3 Questions with Artist Christine Mauersberger

 

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Christine Mauersberger. Guide. 2011. Reclaimed wool skirt
silk/cotton thread, sales felt, epidemic silk eco print, hand stitched. 20″ x 21″
http://christinemauersberger.com/guide/2016/1/12/guide

 

I briefly wrote about American artist Christine Mauersberger several weeks ago in a previous blog post here. I reached out to Christine to expand on a couple questions I had about her textile work in regards to her inspiration, symbolism and colour choices.

 

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Christine Mauersberger. Guide (detail). 2011. Reclaimed wool skirt
silk/cotton thread, felt, silk eco print, hand stitched. 20″ x 21″
http://christinemauersberger.com/guide/2016/1/12/guide

 

JT: When executing your drawings after a walk, are they predominately from an automatic place or are you also focused on creating a pleasing composition?

CM: They are from an intuitive place. I’m not focused on making a composition of sorts.

Rather that the movement of thoughts are reenacted by the movement of my hand with pen on paper.

Drawing is a time-based medium, the marks that create any drawing never happen all at once, but they show traces of movement in the same way our bodies move in space.

I play music as a way to engage with a sense of place and time.

Both music and drawing go together, they change our sense of time and transform our experience of time.

(I read this idea  about music and drawing in Lynda Barry’s book ,

Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor Paperback – October 21, 2014

 

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Christine Mauersberger. Safe and Warm. 2012. Reclaimed wool blanket, hand-stitched, reclaimed wool scarf. 45″ x 45″.
http://christinemauersberger.com/safe-and-warm/

 

JT: There are several repeated forms within your body of textile work such as the circle and a cross, what do these shapes represent for you?

CM: The circle is a motif that is universal. I use it to represent the ‘self’ or myself, or a being. In my work entitled ‘Guide” the circle is me. In “Safe and Warm”, it is my father.
The cross motif is often directly related to a religious belief. But for me, it refers to making a decision, whether to move left or right, back or forward. The simple cross shape is pleasing to me, it is straight forward and unambiguous in my work. What I mean is that since I’m not using other symbols that relate to religion, it cannot be interpreted as such, at least I do not hope so.

The cross is directly related to representing an artifact of time. Humans do come to crossroads if not daily, most surely when we must make decisions about what is next for ourselves.

 

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Christine Mauersberger. Mind Map. 2011. Linen, silk/cotton thread, hand stitched. 41″ x 40″.
http://christinemauersberger.com/mind-map/

 

JT: The majority of your stitched works feature white or red thread, what is the significance of these colours in your work?

CM: The only way to understand something is to make things.

When you are making something as we do as artists, you don’t necessarily know what it is that you are making for a really long time.

We make things through our bodies and then must understand how to trust it and listen to it.

This is true for my use of singular colors. (sorry you’re Canadian colours!) 🙂

When I began to stitch in 2009  I used a natural-wool colored embroidery floss and also red because they please me.

I know that red is a strong color. It can mean STOP or represent blood, or danger or even anger.

Over time, I have come to think of the color red to mean life, vitality and strength.

The natural-wool color you refer to as white is still a bit ambiguous for me.

I think of it as pleasing and passive and good and clean and full of potential.

It’s an honest color-non-color.

And when I use it (white) , I’m striving to make something beautiful with very few color components.

I’ve distilled my palette to the least number of colors, and in the case of using white, only one neutral color in order to make a glorious statement about line and beauty.

 

Thank you so much to Christine for investing time in providing me with very thoughtful and thorough responses.

 

-Julie.

Are You Lost in the World like Me?

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.)

kellie.

WATCH: Moby’s New Video Takes Aim At Cell Phone Addiction

Removing Warp and Weft Threads

As I previously mentioned I have yet to come across any examples of fibre artists removing the warp and weft threads from the cloth base. This is particularly an interesting affect with linen as the thread widths vary between thin and slubby. I completed a couple test samples to see the variety of weight and structure I could remove from the cloth.

 

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Sample swatch- pulling out one direction of threads within the linen.

 

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Sample swatch- pulling out a variety of compositions of directional threads to remove structure of the linen.

 

Once I worked up the guts I started cutting in to my first embroidery to add some texture by removing threads. It was a really liberating experience to leave the result to chance and begin cutting and pulling threads out. It forced me to be reactionary and resolve certain choices that I had immediately come to regret.

 

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Single warp and weft threads pulled intersecting with one another.

 

Particular points of interest are in the intersecting corners where a hole forms. It developed curious points of tension on the cloth.

 

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Detail photo of removed warp and weft threads.

The goal in pulling out the warp and weft threads was to continue to speak to the map like nature of my work. The missing threads create lines and pathways at intersection points referring to the directional nature of maps.

 

-julie

Review of “Anatomy for the Artist”

Anatomy for the Artist By Sarah Simblet walks developing artists through looking at anatomy with photos, bronchitis illustrated transparent overlays, and various Master works from Raphael to Holbein, Degas to Bacon, in tandem with models photographed by John Davis.

