Category Archives: Sketchbook

Studio: Collages with Fabrics

After a highly needed restful Saturday, I went to the studio all day Sunday.  I seemed to kick my lethargic Saturday mood to the way side.  (I think I was fighting a cold.)  Today I have more energy, and I had a good studio day.  I started by organizing my stack of xeroxed photos into stacks.  I put aside the ones I related to in some way today and picked out these.

Today, I worked from these photos only.   I played with compositions and came up with the following collages using fabric:

I haven’t given these collages names yet.  This composition came to me intuitively.  I didn’t expect to make a collage today about war.  War is always going on.  It could be a personal war, or a religious war.  It make no difference.  It is always people who don’t accept people for who they are; forever trying to change people to see the same way.  (How boring, really!)  Diversity is good in my world.

What do you think is going on in this one?  I would love to hear what you think.

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Daily Photo Collage Update

Today at the studio was a little frustrating, but I was able to switch gears and adjust my tasks to my mood. I think I’m going to change my mental day off to Saturday and spend Sunday in the studio instead from now on. I wasn’t able to do that this week because my boyfriend’s birthday is tomorrow. So, probably from here on out, I will be posting Sunday evenings.

When I got to the studio, I pulled out all of my xeroxed photos and played around with some compositions with the fabrics. I was completely uninspired, so I decided that my time would best be spent reading the book that I got from the library, Suspended Conversations by Martha Landford. It is a wonderful book about the history of and analysis of the family photo album. The examples she uses are from the same time period that my family photos are from. I’ve only just started it, but here is the inspiration and food for thought that I’ve grabbed out of it so far:

  • People typically took photos of events such as births, weddings, new cars, family reunions, and funerals.
  • Personal photo albums are anthologies, adventures, meditations, and shrines.
  • The photo album is personal, and to see it is to have an invitation to view it, and is usually accompanied by stories. (concept of togetherness)
  • Photographs with the same style border could suggest a few things: same event, same person taking the photo (camera), or developed at the same time.
  • pg. 18 “The removal of an album from a private situation to the public sphere does not deprive it of a context, but substitutes one set of viewing conditions for another.”
  • pg. 19 “In the afterlife of a photographic album, pure past is a mirage, a set of conditions seemingly visible yet irrecoverable even in the imagination. The world as experienced has been transformed by each act of translation (visible world to photograph; photograph to album; private album to public realm; public realm to individual reception).
  • The organization of an album reflects the working of the mind of its creator.

On that note, I will end this post with some visuals of some recent daily task photos.

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Studio: More Collages with Fabrics

After spending some time analyzing my daily collages, I decided to experiment some more with some fabric collages. I’m still getting used to working with fabrics in a collage way. I approach my daily collages and my fabric collages a little differently. My dailies are very random, and I’m still picking 2 random photos to use together to make the collage. With the fabric collages, I think more about which images to use and which fabrics to use. This is what I came up with today:

“The Grass is Greener on the Other Side”

“Contemplating Sexuality”

I would love to hear comments.

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Daily Photo Collage: Organizing & Analyzing II

After having a pretty busy week at work, I decided to take Saturday off instead of my usual Sunday to clear my head and rest my body. I’m really glad I did, as I feel energetic and more focused today.

I continue to wonder what I am doing in the studio, so today, I start off with some more analyzing. I have a few more themes that I want to contemplate.

Collage with SAME PERSON:

When the same person is in the same collage more than once, it feels mostly like a memory that the person is having.

  • Memory of an experience.
  • Memory of a feeling.
  • An alter ego.
  • De ja vu.
  • Dream.

Collages with ANIMALS:

  • All horses and dogs. That makes me wonder if cats as pets were popular back then.
  • Show horses – pride – companions.
  • Dogs – companions.
  • Symbol of a wilder side – out of control.
  • Taming of the wild side.
  • My dad loved animals.

