I’ve moved a great deal in the last year or so to different studios. Now I am where I want to be. Big Medium studio has opened a fresh new building that will house over 50-70 artists; painters, printers, ceramists, metalists, fiber artists and even a one-eyed english bull dog named Piper who paints. A very diverse group. The new building will go under the name of Canopy at 916 Springdale Rd., Austin, Texas 78702. The amenities include a courtyard, cafe and space for the performing arts.
There will be lots of shows, networking with other artists and collaborations and exposure to Central Texas. Big Medium is a prestigious non-profit organization, and I am thrilled to be a part of it.
I have a wonderful new space for Lynne Brotman Fiber Art on the 2nd floor. It’s a 20′ x 20′ space, 10′ ceilings and one whole wall of opaque glass. Lots of natural light – and yes, AC/HC. Hallelujah! I am in the process of building a dark room, exposure unit, a big fiber table, lots of shelves and great wall space to hang my work.
I am in heaven. I have dreamed of this space for years. I have come out of the basement into the sunlight! Drop by and visit me in #213. Photos to come.
A great resource and read that features global art, craft and design. The publication focuses on international artisians whose environment and cultural identity is revealed in their art work. The art work includes cloth making and design, weaving, ceramics, jewelry, wood -working and embroidery to name a few.
The photographs are stunning and the articles informative.
Check out their website at http://www.handeyemagazine.com/
The most widely used dyes for fiber are called Procion MX fiber-reactive dyes. The dyes are meant to be used on cellulose fibers that include linen, cotton, rayon and silk. There is a wonderful array of colors, but you can mix any of the primary colors (12 colors on the color wheel) into an infinite color, tone or shade. The dyes can be thickened, for painting or screen printing using sodium alginate (good ole’ seaweed) making them very versatile.
Easy to use but you must take safety precautions; gloves and face mask.
You can purchase these dyes from Pro-Chemical and Dharma Trading Company online and from their published catalogs. There are tutorials that will demonstrate how to use the dyes and the chemicals added to activate them.
I have added a new section on my blog about symbology – symbols that have been used by primitives, represented in mythology, cultural societies, biblical, historical and artistically expressive. Symbolist painters believed that ‘art should reflect an emotion or idea rather than represent the natural world in the objective, quasi-scientific manner embodied by Realism and Impressionism’. Probably the one person most associated with symbols is Jung, and I have been doing quite a bit of reading up on this brilliant man. He is a source of inspiration and insight.
I have been researching art works that not only use obvious symbols but also hidden symbols such as El Greco’s el Caballero de la mano al pecho. There have been various interpretations of the hand across his chest. It was believed that El Greco was a Spanish Marrano (converted Jew during the Inquisition). The hand across his chest is used in Jewish prayer (the Amida Blessing) signifying the Hebrew letter shin. It was a hidden way to identify himself as a Jew without alerting the Inquisitors. You will also notice it is the same symbol used by Lenoard Nimoy ( an Orthodox Jew) as Spock in the series Star Trek. Interesting, yes?
This painting is only one of many that use hidden symbols. Others are more apparent - Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden by Titian. Although the Old Testament never identifies the fruit as an apple, it is still recognized as a symbol of sin and the downfall of mankind.
Freud knew a thing or two about symbols – particularly dream symbology. But sometime “a cigar is just a cigar”. Jung’s analysis relies heavily on symbology as well.
So what does all this have to do with fiber art? Everything! Colors, are for one, considered symbols that we all consciously or unconsciously recognize as having meaning. As fiber artists, we are all about color. Although not a fiber artist, Jesse Reno, uses symbology that he has borrowed from primitives and creates symbols that have personal meaning for him.
Since I am fascinated with symbology, I am headed in that direction with my own fiber art work – using ones that are easily identifiable as well as having personal significance.
I’ve started to use these wonderful Indian woodblock stamps. You can use them with fabric paint, thickened dyes, wax and adhesive glue to apply foil. They make great textures for layered printing on cotton or silk (if the silk is pulled taut). Often the wood blocks are made from sheesham (teak), and they last for years. Very old used ones can cost up to $300 or more, but you can find them on etsy and google searches for a reasonable price. They make for wonderful surface design.
The blue one is approximately 3.5″ x 3.5″ and 1″ thick. The image is usually very clear, but sometimes you just have to get over perfection and go for that organic look!
I will post the fabric I’ve printed in the near future – stay tuned.
I have been studying this subject for quite some time and incorporating some of the features into my fiber art. Check out The Discovery of the Art of the Insane by John M. MacGregor for a comprehensive look at Outsider and Brut Art (Raw Art). The majority of these artists have no art training and many created their work when they were institutionalized due to mental health issues.
I have been working diligently for almost 6 months on a project for a class. I’ve been dyeing, screen printing, stamping and finally it has all come together. The four pieces should be finished by August.
I highly recommend taking the time to do your own color charts. Do all 12 colors then choose each on the wheel and add white or black on two separate charts. Example: Select orange, then keep adding white to it to get all the varieties. It’s an enlightening experience, and I have never really looked at color the same. Now when I want to dye something, I can match the dye or fiber paint to the exact color I want.
I had 12 items that I wanted to accomplish, and to-date I have tried, learned, been exposed to or dabbled in 8 of the 12. That’s not bad. I still have to work hard on the other 4 and keep working on all the items listed.
I am getting the screen printing down much better. Gave me the fits when I first started. The prints are appearing much cleaner now.
Learning color theory has been a boon. I don’t think you ever learn it completely – much more complex than I thought it would be.