Sue Y.

Reflections on Cleaning the Closet

Every year about this time I put away my summer clothes and get out those needed for colder temperatures.  I try on the winter garments to determine if they’ll “make it” another season.  Those that don’t are put in a box or bag for our local Good Will.  When my container is full, I stop.  Everything goes out the next day.  There’s no waiting for a truck to pick these items up—it just doesn’t work.  I also do the same thing in my studio.  Here items are placed in an overnight bag and taken to our local guild.  Once again when this is full—I stop.  Some of the tasks in this workshop appeared to be doing the same thing.  Many of us have enough unpleasant experiences to filla soap opera.   Life happens.  Writing helps to release some of the drama and make room for more, possibly creative thinking.  I always enjoy extra closet space and maybe this year a larger suitcase will be needed.

Along with deciding what you don’t want comes the notion of what you do.  It defines your artistic terms.  A good friend likes to do art in a perimeter of 27” by 45”.   Any show that won’t allow this size is not considered. Things can change.  Right now I prefer to hand dye or paint my own fabric.  My work is becoming more abstract.  I like color and organza overlays may give added depth to any piece.   A series with three smaller pieces to be shown as a triptych remains a favorite. Usually they’re 12” by 12” or 11” by 14”.   Most of my content features some theme from nature.  I also like to incorporate hand stitching in my work.  This is a tall order for one piece of fabric.  I do as many as I can and they provide valuable guidelines.

For this week’s activity I’ve decided to revisit a favorite theme.  The grief/recovery process discussed by Dr. Kubler-Ross and her colleagues has always held my interest.   I’ve tried to present these ideas visually before but was not completely satisfied with the results.   This time around, some things will remain while others come and go.  In searching for supplies, I found three different pieces of over dyed cotton/bamboo fabric.  A flour paste has been added for that “crackle look”.

Plans call for three 12” by 12” squares each depicting a main step on the journey from grief to happiness.  Thermo fax screens will be made to “write” appropriate words on each canvas.  For example the one on grief will include a mention of anger, resentment, and loneliness.  Subsequent layers will involve line symbols and, perhaps, a heart or two.  Jagged lines and a heart torn in pieces are ideas to express grief.  A dyed silk organza, different colors for each piece, will be the top, finishing layer. 

Enclosed is a picture of progress so far.  Naturally any comments or suggestions are most welcome.

                Part Two    Project Plans:   The Beginning

The grief/recovery process discussed by Dr. Kubler-Ross and some of her colleagues has always held interest for me.  I’ve tried to present these ideas visually before but was not completely satisfied with the results.  I’ve decided to do it again with different perimeters.  Some ideas will remain while others come and go.  In searching my supplies I found three different pieces of over dyed cotton/bamboo fabric.  I added a flour paste resist for that “crackle” look.

Plans call for three12” by 12” squares each depicting a main step on the journey from grief to happiness.   Thermo fax screens   will be made to “write” the appropriate words for each canvas.  For example the grief one will include a mention of anger, resentment, and loneliness.

The next layer will contain some type of symbol.  For example, I like to use jagged lines to represent of pain of grief.  Thermo fax or simply a paint brush can be used to put these down.  Last of all, I want to use dyed silk organza, different colors for each piece, as an over lay.

I like to hang these small pieces in a vertical line.  Extra fabric has been allowed to put them on stretched canvas.  Another option would be a clean finish with a felt backing.  They could then be secured to another neutral fabric.  Burlap seems quite popular and would provide a nice contrast.

 These plans are fairly specific but always subject to change.  I would appreciate any suggestions.  Other ideas and fresh perspectives are always appreciated.