 

 

I found the book to be informative for base skeletal and muscle structures of both the full body and individual parts. The translucent illustrated overlays over Davis’ photography work are a helpful addition to seeing where skeletal structures are situated in the body and where they most affect form. The texts relating to drawing from anatomy studies have an encouraging tone,  She explains pitfalls and how to avoid falling into them and she gives tactics to develop good habits to help developing artists. She draws attention to small and easily missed anatomy quirks such as the dominant hand clavicle having more curve the the other. Simblet’s writing is clear and easy to follow.

The models used, especially noticeable with the male models, have extremely similar body types of the mesomorph/ectomorph* combination with similar muscle distribution. It would be more beneficial if there was a variety of endomorphic, ectomorphic, and mesomorphic* stand alone types and combinations. Additionally, it would also be beneficial to see how fat distribution and more than one type of muscle distribution affects form.

(Howard Schatz’s professional athlete line up is good example for body diversity)

yoooo check it!

The “MasterClass” sections at the end of each chapter speculates how each artist focused on would have used reference, showing the contemporary model posed in a similar manner to the human subjects of the paintings. Their inclusion encourages the viewer to study how each artist manipulates forms and provides context for the importance of studying the human form.

The overview of the history of anatomy studies at the beginning is intriguing; however, it feels out of place in a book that focuses on how to see and work with anatomy.  Since Simblet has included “MasterClass” sections, the information in these pages could have been used to expand upon the existing MasterClasses and create additional MasterClass studies; its inclusion feels a little tacked on.

I enjoyed Simblet’s artwork used in the latter part of the book, and I found her works provided a contemporary context of how to utilize anatomy studies in illustrations.

I had purchased this book with the intent of using it for anatomy reference. Though the text is useful , I found the models to be too similar and often found myself searching google images rather than actually utilizing the photographs. It’s a really pretty book and a great tool for artist just starting out.

 

*Meso, endo, ecto is more of a descriptor and very loose category system rather than actual science

tldr: pros: MasterClass and text, cons: lack of body diversity and history that could be more MasterClasses instead

Works Cited

Schatz, Howard. Athlete. New York: HarperCollins, 2002. Print.

Simblet, Sarah, and John Davis. Anatomy for the Artist. New York: DK Pub., 2001. Print.


~Sara Y

Work in Progress

ex-2013-marimekko-002
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.

installation-view
Installation view (2013) Photo: Jill Kitchener
Source: https://www.textilemuseum.ca/exhibitions/past-exhibitions/marimekko,-with-love

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.

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Installation view (2013) Photo: Jill Kitchener
Source: https://www.textilemuseum.ca/exhibitions/past-exhibitions/marimekko,-with-love

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Karelia (Front Street), opening party. Photo: Wollin Gustavs Kayari, c. 1960
Source: https://www.textilemuseum.ca/exhibitions/past-exhibitions/marimekko,-with-love

“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?

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Printex printing mill in Helsinki.
Source: https://us.marimekko.com/unfold/the-story

To learn more about Marimekko’s history visit:

https://us.marimekko.com/unfold/the-story

-Caroline-

 
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.
kellie.

Embroidered Hands

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?

 

– Kristen –

Natural Dye Sampler

Fun Fun Fun!

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!
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Above is a shot of the dye colours before I’ve added the modifiers.

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Above is a shot of the dye colours with the modifiers.

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-Caroline-

Printing Experiments

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!

-Caroline-

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Bookbinding scribbles

So because my project (gosh I really need to think of a name for this behemoth) involves small, adiposity handbound books containing survivor narratives, I started to do some scribbling of what I would like to do for stitching. I’m unsure, at this point, if any of these will actually work/look good/etc, but in the next week-two weeks here I will be doing some test samples! I have a few ideas about colour schemes, I could do the standard white paper/black font/black stitching but I’m also contemplating inverting that to black paper/white font/white stitching or even black paper/white font/red stitching.

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That’s what I have so far, if anyone is particularly knowledgeable about bookbinding or has any suggestions of artists doing very intimate and delicate bookbinding please let me know!

~Madison

The Kiswa

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Sexual assault level 2 involves weapons, threats or bodily harm
  3. Sexual assault level 3 involves permanent and/or life-threatening injury to the victim

 
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Source:https://www.pinterest.com/pin/350717889701540342/

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/293015519484557076/

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

 

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source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/32228953556086330/

 

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source: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/36/36/82/3636828562f71710573992171dde4871.jpg

 

Master The Plaster

This project is morphing into its own being with each passing week. I am currently in a test

img_0510phase but this is the most happy I’ve been with it thus far. The concept of

the project has also changed; it will now embody the constant restoration and reconstruction of cultural identity through out a year (R&R).

I am testing out plaster forms that have wooden pieces within and then I intend on incorporating the fabric pieces from the original idea of the quilt img_0511img_0512

by nailing them onto some of the wooden pieces. The plaster forms will be much larger should the test go well.

