Saturday, March 24, 2012

Workshop on Rusting

Don't you just hate when you forget to do something important?  I taught a workshop on rusting last week at SIUE.  Brought home all my show and tell, my bags of goodies, my supplies and the three scarves I did -- and after lecturing students to wash their workshop fabrics, etc. etc.,  I dumped my stuff and went to work on a volunteer project I'm involved with.

One of Professor Laura Strand's experiments on cotton napkin

Eight days later--tonight I was chatting with one of the students who sat in on the first day of the workshop and chided her for not washing her fabric.  Guess what?  I hadn't washed mine.  And some rusting had continued on one I'm sure.  I should have neutralized it right away.  The others not so bad, but then I put two pieces in to soak a while ago.  One was very dark and a lot of the excess seeped into the water and further stained the cloth.  Lesson learned.  You'll see from the pictures how it changed.  Of course I'm looking at it wet now and the  scarves are in the washer now.  Will post an update farther down.

This student wrapped her fabric with a horse bridle made of chain.
Of course that's not my only regret.  I should have been taking pics throughout the workshop or had one of the students do it.  When I remembered my camera was in my purse the work was done and I only got shots of the fabric on the clothesline after students had rinsed their experiments in the textile lab.  Too many things to keep track of.  I was too focused on preparing my slide lecture and forgot to write down the note to take pics.  But all went well.  The students produced some fabulous first time experiments.

Chains were used to make this beautiful piece.  On silk I think.
We had free use of the sculpture yard to experiment wrapping and laying out cloth for rusting.  Of course there was iron all over the place well rusted.  And though there were an abundance of pipes around, several people chose chains to wrap fabric around.

Lisa Forsyth, a fellow fiber artist from St. Louis who was in grad school with me came on the first day to wrap some fabric.  The piece at left is silk organza that was bundled around big washers inserted into folds of the cloth.  She had a 2nd piece but I haven't seen it yet.  I suspect it's the piece wrapped on the pipe in the wagon at the top of page.

Detail of student work on a lopsided piece of organza.  The results were spectacular.  Looks like natural stone


Another beautiful student piece that utilized chains.
In hindsight--we should have been running around documenting what everyone was doing!  I warned students that I rarely document my own work in progress and I know what it was like in grad school and since.  It was always a chore for me despite knowing how important it can be in process oriented tasks. I didn't then and don't now keep a sketch book and only remember to photograph half the time.

In three hours on that first day, there was my lecture, then showing of actual fabrics, followed by instructions and then a move downstairs to the covered sculpture patio to try our experiments.  I demonstrated my wrapping technique but everyone was so excited to get started on their own experiments and there was so little time left in the class that it was a mad dash to grab, consult, wrap and protect with plastic until the next class 2 days later.  At the end of that day I thought it would be a miracle if we had results.  Oh me of little faith!

I'm dying to see the silk gauze piece room to spread it out on the clothesline.  Remarkable results given the transparency of this fabric.  The whole organza piece that I pictured above in detail can be seen on the left.

Shannon Norton, a metalsmith student at SIUE, who also happens to be one of my long ago high school students, came for the first day of the workshop by skipping out on her metals class.  (Thank you Professor Paulette Myers!)  I caught her just as I was packing my car on the last day to leave and urged her to open her bundle before it went to far.  It was Shannon I was chatting with this evening when I realized I hadn't washed my own fabric.

There were 10 or 11 students in the workshop.  My photos have only showcased about half.  Hoping to go back out to SIUE soon to see the end results and more experiments and perhaps sit in on a critique.

My own experiments.  At this point they had not been rinsed...just shaken out and taken home to dry on the line outside.  That was March 15.  They were washed late tonight (23rd).  The design on the left was a complete shock. As the demo piece, it had been done hurriedly with very little tea and no presoak.

The middle scarf as you will see has lost the almost white background near the top because I left it to soak too long instead of doing a straight rinse first.

