, January 18, 2008

Okay, okay, okay!


So MYRNA gets on the phone and she says, "Marjie! You need to post new stuff on your blog!!!!!" And I says to her, says I: "I can't believe that people go there every day looking for something new. Why would people go there every day and look to see if I've posted something???? Don't they have a life????" So MYRNA says to me,"OF COURSE THEY LOOK, DUMMY. POST SOMETHING NEW!" (She didn't say 'dummy'. I'm exaggerting.)

OKay....let me think of something to show you....Oh, I know. This is a picture of what rock salt does on silk-sometimes.

I am making a lot of new art, as most of you know, and some of it is almost finished. Remember that piece "She Spilled Her Guts"? It's done. Tomorrow- a picture along with a jacket I spray painted a metallic gold and then used fabric paint on top of the gold. Very coolio. Tomorrow. Pictures. I promise.
Happy, Myrna???

Friday, January 4, 2008

Why we make art

Thank you to those who responded to the question in the section below- "Why do you make art?"

Beverley said that it's therapy and something she can do that is separate from her work world. Lorraine said something profound about why she makes art..."because I can". Bognar said it's something she is pulled to, and Anna K said it was an escape. Helen M says it's something she does for herself and demonstrates who she is. Deep! Wonderful thoughts. Bravo! Now here's the next question for you to ponder- but first a picture or two...
This is a tiny (for me) piece I did in Myrna's QU Self Expressions class. Almost everything I did in that class I spray painted silver. I wanted to get away from color and work only on design elements. I am SO powerfully drawn to and centered around color that taking it away was scary but also exhilarating. This piece is made of cardboard, nails, glue, and silk chiffon.

This is the side view of another postcard sized piece that took the idea a few steps further. I used cardboard, nails, push pins, T-pins, and silk claw pins glued to silk that was stuffed and then glued in place. Violent. Scary. Cold. Not something you want to step on in the dark. Felt GOOD making these pieces.



Next question- what aspect of your art work would YOU feel most uneasy about eliminating???? Color? Line? Balance/symmetry? Composition rules? Traditional methods of making art? Your sewing machine? Afraid of not using patterns? Do you make things about the same size every time? Materials-do you use the same stuff over and over again?


About Me

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Woodland, California, United States
I am a fiber artist. I am a teacher. I am a Reverend. I teach, I create, I counsel, I listen.

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