Working hard without much journaling.

Have been working very hard on printing and toning my final works so that they could be then photographed for submission.

I have decided to use cyanotype exclusively and tone with tea and wine to get colour. I was really surprised at the range that resulted and excited to refine this.

I have made 12 diptychs and arranged them in a three by four grid.

The idea is that each image through the window is then matched with an object from inside. The pair are then toned equally with the same tea or wine. Have rushed this a bit at the end and would have liked to have the time to make this into a physical quilt which I will ultimately do.

Need to get my statement done:

Quick analysis:

Form and composition – more distant outside view pinholes are paired with a close photogram of an inside object. A lot of objects are to some extent related to lockdown which is what I was intending. The views are all from my windows.

Line – I have tried to link the line in the view photo with line in the object but that was a bit difficult.

Colour – muted organic pink/green/brown/blue. Slightly faded appearance hopefully suggesting the faded nature of life experiences at present.

Texture – rough fabric texture, resonating with degradation ?

scale – contrast between full window view and close observation of object.

medium – cyanotype – detailed photo on fabric which also has the potential to be presented in various colours. Able to be toned with everyday materials – bleach with washing powder, tone with tea or wine. Processed in water and vinegar.

Going to try and write statement now.

Tea and Sanitiser

Outside the cherry tree moves in the breeze. Inside a clump of threads stick to my shoe. A wallaby nibbles under the silver birch, a dead fly on the windowsill. Sun streams in the courtyard and flares off the wine glass. Through the front door the cars await. I’ve given up on the sprout jar. The water lies beyond the heat pump. A wasp is stuck in the screen. Our neighbour works in his shed. All the strawberries are finished. A new house is just visible in the distance. Used the carafe for the first time ever. Popcorn.

For this work I combined pinhole photos taken through the windows of the house with photograms of objects that I found around the house, and that had some relevance to time spent at home during lockdown. The window views look into the distance and contrast with the personal view of the objects. I printed both the photograms and pinhole photos on to fabric using cyanotype chemicals. Pinhole photos are high contrast and when combined with cyanotype give a stark desolate image. Toning with household materials, washing powder, tea, wine, has muted the harsh blue but kept the lonely mood and added a faded component to speak of the passage of time. The slightly rough texture of the fabric is visible and reinforces the domestic nature of the imagery.

I have been inspired by the quirky pinhole photography of Eric Renner and the work of Mike Ware in pushing the boundaries of cyanotype.

Project Two finished

Step right up

Detail showing the quilting. I have basically ditched the ECG quilting in the centre. Although it is there it is obscured enough to be unrecognisable.

Radial quilting originally referencing the eye has also been repurposed as radial quilting to enhance the dynamic movement of the ring as in a wheel. Ring in further bordered by arrow quilting to the same end. Background quilting is organic wavy to separate this from the foreground wheel.

Statement:

Step Right Up

Everyday objects are laid out on cloth for enjoyment of their silhouettes and detail. Spin the wheel and choose which colourful element to explore. A personal history awaits. A hairclip bought in Melbourne, the perplexing gift of a carafe, a shell washed up on a North East Coast beach. In lieu of travel in the wider world, excitement and discovery awaits on a domestic scale. Light reveals unseen detail and colourful shapes, bending around wine or blocked by a spoon. Distortion disguises the perfume bottle and multiple shadows confuse the teapot. Look inside the pincushion or deconstruct the light bulb. Find the ghost in the vodka bottle whilst avoiding the teeth of the scissors. Follow the path of the stones and see deep into the crystal. Feel the ripples of the shell and the soft curve of the glass. Step right up.

The home has become haven, prison and playground this year. For this work I have taken everyday objects from around my home and used cyanotype and solarfast light sensitive dye to create photograms of these objects. It is a somewhat serendipitous process, with the chemical vagaries and the path of the light contributing to an unpredictable result. The objects have then been arranged in a circle referencing a tablecloth, a spinning prize wheel or even a circus tent. The bright colours give the work a playful mood, and on closer examination the objects reveal surprising detail to explore. Movement is suggested by diagonal lines and dynamic colour contrasts. Radial quilting lines reference a wheel and are even more bluntly sewn in an arrow configuration around the outside. The background is pushed back with organic quilting to separate it from the circle. An alternate view of the life-sized objects is presented as terrain open to exploration in this restricted time. Fabric is used for its tactile and inviting properties in a lively quilt.

