Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Color Studies in sculpture

When I am tired and or lazy and watch too much TV, I have several things I do to keep my hands busy:

I draw what I see on TV.
I spin yarn (gotland right now).
I hand embroider.
I do automatic drawings where I scribble without looking.

It was the automatic drawings that led to these little sculptures.  None are larger than 8 inches or so. Hand sized.  Manipulatable.  Stackable.  There are more to come...but here they are so far.  I'm calling them WIDGETS, except for the carved one called FIG.

FIG is a tiny carving done in soft Balsa Foam (an Amaco product) with gesso and Flashe, an utterly matte paint with high pigment load.

The WDIGETS are built from book binders board, lots of adhesive, modeling paste, gesso, Flashe paint and wax.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Completing new work is:

Completing new work is always:

  • slow
  • curious
  • exciting
  • frustrating
  • mysterious
  • sometimes expensive

I have finally completed a few new pieces and they have each, in its own way,  ticked all the boxes above.

The first one completed is CASCADE.  It is a multilevel digital embroidery piece inspired by the stripes of Bridget Riley.  The surfaces float at various real levels and cascade to the floor.  The modules are formed around 1/4" plywood.  On the wall they attach to screws with magnets.  On the picture plane, they are permanently affixed with bolts and tubes.  The one little module that hangs off the picture plane is velcroed for safety in shipping and storage.  The floor modules are 2-sided.  60" x 28"

STAX detail
The second piece is STAX, also inspired by Bridget Riley.  It is built of 3-dimensional modules, mounted on a lovely walnut frame.  Had to use my non-existent upholstery skills to make these modules!  However, my old bookbinding skills came into use:  I built the forms from book binder's board, sewed the half tubes and then stretched and upholstered using a curved coptic stitch needle! And then I did woodworking! 13.5" x 47"

This crazy mixed media piece started as Bridget Riley stripes, a color study gone awry. The colors lay dull and flat on the rich fabric.  But after hours of stitching, I could not quite throw it away.  It hung around for quite awhile, indicting me not only on my color/thread failures... but also asking what might be next.

Meanwhile, STAX was in process.  Digital embroidery is always backed with a variety of stabilizers to support good stitch outs.  Think: Pellon or INTERFACING if you sew.  Some stabilizer can be torn off the design when it is done.  In making the modules for STAX, I tore away a series of near perfect stencils;-)  So, I used them to block out new areas of color on this piece and  continued with oil pastels and pastel pencils. It has no title yet, but I do love it.  It has mysterious sense of depth.

The next pieces in the queue are very complex...or at least LARGE.  There is a lot of sweat equity ahead before there is much to show on the embroidery front.