Category Archives: Sketchbook

Collage pick #1 – Arrowmont Reunion

I started my collages today for the Arrowmont Resident Artist Reunion.  It took more than a week and a half to filter through and download all the pictures I thought were good enough to pull information from.  All of my collages are put together in the computer using Photoshop.  Since I’m just trying to achieve a composition, I’m not worried too much about edge detail, so forgive the roughness of the collage image.  Here is the most successful one for the day.

Mrs. Profitt, Me as a child, Mrs. Reagan (Aunt Lizzie)

I made the above collage using the following photos:

Gatlinburg's first health clinic. Also, where I lived when I was a resident artist at Arrowmont in 1994-95.

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Mrs. Profitt was the housekeeper for the Boy's Dorm (left) Mrs. Reagan (also know as Aunt Lizzie) was the Housekeeper of Teacher's Dorm and also an accomplished weaver.

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Aunt Lizzie spinning yarn most likely for her weaving.

Me as a child.

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Studio: More ink impressions

Here are some samplings of ink impressions I’ve been working on. Some of these are in progress. Instead of drawing objects, I thought I would do impressions of photo collage tracings.

This is my tool. Stitching on fabric.

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Studio: Traces and Process

I’ve been trying to figure out my new process.  I’ve spent a lot of time doing samples so that I will have more control with the fabric impressions on paper.  I did wet on wet, dry on dry, wet on dry, and dry on wet; straight out the bottle and thinned out with water.  I’m hoping to have a solid set of small samples for reference.  I did 4 samples that sit alone to dry, and 4 samples that dry under pressure.  I’ve also been thinking about my substrate.  I decided I would cover a wood panel with pages from an old history book.  I tried to pick out pages that tell stories of people in the southern area of the United States, where my family is from.  (Eli Whitney, Daniel Boone, etc.)  Now I need to figure out what to stitch and do impressions of.

Ink samples using wet and dry paper and fabric

Fabric impressions on book pages.  (Samples)

Book pages glued to a wood panel.  This is the ground of something to come.

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Studio: I’m back in the studio! Yippie!

Hey everybody! Thanks for being patient with my long break from this blog. I’m in a studio class this quarter, and I’m ready to out of my head of writing papers and excited to see what comes out in my work with my recent research. My new class started last week, and my teacher jump started us with an assignment. Since I’ve been out of the studio for a while, I was thankful that I had a project to get me going. I had already been experimenting a little bit, but have not had a chance to really investigate my new idea of using my stitching as my tool. So, here’s a little sampling of what I’ve gotten done so far. Enjoy, and comments welcome.

Do you like one more than another? Why?

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Oh, boy. A new quarter is starting soon.

Can you hear my enthusiasm? Well, I’m only dreading the new quarter, because I’m at the tail end of a 2 and a half week vacation. I spent most of my time thinking about everything EXCEPT my art. I’ve enjoyed this much needed break from work and school tremendously. I’ve been doing everything from cleaning out my attic to crawling under my house to spray Good Stuff foam to keep the stray cats from ruining the HVAC duct work insulation. I tweaked my back with all the stooping and crawling, so today I decided to give my body a break and start thinking about my artwork again. I spent the morning experimenting with Masa Wax paper. Below is my first attempt to use it in a collage. I’m trying to rely less on the photograph and put more of my hand in the process.  Comments are welcome.

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Studio: Synthesizing my Assimilations (WHY?)

Well my graduate review is coming up very soon, and it is time to write an artist statement about what I’m doing in the studio at the moment. However, before I can do this, I must really think about what I am doing. My classmate, Virginia, has challenged all of us in the graduate program to “ask ‘WHY’ in everything we do in our studio practice.” This challenge came at the perfect time for me. I have been gathering all this information and researching ideas, but it is time to absorb and reflect to come up with my own ideas. Below is what I’ve been thinking about, and the ideas that resonate with me the most. I will jump from here to begin an artist statement this week.

MATERIALS

Recycled Linens and Fabric:

Recycle is the key word here. Unfortunately, we are in an age where people buy new things and dispose of the old. I was brought up in a family that used things until they were broken beyond repair, and only then were new items bought, and only if you couldn’t get it used. My family was not only frugal because at one time we had to be, but also because it was a way of life. As time has gone by, society has become more and more wasteful.

  • Giving a new purpose to something that has been discarded.
  • In the past, worn items were darned, reassembled in patchwork, used as diapers, or dust cloths. In WWI scrap fabrics were used as bandages. Some societies even use scrap fabrics for paper pulp.
  • Owning linens at one time was to own something very precious. With the increase in production of cotton, linens were more accessible to people because the price came down and was more affordable; thus made them more common.

