Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Can I Call It a Series?

I worked in the studio all day today. Gosh, it seems like it takes me FOREVER to get anything done. I spent a little time sketching, and this is the result.
It has the same colors and uses the same techniques I used for "Prayer at Sunset" (in the previous post). I have some other ideas I'd like to try using this same look. Do you think I can call this the beginning of a series?

Monday, August 29, 2011

"Prayer at Sunset" and a Zentangles Piece

I have actually been working on some pieces to take when I go to my Jane Dunnewold independent study class in late September. I have to have something to take for critique. I really don't want to be the one student whose "dog ate her homework," so... Here are a couple of pieces I'm working on. They aren't nearly finished yet.

This first piece is called "Prayer at Sunset." I saw a picture of thousands of people in rows on their knees in prayer at sunset. The picture stayed with me. I'm not sure where the sword and the eye came from; but when I started sketching, they appeared. I'll have to think on the meaning of them (obviously, it came from my subconscious somewhere). I pieced VERY narrow strips of sari silk together to get the color. They are separated by 1/4" bias tubes. I used 1/2" bias tubes for the upper portion of the piece. The sword is made of silver/gray silk. I still want to do some stitching between the eye and the rows.
I have written a blog post about Zentangles (http://quilterbeth.blogspot.com/2011/04/new-bird-pics-surprisezentaglesa-book.html) and have several of the Zentangle books. I have found great enjoyment and relaxation doing the Zentangle "doodles." I like it enough that I decided to try it with fabric. I knew it would be challenging, and it was (is). If you click the picture for a close up, you can see the detail of the work. There is lots of embroidery and texture--the upper left is made up of thousands of french knots; the circles are yo yos; the black in the clam shells is satin stitching; the spikes are paper pieced. I'm not finished with the right-hand side of the piece yet; I'm working on that. I will be adding more small yo yos to the wavy section. I'm thinking of adding one red yo yo as a focal point. 
 I did take a close up of the french knot section. The color turned out really yellow--not sure why.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

More Inspiration from Chihuly--Chandeliers and a "Tree"

These pictures come from a recent exhibit at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts called "Chihuly: Through the Looking Glass." Chihuly is famous for his chandeliers. A chandelier is the first of his pieces I ever had the opportunity to see. I fell in love right then and there.

You like?

You know I have been blogging about using some of these Chihuly pictures for inspiration...well, Robbie (from "Robbie's Paw Prints" blog) wrote me to say that her friend (Mary Andrews) made and last year displayed some quilts inspired by Chihuly pieces. Check out the pictures on her blog at http://robbiespawprints.blogspot.com/2010/08/glass-inspired-fiber.html. The quilts were on display in an exhibit called "Glass & Inspired Fiber" along with some glass work by David Hilty. I really enjoyed seeing Mary's fiber interpretation of Chihuly's work. Thanks Robbie!

Just so you can get an idea how large some of his pieces are...this "tree" was in the restaurant area outside his exhibit. I kept the background people and windows so you could actually see the size of this piece.
It, too, is made totally of glass.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Room Full of Chihuly Glass and a Boat

Boston Museum of Art--Chihuly: Through the Looking Glass Exhibit...

Inspiration for fabric art comes from many places. I was truly inspired by this work. I'm hoping to make some fiber art inspired by this beautiful exhibit. Maybe you will too.

One room was filled entirely with spectacular pieces of glass. It was arranged sort of like a forest with lots of undergrowth and a huge orange and yellow "tree." All of the following pictures are of the glass in that room with the exception of the last three.

 This is a close up of the orange and yellow "tree."
This is a glass boat--fabulous. It was almost as fun to observe the people at this exhibit as it was to view the pieces themselves. Literally, mouths were hanging open...mouths were covered with hands...and cameras couldn't click pictures fast enough.
One room contained a purple glass forest. The pieces of glass were actually coming out of real logs.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Boston Museum of Fine Art--Chihuly: Through the Looking Glass

Wow, I can't describe how beautiful this exhibit of art glass was. I'm thinking I can find some inspiration in the gorgeous colors and shapes. Maybe you can too. (I'll be posting more pictures of the exhibit over the next few days.)

These first pictures come from a room where the ceiling was made of clear glass and was filled with Chihuly's glass sculptures. The light coming through the pieces of glass literally made them glow. They were indescribably stunning.

Let me know what you think.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Global Patterns: Dress and Textiles in Africa (Boston 2011)--Continued

This is my second installation about the Global Patterns: Dress and Textiles in Africa exhibit I got to view at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in July of 2011. The exhibit is available through January 8, 2012.