For this work I have been inspired by the colourful organic quilts of Betty Busby and the photograms of Adam Fuss.

Quilting project two

Given that looking like an eye seemed to be the consensus at my feedback I’ve decided to embrace it with the quilting pattern. Here I have used the ECG pattern in the middle and echoed that. Made quite an interesting pattern but looks a bit floral.

Then I quilted the images with a vertical radiating pattern. Here I was thinking about an eye iris and the way it has radial ridges . I used dark thread from the middle and then green thread from the outside because I have green eyes 🙂

Beyond this I have also started a random stipple and around the outside in red/brown on the top and green underneath.

My original statement is not going to work here.

Try to make an objective analysis about what it looks like:

Form – overall – circular arrangement of imagery of objects from around the house ( I have shifted them to objects that are not disposable – they may not be valuable but they are things I have chosen to keep because of function or sentiment. ) Centre is plain overdyed commercial fabric with a close pattern. Outside is dyed commercial fabric patchy red and green.

When I look at this form I see an aerial view of a table with objects. The centre comes forward rather than receding like a pupil. Maybe others might still see an eye because I didn’t see it before either. Definitely looks like a laying out of objects to me. Probably this effect is increased by the presence of the cutlery.

Photographic type imagery, ethereal, detailed.

Or Wheel of Fortune – also has that appearance. Or circus.

Line – Radiating lines from the centre. Circular lines in the centre. Irregular wiggly quilting lines around the outside. Has the effect of separating into three segments – the ring, the centre and the background. Also suggests movement in a spiral, as though the objects could spin.

Colour – Bright, rich, high colour contrast, high contrast imagery. Not ominous or prison like, not confined or sad. Not really containing either.

Texture – ripples around the centre, floral pattern in the middle, can’t see that it is an ecg line, irregular texture in the background. but basically flattened by the all over quilting.

Scale – Roughly 1200 mm square. Objects are life size. Again fits with the table top.

Medium – fabric, soft, washable, tablecloth.

Problem is that I’m happy with this work but I’m not sure what it says. Not my usual miserable themes. It was planned to be miserable but it just doesn’t look it. The jewel tones of the colours are pleasurable to look at. The detail of the imagery is interesting and personal but not sad. Yvette did mention perhaps consciously going against the miserable.

Personal everyday objects sourced from around the home laid as if on a table. In the photographic type silhouettes previously unseen detail is present. The objects have history – the hair clip bought in Melbourne, shell from a far north east beach long ago, carafe that was a perplexing gift. Objects selected from around the house for their imagined silhouettes and then the thrill of allowing light to reveal the previously unseen detail in their shadows. Personal and familiar. Finding a way for a restricted environment to still be a journey of discovery.

Going off at a tangent now that is not saying much about how I feel about an environment, which was the brief. Guess the environment has to be home here.

I wanted to say that home was both a sanctuary and a prison currently but this work is not saying that. What is it saying? – Hey look at how pretty the random objects can be. Weird question mark font ?????

Looking inward to the home rather that outward.

Maybe still would work for home as sanctuary in this current time.

Study objects with your eyes. Alternate view, unseen detail. Looking inward for beauty, finding pleasure in the detail. Contraction of the local environment, expansion of time. Exploring closer to home.

Celebration of beauty in the everyday. Excitement at the potential of the most mundane of objects. Exploring what has become the most important of environments – home. Seeing with fresh eyes. A trip around the kitchen bench. An exploration of objects that will fit into a 5 x 12 inch wedge.

Maybe something a bit lighthearted like a circus, spinning wheel, Not sure how to comment on texture or line with this. Maybe not all formal elements need to be accounted for directly. What about the choice of fabric. Referencing a table cloth in some way? Playful. Describing the home as playground in this time.

Step right up

Everyday objects are laid out on cloth for enjoyment of their silhouettes and detail. Spin the wheel and choose which colourful element to explore. A personal history awaits. A hairclip bought in Melbourne, the perplexing gift of a carafe, a shell washed up on a north east coast beach. In lieu of travel in the wider world, excitement and discovery awaits on a domestic scale. Light reveals unseen detail and colourful shapes, bending around wine or blocked by a spoon. Distortion disguises the perfume bottle and multiple shadows confuse the teapot. Look inside the pincushion or deconstruct the light bulb. Find the ghost in the vodka bottle whilst avoiding the teeth of the scissors. Follow the path of the stones and see deep into the crystal. Feel the ripples of the shell and the soft curve of the glass.