Old Photographs:

Looking at old photographs, whether they are my family or not, has always intrigued me. There is always a story to be told. It is an inside peek into someone’s life. My family photos are a clue into my grandmother’s life, and what she was like before I met her.

  • I am interested in the history of my family and looking at my grandmother’s perspective of her life.
  • Old family photos generally chronicle the important happy events of a family’s life. I am interested in this positive aspect of memory. A positive, sometimes humorous message.
  • I am trying to keep the past alive, but not stop change. People are so quick to leave the past behind. I wish that people would learn more from the past and grow into the present by learning from the past. POSITIVE CHANGE.
  • My connection to old photos and old things is in part because I don’t like where the present is leading us into the future. We are a disposable society that makes decisions based on GREED. Older items seemed to last a lot longer than ones produced today. Things are not designed to last anymore. Companies slowly release upgrades in order to make more money.
  • Showing personal photos is an invitation to view it: a concept of TOGETHERNESS.

CONCEPT

Memory and Time:

  • Connection to my family, but also bringing the PAST TO THE PRESENT by creating new stories from my grandmother’s memories.
  • NOSTALGIA – My grandmother’s memories: honoring the family and friends that were in her life.
  • Remembering the positive and carrying that to the present and future. What you do now will affect the future.
  • To be forgotten is to not be important enough to be remembered.
  • At one time photos were considered to be the TRUTH or evidence. With todays ability to manipulate photographs, this is not the case anymore. However, even in the past, photos could still be interpreted in many ways depending on the context, thus questioning still this ability to be EVIDENCE.

PROCESS

Layering Fabric

  • Layers of memory.
  • Accumulated memory .
  • Generations

Cutting Away Fabric

  • Taking away the negative and taking the positive forward to the future. (metaphorically)

Collage

  • Keeping some detail and erasing other detail: fading memory and deterioration of the past.
  • New memories: A new point of view (my point of view using my grandmother’s point of view.)
  • Bringing the past to the present.

Working Intuitively

I have brought a chance element into my daily photo collages. I am randomly picking 2 photographs and using only these 2 photos for the collage. These compositions don’t always work out to be successful, but every once in a while there is a HAPPY ACCIDENT. It is the happy accident that I am looking for.

  • The happy accident is what we learn the most from. The unexpected is what makes us take notice of what we wouldn’t normally see.
  • If more people would follow their intuition, they would probably be happier people.
  • By using happy accidents as a part of my message I hope to inspire positive change.

Whew! Well, It actually took me all day to come up with this stuff. My brain actually hurts! All of this thinking, and I haven’t even STARTED the artist statement! However, this has really helped me narrow my thoughts and is a good starting point to jump off from.

Earlier last week, I went to a graduate photography class to get some feedback from a different perspective other than my fiber friends. One of the things they really zoomed in on was the BACK of all of my sewn collages. They really wanted me to figure out a way to display my work in a way that you could see both front and back. They also thought this would go in line with my concept of memory, and the lasting IMPRESSION that certain events have on your memory. So, I scanned some visuals for you with this in mind. I accidentally scanned the front in black and white and decided that this perspective was quite interesting in its own right so, I scanned the other one this way too. I will have the color versions of these in my new PORTFOLIO section later this week.

What do YOU think of the back of these collages? Do you think I should figure out a way to show the back too? (I’m not sure how I feel about this.)

I think it is really interesting how it looks like he is going DOWN the stairs on the flip side. The back really works well in contrast to the front on this one, but I’m not sure about the next one:

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Daily Photo Collages: update

Most of the fabric collages that I’ve been sharing with you, are experiments of compositions and subjects.  The photo images you see with the fabric are just xeroxes of the original photos.  I work this way for ideas only.  Since I’ve been wanting to actually carry some of these ideas to a finished work, I’ve been wanting to refine my process of how I’m going to translate these collages to the fabric.  So, in my studio practice, I’ve also been working on process experiments of transforming the photo to fabric.  After many trials and errors, I think I have finally figured out how I want to do it and have gained control of different looks and contrasts of the image, but since this blog is not about process, I will not go into detail.  Thus explained, my post today, will be another peak into my daily collages.

I appreciated a comment by my friend Virginia today about leaving an art work open for interpretation as to bring more meaning to it.  So, since I am looking for concept in each work I do, today, I will not share my own opinion, so as not to taint yours.  So, my questions to all of you:

What do YOU think these collages mean? I would love to hear YOUR interpretation.

Do you appreciate hearing the artist’s concepts of an artwork? Or, do you prefer to bring your own meaning to a work?

PLEASE, comment. 

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