Never have I cried so much during the making of a piece.
I have cried out of complete frustration but never from sadness and loss. I miss my auntie and making this piece about her was hard. Throughout the process, stomach I was flooded with memories of her, her beautiful smile and how she stayed a bright light until the bitter end. In the moments when I felt like I was going to get emotional I just walked away and took a break. However, the process (and emotion) caught up with me last week. I had just thought gleefully to myself, “The end is near!” and, as if on cue, warp threads started to snap. 1-2-3-4…and finally 5. I lost it. Emotion gushed silently out of my eyes.
I now find myself in a position of unknowing. This piece is raw and ugly. I don’t think I like it but it is over. I am relieved.
I have been trying to develop my hand sewing further into ideas for garments. My interest in slow cloth and slow fashion .After studying fashion design my interest in garment making never completely left. Though I often find myself caught up in the negativity surrounding the fashion industry due to its negative social and environmental impacts, dosage I now see clothing as having great potential for growth and development. Clothing is a necessity, and it can impact every home and every person. My love of handsewn garments and handmade cloth is driven by choice to slow down, to meditate, and to appreciate beauty in simplicity.
These feelings I have towards cloth and fashion are the inspiration for my a few of my final pieces that will incorporate small stencils and applique on linen tunics. There will be more about this project soon.
In attempt to push the concepts and approaches further in my larger scale pieces I tackled a couple smaller explorations. What has so far resulted are much more exciting new compositions and ideas for me.
Opposed to constructing the compositions I did some research in surrealist automatic drawings. What this meant for me is to allow the drawing to happen. By holding my pen loosely and closer to the end I allowed my mark making to react more freely on the paper.
These focused less on filling up the surface on the cloth and instead making impressions in a certain location. Visual elements from nature were considered in the construction of the drawings and translation on to the cloth.
Muted colours are used in the 3 completed embroideries as well as indigo dyed threads.
The result from this experimentation has been very motivating for me to continue with this approach. The spontaneous solutions feel much more successful and gratifying than the compositions that are less intuitive. I am excited by the potential of this technique to affect my large scale pieces already in progress in a impromptu manner.
Yesterday in our Directed Studio class we were reviewing our artist statements and having a fairly good discussion about “our voice” as it pertains to “our work”. Honestly, viagra dosage my voice can be a little meek, drug a little understated. I have a hard time telling people why I do what I do and what it means. Generally, info it’s personal and I don’t want to talk about it. Actually, I do want to talk about it but it makes me feel a bit squirrely, I have a hard time keeping eye contact, I do weird things with my limbs, my thoughts get swirly, I ramble. It’s easier to make “the thing” and leave it out “there” so I don’t have to talk about it with actual words.
I have been told so many times that you can’t tell people what they are seeing or tell them what they should be feeling when they experience your work. I took that to heart. I never speak for the collective, I speak of myself. Yesterday, a classmate and friend, said to me “Change some of your I’s and My’s for We’s and Our’s”. I found something powerful in that very simple correction. Yes, our feelings and motivation for creating art are own but we do exist as part of a collective whole. When we put our work “out there” it is bound to connect to someone.
(Like how Moby, my friend Layne and I all connected today. Oh, and I’m totally the little bald kid in this video.)
Armi Ratia, visit this site founder and managing director of Marimekko. Photo: Teppo Lipasti, medicine 1975
Source: https://www.textilemuseum.ca/exhibitions/past-exhibitions/marimekko, malady -with-love
Lately in my practice I’ve been thinking about what has influenced my interest and love for hand-printed textiles. While I was deep in my research and thoughts this weekend, I remembered the “Marimekko, With Love” show I was fortunate enough to attend in the winter of 2013. The show took place at the Textile Museum of Canada in Toronto, Ontario. The quote above popped into my head recently, reminding me of how much this show has had an impact on me, inspiring my work and my design philosophies to this day.
The show was a retrospective look at the famed Finnish design company, Marimekko, founded by Armi Ratia and her husband Viljo in 1951 in Helsinki, Finland. The show explored Marimekko’s uniquely integrated design, manufacturing and marketing. The Toronto Star said the company’s focus was on “style, creative living and bright patterns in a society recovering from the Second World War.” Marimekko’s prints and patterns suited the emerging visual arts landscape of the 1950s and 60s.
The article also stated that “its designer Maija Isola, who created the classic poppy pattern, Unikko, often took cues from nature. Her Lokki design-think horizontal wavy lines- was inspired by a seagull’s shadow flying over water.”
Finding inspiration in one’s surrounding environment hits close to home.