Step right up

PROJECT ONE QUILTING

On and On She Goes

I have now quilted a grid over the whole quilt by machine. On the practical side it serves to hold the imagery in place and take away the distraction of loose fabric. On the aesthetic side, I was hoping that it would add a layer of resilience and unity to the face images. Not sure that it does that well. Think is looks more like a cage. Perhaps I will need to adapt what I say to suit. 

Original statement – On and On

Twenty eight years of care, concern and anxiety have unveiled a previously unrecognised resilience. Repetitive life size silhouettes of the face are stained and cobbled together but the ongoing set of the jaw is visible, clenched both in worry and concentration. Reds, browns and purples bruise the repetitive blocks in various degrees. Looking back whilst time relentlessly moves forward and the metallic grey grid of resilience holds all together, and drags everything on into the future. The soft medium of a quilt reflects care and comfort but also retains a strength and ability to face most onslaughts, in a way not seen in many other mediums. Wash, repair, hug and keep going.

Will try and analyse this one too:

Form – Silhouette of face – personal intimate close up view. Made by pressing face to photographic paper

Composition – Repetition across the work with subtle changes. Unfinished bottom edge and jarring single blank block towards top right. – Reads from left to right with repetition suggesting a continuation. Irregular bottom meant to suggest more to come, as does title

Line – Grid – Suggests encasement, unifying

Colour – Muted reds browns purples – bruising, subdued

Texture – grid, soft fabric creases, obviously fabric quilt – a soft resilience combined with comfort.

Scale – Life size faces – intimate process of pressing my face to the work

Medium – soft quilt – says comfort, soft toughness, ability to be mended.

Intimate, repetition, incomplete, encasement, bruised, subdued, soft, comfort, soft toughness, repairable.

On and On She Goes

Twenty-eight years of care, concern and anxiety have unveiled a previously unrecognised resilience. Repetitive life size silhouettes, created by an intimate, direct contact process, move across the work in an incomplete grid. The set of the jaw is visible, clenched in worry and concentration. The faces are stained and bruised in subdued reds, browns and purples. Looking backwards while time moves on, encased together.  Stitched into a work of soft toughness. Able to square up against most onslaughts, repair and keep going.

I have attempted to create a work that illustrates perseverance and resilience in the face of adversity. The work is personal and created by a process whereby my face is pressed against photographic paper and exposed to create a photogram. This photogram is then translated into an acetate negative which is used to print repeated images on fabric with solarfast dye exposed to light. I have tried to incorporate the muted colours of flesh and damage, and allowed extra dye and artefact to stain the faces, as the self is damaged and stained. The work has then been assembled into a grid, which has one block for each year of my son’s life to date. The final row is left short, leaving space for continuation. One block is left blank but heavily stitched, as a stand in for the unseen resilience which underpins the situation. The faces look backward whilst the blocks move on, read from left to right. Finally, stitching is added to encase the faces as one, to suggest unity rather than fragmentation. The quilt medium is chosen for its own innate resilience, ability to give comfort, and for its receptiveness to mending and endurance.

For this work I have taken inspiration from the quilt works of Thomas Knauer, who uses relatively simple quilt blocks to convey a powerful message and Ruth Madison who has created an intimate photogram portrait of her head.

Photography final arrangements

I keep on going with trying new things but not sure how best to arrange.

I’m really not sure that I enjoy the overlays. To some extent it’s two good photos spoiled.

Wondering now about pairing an inside thing like an insect or bottom of wine glass or sanitiser photogram with a pinhole through the window photo without the overlay.

Would look something like this but done in most likely cyanotype. Outside pic could be cyanotype and inside maybe coloured solarfast. Although I am really wondering whether to ditch all the solarfast for this project and just do cyanotype because it gives better imagery. Like Gerrard says it’s cleaner.

If I was to do this though, how would the whole quilt be arranged? Nine diptychs would look very landscape

Could do three by six diptychs and that would be a square 🙂 Of course that is 36 prints. 72 inch square quilt with no sashing. So that is actually alright but a lot of work in a week. At least I wouldn’t actually have to sew it. Could do that later.