 

 

I have used a plexiglass as

my bottom to create a smooth surface for the plaster to set on. The wooden structure has been hot glued onto the plexiglass so it doesn’t shift

 

 

 

 

 

-Asma

Stencil Making Progress

 

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Rael Lockwood. Bisque slip cast porcelain with lace burnout. 2016.

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.


ceramics3
Atelier Murmur. Ceramics and Dying. 2012. Kaolin clay, Yixing black clay, red clay, sand, mineral pigments. Web. 26 Sept. 2016 <http://www.handmadeinhangzhou.com/details.php?id=19&xilieId=39>

 

ceramic1

 ceramic2

For more info check out:

http://www.ateliermurmur.fr/index.php?/works/ceramics-and-dyeing/

http://www.handmadeinhangzhou.com/details.php?id=19&xilieId=39

-Rael

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The lovely geraniums at Thiels Greenhouses.

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.

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After steaming the dough for paste
After steaming the dough for paste

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.

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Dipping in indigo.

Also, about it
when you are working with a tiny vat, pill
you have to get really creative with hangers.

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-Rael

Dear Fiber Diary

Natural dyes are really unpredictable, buy cialis which is usually a good thing for me. I think my best work stems form pieces that I let speak for them selves as the process of creating took place. I have a theory that I should always leave a little bit of room for gods input on the piece (the unexpected turn of events). This year I find myself a bit too attached to the idea of what I would like the final piece to be and I find it really debilitating but I’m trying really hard to just keep going and rework things.

 

I got the Cochineal red I wanted with my thicker weight wool so I thought Id try it again with my wool crepe, I extracted the dye with distilled water and I used 5 or 6 jugs of distilled water for my dye bath, I put my wool crepe in and I put my red cochineal dye extract in and I was smiling to myself thinking ‘hey I’m getting good at this, this is goona look so great’. I left the dye room for 5 mints only to come back to a dye bath that was turning purple! After freaking out I concluded that I must have absentmindedly put a cup of tap water in and changed the PH level. I still had a little bit of wool crepe left and distilled water so I decided that I would try to dye that piece red and this time I watched my dye bath for about 5mints, the dye started to change to purple again within 2-3 mints. My heart cried a little bit. I still don’t really know why the cochineal red didn’t work with the crepe I have some irrational theories but for now well just say that god wanted purple.

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It was a pretty, light, marbled purple because the cloth was over crowded.

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It needed more depth so I decided to repeat print on it. It somehow slipped my mind that it was a cochineal purple not a logwood purple so I repeat printed with citric acid which; very, very, very, faintly showed up because citric acid only shows up on logwood. I had a really good laugh at myself at this point.

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I want to make wrap around skirts out of this wool crepe.

 

 

 

 

I printed on some of the wool crepe with iron for the waistband part of the skirt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jolie if your reading this maybe, this is where you should stop reading hahha. I dip dyed with logwood.

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The gang

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I’m still not done working with this cloth. I don’t really know how I feel about the color scheme. I think I am going to print on the light pink cochineal with logwood or iron maybe..

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Asma

 

 

Stitch Journal #2

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.

 

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Source: http://www.clairewellesleysmith.co.uk/blog/

 

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.

 

image16myhands

Source: http://www.clairewellesleysmith.co.uk/new-page/

 

late-dec-200

Source: http://clarabellacraft.blogspot.ca

 

016

Source: http://clarabellacraft.blogspot.ca

 

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All threads are naturally dyed.
Source: http://clarabellacraft.blogspot.ca

 

 

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Source: http://clarabellacraft.blogspot.ca

 

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Source: http://clarabellacraft.blogspot.ca

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.

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Slowly making progress covering the length of the cloth.

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-julie

A Struggle with (Im)perfection

In progress and still not willing to “mess” things up.

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
sadly, orthopedist
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.

20161019_120041-1
The unfinished business of a near perfect mind, OR, Portrait of a Boy

kellie.

“There must be a reason to dirt a fine, white cloth with print.” –Armi Ratia

ex-2013-marimekko-002

Armi Ratia, pregnancy founder and managing director of Marimekko. Photo: Teppo Lipasti, 1975
Source: https://www.textilemuseum.ca/exhibitions/past-exhibitions/marimekko,-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.

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Installation view (2013) Photo: Jill Kitchener
Source: https://www.textilemuseum.ca/exhibitions/past-exhibitions/marimekko,-with-love

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.

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Installation view (2013) Photo: Jill Kitchener
Source: https://www.textilemuseum.ca/exhibitions/past-exhibitions/marimekko,-with-love

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Karelia (Front Street), opening party. Photo: Wollin Gustavs Kayari, c. 1960
Source: https://www.textilemuseum.ca/exhibitions/past-exhibitions/marimekko,-with-love

“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?

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Printex printing mill in Helsinki.
Source: https://us.marimekko.com/unfold/the-story

To learn more about Marimekko’s history visit:

https://us.marimekko.com/unfold/the-story

-Caroline-