Further experiments

Wondering if pinhole would give a bigger depth of field so I took a couple of pinholes through wine glasses. Did give some interesting images but didn’t translate very well into transparencies.

I’m not unhappy with this image but it has lost the detail of the photo. Not helped by inverting the colours from intended. I’m going to end up with a whole lot of 12 inch blocks and I may end up just combining what I consider the best ones.

I then went on and did a cyanotype of a wineglass pic, not a pinhole. I notice that I sort of get the pinhole soft focus effect anyway even without the pinhole so maybe the pinhole is a bit redundant. It doesn’t give a full range of sharpness like I was hoping but more a full range of subtle blur. 🙂

The cyanotype however is much better than the solarfast for actually seeing what is going on in the images.

Sandra Sider

Finally I am inching closer to finding artists that are doing similar work to me.

Sandra Sider uses cyanotype to print fabric and then use this fabric to make quilts. She is involved with SAQA and also works as a curator for the Texas Quilt Museum. She is editor of a SAQA book – Art Quilts Unfolding – which I had meant to buy a couple of years ago and have now bought.

Viewed 5 October 2020

If you look carefully at this work you can see that it is comprised of cyanotype printed on coloured fabrics and combined with commercially printed fabric and finally stitched with large visible stitches. Sounds like she must also make a transparency from a digital photo. So all very similar to some of the work I have been doing.

She also has a book called exploring your artistic voice in contemporary quilt art and I’ve bought that too.

Tafi Brown

Lucked upon this contemporary artist making quilts with cyanotype via a Surface Design journal article from 2006.

<https://www.tafibrown.com/Pages/Gallery2.html&gt; Viewed 4 October 2020

This artist is starting to get close and is certainly using experimental printing on to cloth to make quilts. Not sure about her thematic but she has certainly pursued a art career with academic art study as well.

Her site looks like it might not have been added to since 2007 which is a shame.

She is in the SAQA juried artists but again nothing recent. The SAQA juried artists would be somewhere I might find a few more contemporary artists doing experimental printing of fabric prior to making a quilt.

Ongoing stress about the topic for Honours proposal

Still thinking about possibilities. I understand it has to be narrow and now trying to work backwards from what I’m actually doing towards what my proposal could be about. I’m wondering if I make my topic about the barriers to quilting being accepted as art, then I will have to spend a lot of time discussing a more political/ feminist perspective that I am not as interested in. I’m much more interested in physical experimentation to create imagery. Also the artists I reference will be in regard to pushing the envelope with quilts, which is fine but I would also like to be aligned with more process oriented artists. So maybe my question should be more about the process and fabric manipulation. I can still include quilts I guess, but maybe focus it more on the fabric processes than the discussions about the place of quilts. I’m thinking that I’ll more easily find artists pushing the boundaries with fabric manipulation that I will find pushing the envelope with quilts. If I can somehow combine the two then even better but I don’t want to spend a lot of time around political themes or feminist themes.

So working backwards the body of work I’d like to produce would be:

Quilts as the format, likely abstract. No pictorial but also not traditional. Piecing that adds content or meaning. Not formal applique but layering. Building up a work over time. Selecting fabric from my experiments that work to evoke emotion. Leaning towards sublime and formalism, so likely large scale, small details, colour contrasts. Mark Rothko, Gerhard Richter. Struggle to think of quilt artists doing what I want but they will be there. Often they become more mixed media with use of paints that take away from the quiltyness.

Colin in Sculpture was talking about avoiding taste and making sure that it conveys meaning.

Manipulating fabric especially over time like rusting, solarfast, lumen prints, photographic techniques, cyanotype, dyeing. Experimentation and serendipity.

Emotive or personal content

Use of purposeful stitch

Colour

My quilts will be functional objects still. I don’t want to include anything that means they can’t be washed.

So how to combine this all in one question?

I’m going to first try and worry about the fabric manipulation side and then discuss the quilt as the best medium for displaying, assembling and adding further meaning to the work.

Sample layout

This is a layout of a bunch of the work I have done. Putting these together suggest that I could possibly use a range of techniques out the window. The fly is out there but could stay too. I have other imagery like that I could include.

Feedback was good for the new prints but the mix was also ok. Martin started by saying the coherence of the wine glass was good but then moved on to also saying he liked the variation. I’m attracted to the variation. The theme is the things that surround me whilst I’m looking out the window at the world in this covid time. Or could be more specific, looking out at the world through the lens of a wine glass literally. So I’m sure the wine glass would resonate with lots of people. I’m going to do more work printing and then decide which is working for me for my final nine patch. I’ll do more wine glasses too as well as the photogram ones. If nothing else I’ll end up with lots of fabric for future works.

I may be able to get more variation within the wine glass lens series. I’m working on colour contrast rather than tonal contrast. So maybe I should ditch trying to get colours from the actual photo and simply pick one colour from the image and use its complementary for the second colour. That is effectively what has happened in the top left and that one works the best. I also need to be a bit careful about overexposing the first colour because the fabric will only take so much dye and not develop further colour over the top if I push the first exposure to its limit.

It’s meant to reference windows in a grid.

Single imagery

After hearing Matt’s presentation last week I was attracted to the idea of trying to produce my imagery of windows through the lens of a wine glass in a single image. I took a few photos of through the bottom of glasses and have printed up three. There is a lot of problems with them and if I include the source photos it will highlight the fact that the fabric prints are very soft and blurry in contrast so I won’t put them up here at this stage. I don’t want to confuse evaluation of the final prints.