Still trying to work out what photosensitive chemical best. Cyanotype or solarfast.

Here I have bleached cyanotype with washing powder – tried to control the amount and then I have used one tea bag only to tone the print. Definitely warms it up but it is not as pink as that looks. Other options are a harder bleach and tannin which will give a brown and white print.

I could do my wine glasses/flies etc in the same toning or I could use solarfast with muted colour. i could use red wine for some of the tannin toning and maybe I could also use different teas. Manipulating the colour with home materials like washing powder, tea and wine seems like a good plan. Also could use vinegar and peroxide. Perhaps I should look for a cyanotype artist and research toning a bit more. So far I’m just using what I learned at the two day workshop at Gold St Studios a couple of years ago. I did Van Dyke brown while I was there too and do have chemical for that. They can also mix with cyanotype. Trouble is it’s all a bit late for that now but something to consider in Honours.

Here I have paired the fly with the outside scene. I have dulled down the fly because it’s too bright green solarfast but I can repeat the print and treat it the same as the left hand print to more completely match colour. This is the sort of pairing of imagery I imaged but not necessarily these too as a pair. It’s late to add this much work but I think I can do it. With the objects I can flip around and reverse if I like I can also use scans of small objects which give amazing detail. Could also still do some small object lumens. Have time for that.

Just mocked this up in photoshop from a negative to show another example. Will have to flip around configuration to stop me having a column of outside and a column of inside.

Obviously not using the same photos but this would have to be the arrangement 3 diptychs across and 6 down.

Jean Ray Laury

http://www.jeanraylaury.com/quilts.htm Viewed 14 October 2020. Image reference

From Art Quilts Unfolded:

Spider,S (editor) 2018, Art Quilts Unfolding, Schiffer Publishing, USA , p 9

Jean Ray Laury created this quilt in 1956 as part of her Masters Degree in Art at Stanford University.

Interestingly it is familiar interesting objects arranged haphazardly a bit similar in composition to work I have done. 1956 is amazing for a quilt in a masters of art. Wonder how she went. Mentioned in the book as early work in art quilt genre.

Composite

Trying a composite of a lumen and a pinhole. Done separately this time but merged in photoshop. Since I’ve discovered how to cut irregular shapes I was able to post the circular wine glass without it’s dark background so it doesn’t interfere with the image.

I’ll add in the cyanotype print once I’ve done that.

Painting statement 2

This is by no means the final work but is the image I’m using for my work in progress powerpoint.

Want to try and get a title and a mock up statement in the next 30 mins!

Contained: Adapting to a hostile world

This work is attempting to convey the sense of both protection and prison now attributed to the home, in the face of changes in the broader environment. Inside the blue grey mood is textured only by the ongoing pulse. Outside the colours are brighter and swirl in an organic mist. A ring of everyday objects hug the centre, forming a barrier against hostility or simply dulling the boredom. The objects loom large, intruding inside creating a sense of claustrophobia in safety.

So feedback was that it reads as an eye and doesn’t really say what I’m trying to say above. So I need to change it or change what I say.

Yvette felt it was talking about plastics

Consensus was to keep the variety of colour

Suggestion of using ECG quilting on project one.

Also can use on project two. Yvette raised the possibility of circular which I think is a good one. Circular quilting goes on and on forever.

Not sure how to quilt project one. I could have lines of ecg quilting in the core block. Maybe also along the sashings but that would need to be done by machine. Not sure if I could physically execute that but I guess I could try.

People were interested in the process – maybe I could incorporate more about process in some way in my statement.

I’m happy to go with the narrowing down or constriction of a pupil – can use that in the statement.

I feel like the colours lack coherence. I’m wondering if I could make it a bit more coherent if I used all the same fabrics in a flatter fabric like just a quilters cotton.

I’m also wondering about putting sashing between the wedges to reference prison bars but also to increase coherence with the dyed background. I think my issue is that the tone of the colours in the wheel are not as rich as the colours in the background. I may be able to dye fabric to use as backing but I think there is loss of the detail of the photogram when I do that. I will try add cyanotype over the top and exposing longer than I would to see if I can get cyanotype highlights only. Only using one colour though to try and intensify. Maybe put the solarfast on to dry fabric. Or soak with cyanotype first and then put solarfast on top. No I think the problem is that the colour loses intensity because it doesn’t penetrate so solarfast first.