Karelia (Front Street), opening party. Photo: Wollin Gustavs Kayari, c. 1960
“Marimekko introduced boldness and experimentation that left an indelible imprint immediately,” says Shauna McCabe, executive director of the Textile Museum of Canada. “The founder, Armi Ratia, had an encompassing vision about the power of design in everyday life.”
Who wouldn’t fall for these bright, bold and powerful patterns?
Printex printing mill in Helsinki.
I won’t lie I’m a bit of a perfectionist with my work. When I have a picture or idea in my mind for a piece I set out to create it – EXACTLY. Are my pieces always perfect when I am done? Not yet and probably never. Perfection is unattainable. I don’t actually believe “perfection” exists but, store sadly, that doesn’t seem to stop me from trying to find it. To avoid disappointing myself by the minute I have come to define perfection as those things I am able to accept and love as “perfectly imperfect”.
In my most recent piece, The unfinished business of a near perfect mind, OR, Portrait of a Boy my struggle with perfection was different. I intentionally set out to make this weaving “imperfect”. In fact, in order for the piece to be “perfect” it couldn’t be. The struggle to intentionally pull threads out of place, to purposely leave broken threads as they snapped, to beat unevenly all tortured me throughout the making of this piece…until it didn’t.
At some point I stopped fighting and just accepted what was happening. I realised that I can’t really control the imperfect. I can’t make a plan to make mistakes and mishaps beautiful or easy to deal. I can only try to work with it and adapt to the challenges as they arise. The thing about life, and art, is there is always beauty to be found. The trick is being brave enough to have faith that the “perfectly imperfect” will be exactly what you need.
Our hands contain some of the densest nerve endings on the body and are our best instruments for tactile exploration. Because of their ideal capability positioning we most often associate the hands with the sense of touch. As humans we socially recognise hand gestures as a sign of communication and despite our contemporary society of iPhones and e-tablets, global burden of disease
the handshake remains the best handheld communication device.
With my embroidered hands series, diagnosis I want to use our multi-fingered organs to communicate the controversial issue of materialism, specifically plastic overproduction. Our hands are bridges between the external and internal. We touch countless surfaces each day, with our brains processing the sensations and interpreting what objects are. So how do we react to a manmade, non-biodegradable waste material such as plastic?
Plastic is used by millions of people every day and often discarded after single use. Water bottles, grocery bags, dental floss, spice containers, take-away containers, shampoo bottles – these are all products we use differently with our hands because of their varying purposes. In each single panel piece I recreate a spectrum of hand positions interacting with plastic products based on first hand observation, using used plastic. So how do we feel when we touch something that is killing our planet? What does this communicate?
On the weekend I was busy cooking up a variety of colours for a natural dye printing sampler. This sampler shows thirty colours and eleven different modifiers making for a grand total of three hundred and thirty circlers. The modifers include: Cream of Tartar, sick Soda Ash, information pills Citric Acid, store Alum and Iron. The natural dye colours include: Weld, Buckthorn, Chamomile, Golden Rod, Osage, Marigold, Gallnut, Sumac, Madder, Lac, Brazilwood, Logwood, Henna and Black Walnut. I mixed a variety of these saturate dye pastes together to get secondary colours. I also mixed various ratios of alum and iron paste together, this creates the darker grey colours that appear on the cloth below. I will be teaching an introduction to printing with natural dyes workshop next semester, so stay tuned if you are interested in signing up. I received a grant from ACAD to teach this workshop so there will be no costs to students!
Above is a shot of the dye colours before I’ve added the modifiers.
Above is a shot of the dye colours with the modifiers.
Breakdown and Polychromatic Printing with Natural Dyes!
For one of my projects I’ve been experimenting with two silk screen techniques called polychromatic and breakdown printing.
In polychromatic printing you use dye water to paint directly on the screen wait for the screen to dry then transfer your mark making/painting onto the cloth. You can get lovely textures from using different brushes and the marks appear light and watery. You can add multiple layers of dye water onto your screen but you must wait for your screen to completely dry before you add another layer. Adding multiple layers of dye colour will create brighter and more saturate results.
In breakdown printing you use thicken dye paste and paint directly onto your silk screen. You can play around with the thickness of your dye and add found textures like bubble wrap or lace. Let the screen dry overnight and then use it for printing the next day. Using the thicken dye pastes causes a resist on your screen. You can print about four or five times with the same screen before your thickened dye disappears.
Here are some process shots of printing from the weekend!