I’d probably like to go with this because I think it will gel nicely as a whole work and less obviously contrived but more ambiguous. The two colours also seem to work better when I am using the same print only inverted.

Not sure about the wood strips. They might not serve to highlight the print as well as a solid dark colour would. Possibly plain black sashings would be better.

Trying to find relevant exigeses

This is an abstract from a masters exigesis by Sue Jackson.

ABSTRACT
Exploring the Interface negotiates the boundaries between the often‐disparate practices of art and
craft. The interface, as the point of interplay between these practices, is offered as a metaphor for
the negotiation of the physical and psychical boundaries of self. This project asks how these
practices can be navigated and if the interface can signify the spaces of one’s emotional and
corporeal identities. It also questions how the maternal relationship and feminine and domestic
archetypes contribute to the construction of gender.
The project aims to extend the traditional use of domestic craft while honouring the semiotic
potential of its feminine associations. I endeavour to create an expressive device from mute craft
materials and techniques using the language of the object and the poetics of metaphor. I seek to
evoke memory and the senses by activating the gallery space in a series of narrative dramas that
play out inside domestic constructs.
My artwork takes the form of a series of installations using various materials ranging from those
traditionally associated with domestic craft to more ephemeral organic matter. Handcrafted
objects reside with ready‐mades while garments and domestic artefacts nestle amongst furniture.
The project commenced with an investigation of various hierarchies pertaining to gender and
practice. An exploration of traditional craft materials and techniques led to innovative
approaches and a consideration of the maternal legacies of the craft tradition. The amassing of
craft materials and objects suggested a wealth of memories, histories and untold narratives. The
expressive potential of the craft object was explored and what emerged was the performative
function of the artwork as a means of activating senses, memory and space.
Artists who extend craft beyond traditional application, including Judy Chicago, Fiona Hall,
Freddie Robins, Anne Farren and Dave Cole, have influenced experimentation with the expressive
potential of materials and techniques. The maternal relationship is explored through the work of
Barbara Hanrahan, Lindsay Obermeyer and Kay Lawrence. Artworks by Anne Wilson, Jana
Sterbak and Magdelena Abakanowicz inform body‐specific work that focuses on corporeal
elements of gender. Mnemonic artworks by Louise Bourgeois, Tracey Emin, Magdalena Bors and
Doris Salcedo provide a reference for memory, narrative and domestic based installations.
Exploring the Interface focuses on negotiating various boundaries as a metaphor for the
construction and deconstruction of ideas of self. The work takes up a symbolic position swaying
between the physical and psychical spaces of subjectivity. Inner and outer domains manifest in
narrative constructs that inspire and are inspired by memory and lived experience.

Reference:

Jackson SM 2011, ‘Exploring the Interface: Negotiating the Boundaries between Art and Craft’, MFA, University of Tasmania, Hobart, viewed 28 September 2020, <https://eprints.utas.edu.au/12477/1/Jackson.pdf&gt; pviii

I have been looking for a website or recent work by Sue Jackson and couldn’t find anything much to follow this up with.

This publication explores the parallel between the interface of art and craft and the interface of physical and psychic. It’s not really what I was after but I am really looking for some idea about the question I can pose for my honours and also other artists that may be working in the area of quilts as fine art. I’ll probably look up some of the crafty artists she mentions 🙂

Photography tossing up

I’m not sure where to go now with photography. I liked the idea of combining the two images and then only printed once. So the view through the bottom of a wine glass would be just that in one image rather than constructed from a photo of a window view and a photogram of a wine glass.

So I have tried that and am slightly disappointed with the result. Not that it doesn’t look interesting but just that technically it’s a bit messy and hard to see what the imagery is. Not sure if that matters or not. Also only one colour is a bit dull.

The pale blue areas obscure the image a bit and I think are a result of dye pooling under the transparency.

So nine of these gridded together in a window frame like quilt could be quite interesting but I’m not sure. Think I’ll do three and put them up in comparison with the other style in diptych and see what the response is. I have all the transparencies so they aren’t wasted. The other though was that I could put some of this imagery up digitally. Even though I would make the quilt I could be assessed on the digital imagery as it will be a digital submission. So I don’t have to actually make the quilt. But if I don’t do that I feel a bit like I’m not being true to my ultimate desire.

Another thing I’ve done this week is a fixed some lumen prints. This is an example of pre and post fixing with editing to increase contrast. Also these are only photographs and not scans, which is much easier and for my purposes is enough detail. No point in having too much fine detail in translation to fabric because the process loses it anyway.

Left is pre fixing. Right is fixed. I have brought up the contrast and perhaps the saturation a bit but these are essentially the type of colours before and after fixing. I think contrast is improved if anything post fixing but Carolyn did not have that result with her paper.

This paper was in date fiber paper.

Might do a print of one of these next after I swap it in to black and white. This is a sanitiser bottle.

Joseph Beuys

Suggested by Colin as being an artist to look at. Most of Joseph Beuys work doesn’t really resonate with me but I had a look at specifically felt work this time , as I will likely use felt in my imaginary tool project.

Felt suit 1970

<https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/beuys-felt-suit-ar00092&gt;

Viewed 24 September 2020

The article associated with the above image and link states that Joseph Beuys was quoted as talking about felt as a warm sculpture and also looking at the link between everyday objects and art. Colin also mentioned that some of Joseph Beuys work was associated with healing and I can certainly feel the link between felt and healing and care. It’s part of the reason I use textiles – because of their association with care, protection, comfort and warmth.