I would like to lay out the items in a more structured way so that it more fully represents a barrier but also so that I can work within the small central iris with ECG quilting that would be visible. Wondering about the possibility of the sashing being the outside fabric. So the barrier is imperfect? Maybe I should use the blue as sashing. Sneaking out through the cracks.

A ring of objects hugs and constricts

Everyday objects reflected.

Outside world on the periphery. In the periphery the outside is seen as swirling organic colours.

Contraction of the world to the everyday. – should I change the nature of the objects to be less plastic and more just everyday. Not really a link to protection from covid but more just personal objects around. I really don’t want it to look like a work about plastic rubbish. More what I see everyday. I could forget the barrier or at least more of a sideline. Not the disposable objects but actually my possessions that I value. Now it looks like one of those rafts of rubbish in the ocean.

Learnt something about word press then. I can select tiled columns to get this sort of layout but I do need to first select this and then add photos. Can’t do it after.

These three images are a start using more solid permanent objects from around the house and also using solarfast on dry fabric and then covered with cyanotype. The more solid objects allow for a longer exposure of 2 hours without losing the image. I just discovered that the rather odd shadows on these were because I accidentally had two lamps going – one directly over and one off to the side. I have changed this now to two one above the other and we’ll see what difference that makes. Previously I was using only one lamp to also stop obliteration of shadow but now I am using more solid objects potentially I could also play with lamp combinations to get different shadows of the one object. Lots of potential to trial but not lots of time.

Painting statements

On and on I go – This title has a tune because I’m thinking of The girl with April in her eyes – a song from years ago by Chris De Burgh. In his song it’s ‘on and on she goes’.

Don’t like the ‘I’ in it though. Could just be On and On

Statement:

On and On

Twenty eight years of care, concern and anxiety have unveiled a previously unrecognised resilience. Repetitive life size silhouettes of the face are stained and cobbled together but the ongoing set of the jaw is visible, clenched both in worry and concentration. Reds, browns and purples bruise the repetitive blocks in various degrees. Looking back whilst time relentlessly moves forward and the metallic grey grid of resilience holds all together, and drags everything on into the future. The soft medium of a quilt reflects care and comfort but also retains a strength and ability to face most onslaughts, in a way not seen in many other mediums. Wash, repair, hug and keep going.

Feedback was that this one perhaps needed something more. Suggestion was that the ECG quilting would suit this one. It could go on the top of each image but that would not work well for the blank “core”. I might try out my original plan of placing a grid within the core and then maybe quilting the sashings down the middle in a larger grid.

I have gone back into this one and restitched over the core with a grid. I think this is ok but now it seems to me that there is some lack of continuity of density of quilting with the rest and makes it look unfinished.

You can see how all the wrinkles in the fabric show up now in comparison to what happens in the core with its dense quilting. I haven’t ironed it which I could do but it’s an inherent problem with a quilt that I need to address. I have used backstitch as the quilting stitch. No doubt abhorent to a traditional quilter but I like the continuity of line I can get with that. I don’t necessarily want it to read as stitches but just marks.

Now I’m wondering if I should stiffen the whole quilt by stitching over the lot in a grid that was a bit softer that the existing one but similar layout. I could smooth all the wrinkles that way but it would have a raised texture between the grid. It may look like I’m in jail rather than held together by resilience but it would look like a nice resilient quilt. By the way I learnt that I can use polygonal lasso tool to cut out a shape like this in photoshop. Then you select the object and use layer via cut to cut it out. I have to do something because looking at this quilt I can see that I don’t like the wrinkly fabric. Whilst ECG concept would also work for quilting here I don’t think it would have the same effect at smoothing the image that a grid would. Also I like the thickness of the silk thread I’ve used for the core but it should have been paler grey. Unfortunately it’s turned out nearly black but I think for continuity I should use the same colour. Might try and do a three stitch grid but one stitch regularly over the sashing. It’s a big job but I will see how it looks. I can work on blocks individually even though they will ultimately all be joined. That way I can see what it looks like. Wish I could try now and not have to work on bloody sculpture.