Since very few of you have actually seen my work I felt that it might be a good idea to show you some of what I have done in the past. The project that essentially started it all is entitled “17 Minutes”, sickness which, sildenafil 3 years ago, search was statistically how often a woman in Canada was subjected to sexual assault. I found out this statistic shortly after I started working on this project, Laura Vickerson left an incredibly informative (and horrifying) article on my desk about sexual violence in Canada. Did you know that in legal terms in Canada we do not label unwanted sex as “rape”? In Canada we have “sexual assault” which is broken into 3 levels:
Sexual assault level 1 is committed in a sexual situation and compromises the sexual integrity of the victim. The victim is subject to minor or no physical injury.
Sexual assault level 2 involves weapons, threats or bodily harm
Sexual assault level 3 involves permanent and/or life-threatening injury to the victim
The Kiswa is the cloth that cover the Kaba (square structure in the holy city of Macca, Phimosis
Suadia Arabia). Through out history the cloth came from city such as Baghada, Egypt and Yemen depending on who had greater influence in Mecca at the time. The Kiswa consumes about 700kg of silk that has been imported from Italy and Germany and 120kg of gold and silver threads. The Kiswa is now manufactured in Sadia Arabia and takes about 10 months. Every year the old Kiswa is taken down and cut into pieces which are given to visiting foreign dignitaries and organizations
I have been seduced by clay within the last year and I am constantly looking for connections, stuff possibilities, herbal and relationships to textiles and fibre. I have found that there are many connections in processes,materials. Last year I did some research into slip casting and burning out textiles leaving ghost like fabric impressions (left image).
I recently found this small group of artists that form Atelier Murmur. Wang Zhuo, Jiang Xinhe, Sun Jinjin work collectively from Hangzhou, China. Their ceramics are who found a clever way to use fabric dying and combine it with slip casting. Instead of traditional glaze application, they dye textiles with mineral pigments then incorporate them right into the slip casting process. I love the subtle dye-like impressions left from the textiles. The play on soft textile and hard porcelain surfaces is really unique.
A lot of my inspiration has always come from nature. This past summer working in a greenhouse I had the opportunity not only work with plants but also enjoy the beauty nature truly can offer. I have been playing with photos of geraniums and using them as the subjects for katagami stencils this year.
My understanding of stencil design and proper execution is still in progress. I am hoping that by committing to it for a full year that I can dramatically improve my skills. There are definite challenges that I recently encountered prepping the nori paste for stenciling. Making nori sounds easy, health
but mixing it takes alot of commitment. Just picture mixing the tackiest glue you can think of until you arms are so tired they want to fall off.
Also, about it
when you are working with a tiny vat, pill
you have to get really creative with hangers.
A couple weeks ago Mackenzie recommended that I check out the book Slow Stitch by Claire Wellesley-Smith. Not only does it have a deliciously soft cover, search it’s filled with genuinely beautiful photography of a variety of textile practices including quilting, this site patchwork, kantha, boro, mending and darning. All of these techniques are drawn together to discuss the concept the slow movement and the role that stitching plays within it.
The book showcases work by the author as well as other international textile artists seeking contemplative approaches to their practices. Throughout Slow Stitch Wellesley-Smith documents her stitch journal which is a combination of seasonal observation and time spent thinking. When the cloth is filled she stitches on another panel, it is a process that is without a time limit, outcomes or a projected result.
All threads are naturally dyed.
Examining artists within the book and others not included I have been thinking more about projects that are never truly finished. There are always more elements to be added or taken away. Slow Stitch has also provided me with the confidence to accept imagery in my own work as not necessarily depicting anything in particular except the process of creating and stitching to achieve content.
Slowly making progress covering the length of the cloth.
I won’t lie I’m a bit of a perfectionist with my work. When I have a picture or idea in my mind for a piece I set out to create it – EXACTLY. Are my pieces always perfect when I am done? Not yet and probably never. Perfection is unattainable. I don’t actually believe “perfection” exists but, website
that doesn’t seem to stop me from trying to find it. To avoid disappointing myself by the minute I have come to define perfection as those things I am able to accept and love as “perfectly imperfect”.
In my most recent piece, The unfinished business of a near perfect mind, OR, Portrait of a Boy, my struggle with perfection is different. I intentionally set out to make this weaving “imperfect”. In fact, in order for the piece to be “perfect” it couldn’t be. The struggle to intentionally pull threads out of place, to purposely leave broken threads as they snapped, to beat unevenly all tortured me throughout the making of this piece…until it didn’t.
At some point I stopped fighting and just accepted what was happening. I realised that I can’t really control the imperfect. I can’t plan to make mistakes beautiful or mishaps easy to deal with. I can only try to work with them and adapt to the challenges as they arise. The thing about life, and art, is there is always beauty to be found. The trick is being brave enough to have faith that the “perfectly imperfect” will be exactly what you need.
