Sunday, October 12, 2008

a stripe of a different time

Some time ago, I re-smelled my first grade textbook, Fun with Dick and Jane. Immediately, my teacher Miss Feeney was before me, cajoling us to sound out Dick and Jane's pet dog's name: S-p-o-t. The evocative nature of memory-through-smell is well known.

As I was working on a piece that had been planned in my brain for a while, my memory switch was once again activated, but this time by a pattern!

Those of use who were lucky enough to experience the utter revolution in sound that was "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" as well as "Purple Haze" may also have been mesmerized by the Treasures of Tutankhamun exhibition in the 1970s. The iconic mask of King Tut's mummy was striking with its gold and navy stripes:

[Image from National Geographic (]

It is this image that reappeared to me as I worked through my design. Here's how it happened.

I wanted to design something with one of my fused glass pieces, combining it with fiber. I had embossed an image on copper and fused that to glass. Here she is:

To pick up the copper color, I decided to mount the fused glass on some wildly pleated copper fabric. I wrapped the fabric around a base of Lutradur.

I auditioned the two together:

So far, so good. At Road to California in January I had purchased some wrinkly painted fabric that would be the perfect background -- again, my favorite blue/copper combo. The textures worked beautifully with those in the the copper fabric piece.

Here is where King Tut comes in. I decided to quilt the fabric and paint around the quilting. To complement the curves in the woman's form, I wanted straight lines, hard angles:

These would be vertical, on each side of the piece. I wanted to mount this all on a gallery wrapped canvas. I thought I would paint inside alternate stitching lines.

I used a high quality sable brush for best control.

My initial plan was to paint in between every other space -- but that looked weak and insubstantial. The boldness of the copper form called for a stronger border. I then painted inside all the block designs, not just every other one.

I auditioned this with the centerpiece -- and here is where King Tut appeared in my mind! Those strong horizontal stripes, framing an inner human form.

Yes, King Tut indeed! At least that's how my brain works!

Maybe seeing Steve Martin's King Tut act might excite the stripes memories in you:

Anyway, I then stapled the fabric to the canvas wrapped stretcher bars. The frame is one inch deep:

Gallery-wrapped corners:

Front view:

I used fishing line to attach my copper crinkly fabric rectangle, and attached my fused glass piece, drawing the fishing line all the way to the back, anchoring all attachments with square knots. I will later add a strong glue to each knot, as well as hanging wire.

Here it is, Copper Form:


Sherryl said...

Wonderful piece.

joel said...

Very cool piece. Thank you for sharing your process.


A. Carole Grant said...

Pam, this is stunning!!
Thank you for sharing. I have admired your fused glass pieces in the past but have never commented.
What an inspiration you are!

It is amazing that you can put them to fabric the way you do.

Karen said...

Really nice way to use those unusual fabrics you collect, and I really like the painting of the fabric

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...