Sunday, August 15, 2010

Using the Old to Make the New: Embroidery and Collage on Monoprints

Bird Tracks in the Sky

Cobwebs in the Sky
When I first started painting and printing fabric, I was so hesitant that I decided to use old clothing that was so bad I wouldn't have even given it away.  I especially had an old hooded sweatshirt that was ragged but had been a reject at the store since its parts didn't match well.  I thought I would take it apart, paint it, and put it back and see what kind of wild garment I could create.

Well the taking apart and the painting got done, but the putting back together never happened since, again, I looked at it and decided to embroider over the painted images.  The sweatshirt material was a lovely sky blue and with the huge yellow squares that have blue/green coming through the polka dots, to me it was too tempting.

At the time I had just taken a wonderful 5-day workshop at Split Rock Arts Program (U. of Minnesota in Minneapolis/St. Paul) with Ilze Avicks, a contemporary embroiderer, on "Fabric Collage and the Stitched Mark."  I discovered that I love doing what I call exaggerated stitches (such as huge, open, long chain stitches) on small pieces.  So that's what I did with the first 2 pieces, Cobwebs in the Sky (left) and Bird Tracks in the Sky (right), which each measure about 4" x 3.5".

Mending the Universe
I also love to work on painted/printed knit fabric (used exclusively on my tall one-of-a-kind dolls), adding beads and embroidery.  This type of work lends itself wonderfully to a class where student print/paint in the morning (with textile paints) and then embroider in the afternoon.  "Mending the Universe" and the purple on pink with beads are examples of this.

Roses Swimming on Dots 2
Even before the Split Rock Arts workshop, I had been doing a lot of collage work, but mostly with free-form machine embroidery, as illustrated in "Roses Swimming on Dots."  The possibilities are endless.  I have a exhibit at St. Cecilia Music Center's Terryberry Gallery in downtown Grand Rapids (Michigan) for May through June, 2011, in which I'm planning on showing this type of monoprinted and embroidered fabric.

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