Slow cooker dyeing is really easy and can lead to some very satisfying results. I can’t be bothered with the measuring, abortion weighing, approved math and babysitting involved in traditional dye methods so I will leave that to the Fibre Witches. If you, illness like me, are half-assed about such things I suggest trying your hand at slow cooker dyeing. Here is summary of the process I spoke of in my PechaKucha last week.
The Essential Equipment:
skeins* of yarn (Protein fibres only!)
synthetic kitchen dyes (i.e. Club House Food Colouring, Wilton Icing Gels)
* If your yarn is in a ball, that sucks. You need to make it into skeins.
Other Useful Equipment
Step 1: Pre-treat Your Yarn
Place your yarn in the slow cooker and cover it with cool to room temperature water. I always push the yarn to the bottom of the slow cooker to ensure that it is saturated and as little water is used as possible. Now add some vinegar. I use a splishy-splash for a small amount of yarn, a splash for a bit more yarn and a couple of glugs for a bunch of yarn. Place the lid on your slow cooker, turn it to high. Leave it for about 15 minutes or until you can see condensation building on the lid. Once this happens you know your yarn has been pre-treated.
Step 2: Add Your Dye
I don’t really measure my dyes but you can be as particular about this as you want, especially if you are hoping to replicate exact colours. When using Club House dyes I would start with about 3/8 of a teaspoon and maybe a skimpy 1/8 teaspoon for the Wilton dyes (they are very concentrated). Give the water a quick swirl, if you like the colour you see put the lid back on the slow cooker and walk away for 2 or 3 or 5 hours. It doesn’t really matter.
Step 3: Check Your Yarn
Generally, I check my yarn around the 2 hour mark. If it looks like your dye bath exhausted – great! If not, put the lid back on and check again in a bit.
Step 4: Rinse, Spin, Dry.
Once the dye bath has been exhausted you can take your yarn out and give it a rinse. I usually dump the yarn into a strainer and let it cool down for a while. Once I can comfortably handle the yarn I give it a quick rinse, a squeeze and a few spins in my salad spinner. The salad spinner is totally optional but it really helps get the excess water out of your yarn. Now you can hang your yarn to dry. Done. Easy peasy.
Below is a shot of the different greens I was able to achieve using the Club House greens in “Neon” and regular and the Wilton dyes in “Leaf” and “Moss”. To get the pastel mint green on the far right I dipped just the tip of a butter knife into the Leaf Green and swirled it into the water. I have had less success making pastel colours with the Club House dyes.
This post is an update on one of my projects this semester. I have been documenting the process of preparing yarn for an ikat inspired weaving which will later serve as yardage for a set of cushions and a throw/runner. Here are a few photos showing the first few phases of the work. It’s a been a slow developing piece, approved but so far worth it. Dying yarn for weaving is a serious time investment. I will post more about this project when it is completed.
Last year I took a huge leap out of my comfort zone and enrolled in 3 ceramic courses at ACAD ceramic courses. At the time I was looking for a challenge, more about I left as if I had become too comfortable in my textile work and was no longer feeling a need to push and develop ideas. I was lucky enough to have Katrina Chaytor as my Introduction to Handbuilding instructor, and Robin Dupont as my Introduction to wheel throwing instructor. I remember my very first throwing class feeling as if I would never be able to move a 1 pound of clay into anything resembling a vessel, but still managed to accept the challenge it presented.
What I learned in that semester was not only a multitude of skills and practices that I will carry throughout my life, but also the to practice care. To do the things you care about, to cherish new obstacles as an opportunity to grow as an artist and a person. I think what I learned the most is that the work I care about most is the work that doesn’t sit on a wall in a gallery, it is the work that I get to touch, use and cherish every day. Art can be enjoyed not only intellectually and visual but also physically. As I seek to develop more functional work for the use in the home exemplifying care has become an essential part of my practice.
We all know how difficult it is to produce work that is for sale, public health and keep it marketable and priced at a salable price. It is hard to balance production technique with hand finishing every little detail. I often find myself making work that is either so detail oriented and labour intensive that it is impossible to sell or work or work that I feel I have to make too many compromises on to sell at an appropriate price. Sometimes it is difficult to remember that there is a place for both kinds of work, it’s a matter of choosing, or balancing both.
It is always encouraging to find other artists that have found ways keep the processes and ethical material sourcing as the most integral part of the work. One of my favourite examples is a brand called Matson+Palmer. Christy Maston and Jane Palmer work as a pair in Los Angeles. Jane is a natural dyer and Christy a weaver. Together they create luxury hand-made blankets and pillows. They are able to incorporated hand work at every stage of production in their work which makes their work distinct and beautiful.
They are one of my favourite examples of contemporary makers/designers who are working at a luxury goods price point.