Studio: Playing with old fabrics

Another suggestion to get myself thinking 3-D instead of 2-D was to play around with my collection of old fabrics and linens.  Rolling them stacking them, taking pictures, etc.  This post will be a visual diary of that experience.  Comments are below each picture.

I starting by putting everything I had to work with on the table.  Very cluttered, huh?

Detail of the pile of lace.

I knew if I rolled the bigger pieces that they would be hard to keep rolled in a stack with out tying them, so I decided to clear off my metal shelf and use this to support the rolls.  So, I began rolling, and rolling, and rolling until the fabric pieces became to small to roll.  I liked the way it ended up.  It was fun to see all the colors together.  I purposely started with the color fabrics and ended with the whites.  I also wanted one side of the shelves to be neatly placed, while leaving the other side randomly cluttered.  I don’t feel like this is a finished piece of artwork or anything, for those of you wondering.  This is just an exercise to get my brain thinking more 3-dimensional. As most of you know, I work 2-D normally.

Cluttered backside

After rolling, I was ready to move on to stacking.  I decided I would start with a stack of napkins and hankies.  I pulled out all I had, and stacked from largest to smallest in a square format.  These linens had been in storage, and were pretty wrinkled, but I stacked anyway without ironing them.

Then I stacked them again in a spiral.  The wrinkles really bugged me of coarse, being the simple person that I am.  WRINKLE=CLUTTER=CHAOS

So, naturally the next step was to IRON them and stack them again.


Ironed spiral stack

Detail of ironed spiral stack

Naturally the next step was to stack them folded.  I think this stack was my favorite.  Probably because it was the most organized, and you could see more of the lacy edges.  Seeing them so neatly pressed reminded me of my mother.  She had an antique linen business, and I have spent many hours watching her make neat stacks of linens.

I love the edges of these old linens stacked.

It was now time to  move on to the lace scraps.  How do you organize lace?  I decided to contain it.

…then set it free.

This was one way to organize it.  It was really fun to see everything all laid out.   Each little piece is so beautiful, many of them handmade.  It is really time consuming to make lace.  I’ve never had the interest to learn or anything, but I have the highest respect for people who still do.  (If there is anyone out there that still does?)  It’s one of things that people don’t really think about how people used to make this by hand.  Most of it now is machine made, of course.

That ends my day in the studio.  It was today that I decided a blog would be a good way to document these explorations.  I don’t know where it will influence my artwork.  I’m still mulling over that one.  I welcome any comments or suggestion on what else I should try.



Filed under Inspiration, Memory, Studio Practice, Trace

8 responses to “Studio: Playing with old fabrics

  1. Cindy Mizzell

    I did not have to register to comment.
    You may be interested to know that Jane is attending a lace workshop (3 or 4 days) at the end of this month in Virginia to learn about lace. It covers making & identifying all types. She tried to get me to go with her but I was not so motivated as her. There are lots of crafters who still make lace & many who study it.

  2. Karen Byars

    the last piece looks like a picture of a very fine wall-hanging quilt (I know that’s still 2D but also “relief” in a way)

    Keep playing with the fabrics…spend some time with the photos you took as I feel they will lead you onward.

  3. Cori

    amazing anna! what a wonderful way to experiment. looks great

  4. sarabumgardner

    oh i love the edges of the napkins! its great you started your own blog! 🙂 i cant wait to see what happens next in your work.

  5. rainparker

    anna this is awesome…. i love how you have organized the clutter…. made me motivated to organize my own! i love how you stacked and rolled all the fabrics…. very nice! and i think it is awesome you started this blog!


  6. pamela

    Congratulations on your new blog! I look forward to reading about your studio practice. P

  7. Cline

    I believe that it confirms that there is a fine line between crazy and creative and I love you for it!!!
    This is really incredible and I think that it’s great that you are doing this. I must say that when I saw the unironed napkins I knew that they were going to be ironed by the end of the entry. The images combined with the writing are both simple yet compelling and I look forward to seeing more…

  8. Stephanie

    WOW! I just got a fab idea from your hankerchief
    pictures. I’ve had these for years…keep ironing,
    rearranging, folding, etc.

    If my idea works out I’ll let you know. Thanks!

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