Collages with my POP:

  • Most of these collages are my Pop as a child. There are a few of him as a young adult.
  • His expressions are mostly serious, especially the ones where he is posing. Some of the more candid shots are less serious. He probably didn’t like to get his photo taken.
  • He loves animals and loved to show horses.

Collages of my MAW MAW:

Since all the photos I am using are from her collection, I feel like they tell a lot about her.

  • She was surrounded by friends and liked to spend time with them. They had a lot of fun, and she was very close to them.
  • She always had a big smile in her photos, so she must have been very happy.
  • These photos are her memories, and they are from her perspective.
  • They show the positive things in her life, of coarse who wants to take pictures to remember the bad things? I’ve always remembered her as a very positive person.

**PERHAPS SOME DAY, I WILL LOOK AT MY OWN PHOTO COLLECTION AND CREATE SOME COLLAGES. THOUGH, I’M NOT READY TO MOVE ON TO ANOTHER COLLECTION, YET. THAT WOULD BE A WHOLE OTHER THESIS.

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Daily Photo Collage: Organizing & Analyzing

Today I took a closer look at my daily collages. I made a list of themes that seemed to have appeared by doing them. For example: I started with the theme HUMOR. I looked through the stack of collages and pulled out all of the ones that I thought had an element of humor, put them aside, and took a picture of them. Then I looked at them closely and wrote down anything I could think of.

Collages with HUMOR:

What makes them funny?

  • Playing with the scale of the figures.
  • Facial expressions
  • Placement of the figures in the environment.
  • Creating an unrealistic situation.
  • Figures walking out of the picture.

Collages with SILHOUETTES:

When the figure has been taken out entirely, only the background is left. We rely on the environment for information. Sometimes there are other people in the photo to help figure out the story.

The missing figures could be:

  • Alter ego.
  • Guardian Angel
  • Death
  • Memory
  • Spirit
  • Essence
  • Intuition

When the figure is cut out, sometimes I just shift it over and replace it somewhere else in the collage.

  • This can be a play on TIME. Moving toward the future. Out of memory.
  • Change.
  • Remembering and moving forward.
  • The past.
  • Lurking negativity.

Collages with SURREAL ENVIRONMENTS:

What makes changing the environments of the people surreal?

  • There is a tension created by placing someone who appears to be calm, or is looking at you (the camera) while some sort of action is taking place around them, as if they don’t even notice.
  • There is a mystery to some of these because there is not enough information given about what is going on.

Many of the environments are unrealistic:

  • A woman feeding a baby sitting on a couch that is floating in water.
  • A figure bundled up on a cold beach, while a couple walks around on the same beach in bathing suits.
  • Two figures standing in front of a horse that’s about to jump on them.
  • Two figures appearing to come out of the picture because it has a fading background.
  • A figure from a different time period is placed in and earlier or later time.

Collages with NO ENVIRONMENT:

  • An emphasis is placed on the figure.
  • These collages don’t feel as strong to me. They feel meaningless.
  • The only one that feels like it has meaning is the top left one that has the figure sitting on the cooler looking away from the camera. It feels meditative and reflective.

Collages with CHANGE IN SCALE:

  • Many of these have humor because of the distorted scale of the figures compared to each other.
  • The larger figure demands a presence and dominates the collage.
  • The smaller figure becomes secondary.
  • An absurdity is created when children are as big as or bigger than the adults.
  • A smaller figure of the same person implies and alter ego, or a moment remembered.

That was as far as I got today. I also spent some time in the studio coating my fabrics with Bubble Jet Set, which is a chemical that you dip the fabric in so that when you print an image on the fabric through a computer printer, it will not wash out. I will share with you my experiments at a later date. Have a good week!