These 2 details are from the scarf on the left that surprised me.  Though I'd had students presoak their fabric before the experiments were started, I completely forgot about doing it to my fabric.  If memory serves this was spritzed with water, folded, and sprinkled with tea dust in a wavy pattern.  The range of color and design is amazing and I'm anxious to try more dry starts in future.

I usually use vinegar.  And of course I can never predict the outcome anyway.  The pipe was from the sculpture yard and had never been used for this purpose before.  Its special qualities might very well have been unique to the process.

This scarf was done at home for the workshop.  It was wrapped closely around a large spring (perhaps from a garage door?) and tied with string that fit into each groove.  As I wrapped I inserted ivy leaves against the rust.  No clear leaf prints are visible-just vague shapes lighter in color.  The string made some wonderful hazy violet colors.  The range of color in this scarf is also delightful especially with the many little black spots that are created by the spring where the string touches.

I attempted another zebra print using my auger and the results are somewhat similar to a previous scarf, but no near white areas.  In fact this design's lightest areas darkened considerably through the soaking I mentioned doing this evening.  You can see the difference here in this detail from near the top of the scarf as compared with the picture of the scarf on the clothesline.  A lot of purple/violet colors developed throughout the piece as well as rich blacks and some strange greens at the bottom and almost pure yellow as you'll see from the center portion of the scarf. The streaks you see are a result of the auger standing nearly upright while it rusted.  All the juices were running!

The dark is inky black--a result of reduction rather than oxidation.  There is no trace of orange rust on this piece.

Detail 3 of the bottom of my new zebra scarf .  Am puzzling over what created the greenish colors.  It is unique.  String marks seen in other details of this scarf have been obscured by the migration of juices.  

Having done this first workshop I am contemplating the future.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

SDA News Blog makes me giddy! Thanks Marci Rae McDade

Blessings have come my way in more ways than one lately. 

Last week my former professor Laura Strand head of textiles at SIUE invited me to be visiting artist for her advanced students.  (That's a detail of her work to the left which is a collaboration piece using my rusted silk as the weft in her weaving.)  I am excited--yet terrified (as I usually am prior to teaching).  I'm making preparations, pulling out my rusted and organically printed fabrics and typing notes.  The class is next week.  Oh my!  Laura says the class is small, but there is a general invitation being issued to all departments regarding my lecture.  Yikes!

Preparations like this always make me crazy.  I fly around in a tizzy and distract myself endlessly from the task at hand.  So tonight when I was FINALLY going to get something done I checked my email.

And there IT was.  An email from Luanne Rimel at Craft Alliance with the announcement that Marci Rae McDade, now the editor of Surface Design Journal, has finally published an article about last fall's Innovations 2011 in St. Louis, the textile event I've written about in several posts.  Last year my life was consumed in curating and participating in Collaboration: Reaping and Sewing

Composite view of Collaboration: Reaping and Sewing exhibit looking to the back of gallery at Jacoby Arts Center

Innovations encompasses many shows in 20 some galleries around St. Louis and St. Charles in Missouri and Edwardsville and Alton in Illinois.  The openings and run dates of the shows vary quite a bit, some starting as early as August and some running late into November and December.  The biggest event however is the weekend mid September with many openings on Friday, followed by the keynote address and the "in the city" bus tour on Saturday of some 11 galleries and ending with a party for the artists at the private home of some fiber art collectors in St. Louis (an amazing collection!).   It was an exhausting day with several thrills along the way, but perhaps the most interesting of all was hearing Marci Rae McDade's keynote address at the History Museum.  She is a fabulous speaker with a seemingly inexhaustible knowledge of both historical and contemporary textile art.

Marci came along for the ride on the bus tour and I got to meet her briefly.  Thanks to a hint from Jo Stealey who has met Marci before, Marci said she wanted to see the shows in Illinois before returning to Oregon.  I made a few late night phone calls (from the party) and arranged for someone to open the Edwardsville Arts Center the next day which is usually closed on Sundays.  Laura Strand who curated the show there met us and afterwards we all drove up to Alton to see the collaboration show that Jo, Laura and I along with Erin Vigneau Dimick, Nina Ganci and Erin Cork worked on together. 

