Sunday, October 3, 2010

walkabout (Digital to Textile post)

When I was a child, my two heroes were Evonne Goolagong and Van Cliburn. Goolagong, an Australian aborigine, was a grand-slam-winning championship tennis player who was famous for extended lapses of concentration during matches. The press deemed these mental sojourns to be "walkabouts," a reference to a male aboriginal rite of passage that included wandering in the bush.

In this current Digital to Textile challenge, I've been on a walkabout.

Normally, I turn to Photoshop to examine the challenge photos closely. Here, the only shapes that caught my eye were the leg-like figures in the metal circle.

These evoked Leonardo's famous drawing of the vitruvian man, which depicted the symmetry of human proportions.

Here I have overlaid the photo's shape on da Vinci's drawing:

I was going to draw a woman in the circle and proceed from there digitally, as is my wont.The problem is, I have drawn a lot of nudes and printed them on fabric, and while I will do more, and thoroughly love that process, this incarnation of that approach felt stale and hackneyed.

So, at our in-progress meeting, several of the members of the group spoke about how they liked the grids in the photo. I had liked the windows in the recesses of the photo, with the grid of metal mesh enclosing the artwork in the foreground (I assume that this is a photo of a large a metal art piece). Grids, grids, grids, I was thinking.

And then we had a horrific heat wave, and my husband pulled out the filter on our one little room air conditioner:

A grid! With lots of arcs and angles created by the accumulated dust! I played with this image in Photoshop, and came up with these two possibilities:

For a day or two, I liked these, I really really liked these. And then I thought, grids, pojagi, grids!

Pojagi is a Korean wrapping cloth, used in ceremonies and for wrapping precious gifts. They are usually made of silk. Pojagi is characterized by beautifully stitched enclosed seams (click to see examples of pogaji cloth). To me, these hearken to grids, in a most elegant and ethereal manner. I have been entranced by this art for some time, so now is my chance to try it out. Pojagi = grids = challenge piece!

Pojagi seams are similar to French seams. As I did not grow up sewing (remember, tennis and piano, not stitching), I had no idea how to sew anything other than a quilter's 1/4" seam, let alone how to join two slippery pieces of silk chiffon in the fashioning of a French seam -- which to me looked well nigh impossible.

Well, I went to our local purveyor of textiles at Baron's Fabrics in Camarillo, and a modern miracle ensued. Not only did the store's owner help me  personally, he had one of his employees, Gina, sit down with me for at least a half hour and demonstrate, on my silk, how to sew this seam, as well as how to finish the edges. No charge. And Gina put off her lunch break to help me and would not postpone the session, even though I offered to come back later.

Grace, it seems, still exists, as does superlative customer service.

The first photo above shows some silk chiffon that I have dyed shibori-style, using methods I learned in classes taught by fellow Digital-to-Textile-r Jayne Larson, and Glennis Dolce. Step one, check. Silk fabric is ready.

Now I will start to construct my grid-piece. I hope to use those fancy seams. My thought is to make a companion piece out of fused glass (with a translucent grid design) and incorporate that into the work.

Wish me luck!

1 comment:

Barbara said...

I love it when you share your process - it makes appreciating your art much more meaningful in the complexity of the actual creation

Another of my fav process blogs is the Silly Boodilly - she makes some wonderful textiles in the pojagi style

you will like her dog too !

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