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Reflection

I went out of town so quickly after my class ended, I haven’t even had time to reflect on the comments I received from my fellow peers. A quarter has ended, and I’m left sad that the class is over, as we really had a great group of people for creative support. For the final critique I displayed all of my daily task photo collages from the whole quarter. There were about 65 of them, and seeing them all hung up as a group was very rewarding. I also hung up the two pieces below, but most of the critique was focused on the collages, since I was most excited about these. I like the two below, but I’m not as excited about these, and I have grown detached to them already. They are for sale if anyone is interested. 😉

Comments from peers about my daily collages:

  • They have a humor and mystery about them.
  • The ones with silhouettes and elements taken out are appealing.
  • The obvious collages are more effective.
  • There are elements of surprise.
  • The fabric is bringing these photos back to life.
  • There is displacement of the environment and a push of figure and ground.
  • There is manipulation of the story by the way I’m working with the subject.
  • Try using more recent photos (in black and white) with the older photos.
  • Use photos of current family.
  • Look further into calm versus fast-paced life.
  • Put yourself in the collages with your family. Maybe self portrait style. Your own past with your family’s past.
  • Use your own collection of friends and family to tell your own story.

Lastly, my favorite comment was the suggestion to organize these collages into my own themes, and see what comes out of it. For example:

  • Collages with figures cut out.
  • Collages with horses.
  • Collages with friends.
  • Collages with family.
  • Collages that have humor.
  • Collages that show manipulation of scale.
  • Etc…..

What is next?

  1. Organize the collages into themes. I want to see how many themes I can come up with and see what I respond to.
  2. Continue reading about the history of the county in NC where this side of my family are from. I found a great resource web-site, Documenting the American South, for this sort of information. They have a book that can be read on-line that takes place in Alamance County. It is called Alamance; Or the Great and Final Experiment, by Calvin Henderson Wiley. It was written in 1847, but the story takes place 75 years earlier. I’m really excited to see what sort of inspiration comes from reading it. Also, on this site are oral interviews from the late 197os of some of the older folks who’s families are from there. I’ve listened to a few and the interviews seem to focus on people who worked in the textile mills in the early part of the 20th century.
  3. Continue to experiment with using my collection of the antique linens.
  4. Experiment more with layering fabrics, and cutting back fabrics to reveal lower layers.
  5. Incorporate dyes and screenprinting again to see what happens.
  6. Use bubble jet set with the antique linens to print the photos in my desk jet printer to see how that looks.

This piece is about remembering friends. The two in the circle are the from the past, and they are fading away from memory. There is a slight dark side to this piece with the playful and evil temptress luring the girl in the coat to the forgotten land. Detail is below.

Detail

Friends are honored in this fabric collage. Each one carries a yellow flower, bonding their unforgotten friendship.

Detail

I apologize for the color difference in the details. The overall view was photographed and the details were scanned.

This week I will be focusing on setting up my studio. For the last 2 years, I have been working out of my studio at school, and my studio at Allied Studios. It has become quite frustrating dividing my supplies and equipment, thus I have decided to move everything to Allied Studios. I’m not really set up there for wet work such as screenprinting and dying, so I need to work out some of these issues before my next class starts in just over a week. I’m really looking forward to working in one space.

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Studio: Finals

Next week is my last week of classes for summer quarter.  I’m trying to get everything ready for my final critique on Wednesday.  I’ve been working on hand sewing into two final pieces all week, but they are not finished so, I’m not ready to show them to you yet.  I’ll post them soon.

I spent today working on more ideas for a finished piece.  I’m still trying to keep with the theme of “friends are chosen family.”  Let me know if you think I should make any of these into a final piece.  Comments are below each one.

I loved this photo of my grandmother with her friends.  She is the second one from the front.  You can really tell that this group of ladies were having a great time and are really close.

I’ve really been interested in what people did to have fun back in the day.  Looking at my grandmother’s photos, they seemed to like to be outside.  Here are two of her friends swimming.  I guess in the days of no AC, this was likely a very popular spot in the heat of the summer.

Written on the back of this photo, I discovered that this was one of my grandmother’s boyfriends before she met my grandfather.   If she had stayed with him, I wouldn’t be here!

Picnics were also very popular.  I have a lot of photos of people eating outside.  Here are a group of close friends eating watermelon.

Well, I’m off to work on some hand sewing!  Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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