I have had the great good pleasure over the past several years of being juried into the D@8 special exhibits curated by the talented and beautiful Jamie Fingal and Leslie Tucker Jennison. This year’s exhibit, which will premier at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, TX at the end of October is titled: REFLECTIONS. Lovely, don’t you think? Open enough that it can be interpreted in many different ways.
The theme is announced a year in advance of the deadline so there is plenty of time to think about ideas. I’m usually pushing things up to the very last minute but this year I actually had an idea early on. Over Christmas my oldest daughters were home and consented to a just-for-fun photo session in my studio. As soon as I saw this picture of Haven I knew it would be perfect for the theme.
I’m pretty sure I have a DaVinci sketch of a maiden in a similar pose. Very REFLECTIVE don’t you think?
Digital processing is often an important part of my process, and this time I played with the image and came up with numerous variations and possibilities. My two favorite options were opposites in a way. One deepened the contrast and gave me a feel of a Rembrandt painting with it’s face shining in the darkness. The other was a mere sketch. I actually couldn’t choose between the two so I had them both printed up, 60″ tall by Spoonflower onto cotton cloth.
If you haven’t discovered Spoonflower yet you are in for a treat! You can print your photos up to 60″ wide if you are looking for something whole cloth or you can create fun and funky patterned cloth (like this music themed cloth I created)
Well as soon as I had the two options full sized up on my wall I knew my choice needed to be the sketch. Mostly because I had no idea how to turn the beautiful painterly work into a quilt. Faces, especially large scale portraits, are very difficult to add quilting lines too. My personal opinion is that if you follow the facial contours the quilting lines look like wrinkles. Threadpainting solves that problem but I’m not interested in that technique and don’t think it would work on such a large scale.
I used the printed sketch as a guideline and suggestion rather than as a pattern and painted over the whole cloth. I added in more dark and played here and there with seeing how much detail I could leave out and how much needed to be added in. My brush slipped and she now has a mole beside her nose. No worries.
Once the painting was done I felt I needed words. With the editing help of Facebook friends I worked out a simple haiku expressive of my feelings about this daughter as she was at the time preparing for her marriage.
rings ripple outward
whispers in waters mirror
The bottom left corner was blank and unbalances so I added the writing in. I got it crooked and it still felt too blank so I printed a hint of texture over the top. Now of course, I’m not so sure I like the writing there at all but it’s too late – the piece is off on it’s own now. Once the writing was done it suggested the theme for quilting lines of overlapping concentric circles. That part I really, really like.
I’d love to hear your comments and thoughts. What do you think of words in art? What do you think about portraiture in textiles? Do you use digital processing as part of your creative process? What do you think of the composition? And yes, I do actually love constructive criticism. I think about it, learn what I can, and don’t take any of it personally.
There is an interview with me over on the D@8 blog if you’d care to check it out. While you are there go ahead and read through some of the other participating artist interviews. I’m so honored to be in such good company for this exhibit.