I can't tell you what a thrill it was to spend nearly 3 hours of private time with Marci that Sunday, getting to discuss my work and that of my colleagues.  She was very encouraging, especially regarding my taking the next step to write about and create a catalog of the show.  Everywhere that weekend, Marci was snapping photographs and taking notes.  She promised that she would include my show in the article and she was true to her word AND HOW!!.

I AM GIDDY!   See the article here.  The best is saved for (almost) last.  Woo hoo.
Love you Marci Rae McDade!
Thank you so much.

OK, back to work...

Friday, March 2, 2012

Opening Night at Edwardsville Arts Center

It's always a thrill to have something accepted into a juried show and now I have an honorable mention to boot.  I had the opportunity to shoot some photos of the exhibition the night before it opened as I happened to be there for a meeting--but the wall tags weren't up yet.

Deirdra Burnside did the large painting in center
Then on Friday night I got some crowd pics and my husband took a photo of me standing next to the piece that won.  There was a great turnout for the reception.  At one point I could hardly move there were so many people in the gallery.  Lots of unfamiliar names among the artists.  I'll have to go back for another look and read some of the artist statements.

It's a fine show.  Robin Hirsch of Art Saint Louis did a fantastic job of selecting art and Dennis Detoye of EAC did a great job installing the 60 works of art that were chosen by Robin.

Juror Robin Hirsch (L) & Pat Quinn, gallery director.  

This was an all media show.  Much of the work was 2-D.  Lots of paintings and mixed media.  I think mine was the only fiber art in the show.
(Andrew Dobson took this photo and the one below on opening night. I know Andrew through Jacoby Arts Center.)

The great thing about openings is that you get to see all your artist friends and spend some time schmoozing.  The bad thing  is you rarely get a chance to really look at the art.  But there are a few stand out pieces by acquaintances that I'd like to share with you--not award winners this time--except in my book. 

Quote the Raven by David Yates (photo courtesy artist)
David Yates and I have known each other for several years through the ArtEast event every fall.  You can see more of David's fascinating paintings at his website.

Painting by Patricia Badman (photo courtesy artist)

Patty Badman is another ArtEast artist that I've gotten to know over the years.  I visited her studio a few years ago and was blown away by her work.  This piece is a stunner, although I forgot to ask her the title of the piece.  She's on facebook at Patricia Badman.

Morning Coffee by Mike Mason.  Mixed Media--digital photo, acrylic and collage (I took this photo myself and hope the color is close to reality.)

Mike Mason is retired from the University Museum at SIUE and he is also a fellow ArtEast artist.  In fact the very first studio/exhibition tour I participated in (I think 2002) my work hung along side Mike's.  His work with digital manipulation is fabulous.  Unfortunately he doesn't have a website.  He began printing on canvas a few years ago and this piece is one of the largest I've seen of his work.  I think it must be at least 5 feet wide. I love it!

My piece Dawn of Life is on the left.
This piece was more of a challenge than I bargained for because of its width.  I measured off a 60" length of fabric and unlike my vertical pieces the selvedge was on the top and bottom leaving my zigzagged sides rather ragged looking.  Dupioni ravels like crazy.  Didn't look nice--so I was forced to hem the edges and by some miracle I managed not to stretch the fabric and it hangs perfectly straight.  Whew!

Here I am trying to look "arty" with Maze of Life that was awarded an honorable mention.
Rejected by Andrew Dobson
Sorry for the reflections in Andrew Dobson's photo at right.  Awfully difficult to photograph something under glass.  I was immediately reminded of a series of photos I saw in the 1980s.  There is a book:  The Red Couch--Portrait of America (check out Amazon) and a video (probably no longer available) that aired on PBS.  I used to show the film to my photo students when I taught high school.  They were all fascinated by the concept as I was.  I love this photo!
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