Developing an Idea for Textile Art


Thanks to my friend artist Rosa Vera, who sent me these shots after a recent workshop at El Cielo, I have a nice documentation of some design work "in progress." 

This workshop -- designed and executed for a group of four working artists who get together for occassional studio time -- was focused on developing an image through different tools and media, with drawing, cut paper, collage, etc. It was play time with a purpose. 

I was working alongside the group, demonstrating, but also taking my own image of a dried up cactus pad (dessicated after the hard winter freeze) though the process. The final result was a small art quilt -- you'll see that at in the final picture. The only thing I don't have is an image of the original cactus pad -- I'll try to find it and post it later. Thanks Rosa, for the photos.

Above is the final piece, still in progress. I made the thermofax from one of the pen and ink drawings, drew on the cut out shapes for the applique pieces and played with a color palette from some previously monoprinted fabrics. Will try to find the original and the final soon!



How to make an art quilt my way, part 2

When last you saw this quilt ....After being stuck for a time, and being out of town for longer, I finally made some real progress on what is turning out to be someone living an archetypal life between Eve and Our Lady of Guadalupe, complete with pomegranates, of course.

The snake snuck in, though. And a new arm.


When we last left this quilt, it was still on the design table. I got it fused together, and then up on the wall for final fiddling around and problem solving. I also took lots of photos and screened the results on the computer to start the process of thinking how I will trim the finished product -- though That Decision won't really come until the end, after all the quilting.

Next I go to the machine (or machines -- I am considering renting time on the local quilt shop's long arm to do the "first layer" of free motion work. I don't much like it for all the detail work, since I like to change colors of thread. One factor pushing me this way is that it seems my machine is acting up and, gee, I suppose it must be time for a service call.


How to make an art quilt if you're me


Start with color.


I do this a lot. Over and over. Til its right from the beginning. And yes, the studio stays a mess til this part is done.

(and a bit of a notion of an idea, theme, relation to something earlier done)

Continue with shape and composition.

Work from strong suit to strong suit.

Keep it on the table until it's together enough to put on the wall.

(Where I am now.)

Pin up and look. Keep it up. (still to come)

This pomegranate virgin is in my heart, singing of abundance, life force, generousity of spirit. I am holding her in my heart right now.

What is your process? Where is your strong suit? Do you let yourself start there or try to follow someone else's formula for success. I think your main task as an artist is to discover those gifts, honor them, and let them lead your process. Don't believe other people's formulas. Maybe you try them out to see what works and not, but in the end, just as you stitch together your cloth, you stitch together your way  of working. It will be as unique and as personal and as much a part of your "voice" as any other aspect of visual style or content.