Adire cloths are the work of women artists in towns such as Abeokuta and Ibadan. Women produce, merchandise, and ultimately wear the cloths. Adire translates as “resist,” a reference to the dyeing technique. The women create patterns on plain white cotton by tying or tightly stitching it, or by hand-painting parts of the cloth with cassava paste, so that the fabric will “resist” the dye. In one technique, men cut the patterns into thin metal stencils and apply the cassava paste, before women dye the cloths in large vats of natural or, more recently, synthetic indigo.
This is a shot of the full piece. (The color in the full shot is closer to what it really looked like than the color in the close up.) You can't tell in this picture that the center is made up of tiny intersecting lines. This design is made by stitching on the cloth before the dyeing is done. It is beautiful; the camera just doesn't do it justice. The indigo color is scrumptious! In the picture below, you see a close up picture of the middle and one side of the piece. You can see the tiny lines making up the center of the cloth and the tiny circles in the border. After having tried shibori for one of our techniques for the "And Then We Set It On Fire" blog, I have a whole new appreciation for fabrics such as this.
I would think the piece below would have had to use the stencils mentioned in the opening paragraph. This is a full shot of the piece. You can see a close up below that. (The color in the full shot is more true than the close up.)
This man’s hat (laket lishaash ingyeeng) is from the 20th century and is made of raffia which has been coiled and embroidered with raffia pile. “In the past, all adult Kuba men wore small conical coiled hats with four projections or “ears.” This hat is a variation of the type, for a second cap with moto sits on top of the lower one. Rows of embroidered pile embellish the dome and the “ears.” Among the Bushoong, the leading group in the Kuba kingdom, this hat was the emblem of two important titleholders in a village, the mbeem and mbyeeng. Kuba men still wear these caps, a symbol of Kuba identity for rituals such as funerals.”
This woman’s headdress (mpaan) is from the 20th century and is made of wool, burlap, raffia, glass beads, and cowrie shells. “During ceremonies, senior Kuba women wear headdresses decorated with cowrie shells and beadwork. The valuable materials and distinctive shapes indicate that the wearer has achieved wealth, a high rank, and a titled position in the multiethnic Kuba kingdom. In the 1920s and 1930s, such hats garnered attention in Paris, where the avant garde was fascinated by black culture, including African and African American art, music, dance, and design."
"The embroidered pile cloths of the Kuba peoples of the Congo probably influenced the designer of this ribbon. Kuba textiles were brought back to Europe by Belgian colonials and found their way into the marketplace and private collections. The ribbon is a literal interpretation of Kuba cloth, in its pattern and technique. Here, the pile is machine woven only into specific sections of the cloth, mimicking the more flexible technique of embroidery used by Kuba artists." I just loved the flow of this design.
This beaded figure is made of glass beads, cloth, and string. It was made in the early 20th century. “Artists in the Ekiti area of northern Yorubaland created colorful figures to be displayed in palaces and presented as gifts to foreign visitors by Yoruba rulers. This work evokes the dress and compartment of a “woman of honor,” who carries a child on her back. She wears a blouse and a skirt, both indicated by dark blue rings. Her cock’s-comb hairstyle resembles the coiffures of elegant Yoruba women in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries." I have a true appreciation for all things beaded. I once made a small beaded Halloween bracelet from a kit. It took me a really LONG time and wasn't all that much fun to do. I can't imagine beading a piece of art like this.
This man’s kente cloth is from the 20th century. “The man who made this masterful wrapper wove squares and rectangles of similar sizes in each strip. When the bands were stitched together, they created a blue and white grid. The elegant red and white designs along the wrapper’s sides results from the addition of supplementary wefts (horizontal yarns) to create further patterns and introduce color.”
This is another piece of kente cloth. I couldn’t photograph the information about this one because of the glare from the display case.
All quoted material came from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts Global Patterns: Dress and Textiles in Africa exhibit.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Global Patterns: Dress and Textiles in Africa (Boston 2011)

I recently went to Boston, where I had the opportunity to catch a couple of great exhibits. In this post, I will concentrate on the “Global Patterns: Dress and Textiles in Africa exhibit. “The exhibition highlights continuities, innovation, and the exchange of ideas from within and without that characterize dress and textile production in Africa. Part of the exhibit focuses on just a few traditions: indigo resist dyed “adire” cloths from Nigeria, intricately strip-woven “kente” cloths from Ghana, and beaded attire of the Yoruba peoples in Nigeria and the Xhosa and Ndebele peoples in South Africa. Other sections of the show briefly explore African adaptations of European dress and the melding of African styles and global fashions.” It is available for viewing at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston until January 8, 2012. It is a small exhibit but one worth viewing. Here is a little taste of the exhibit. (It is hard to get the true feel of the intricasy of the designs unless you can see these picture a little closer. Remember, you can click on the pic and click again to get a real close up.)
This is a bridal ensemble from the 20th century.” It is made of wool and cotton twill blanket, glass beads, cotton thread, cotton canvas, brass, and leather. “Ndebele brides’ beaded attire includes a richly embroidered blanket; a bridal apron; a beaded veil; a neck ornament; neck, arm, and leg rings; and a distinctive train. On their wedding day, brides receive a grass broom with a beaded handle, alluding to their new domestic duties. In older works, such as the train, white beads predominate and geometric motifs are delicate.”
This is a neck ring from the mid-20th century. It is made of glass beads, straw, thread, and metal tacks. “Among the Ndebele, big neck ornaments are characteristic elements of young unmarried women’s ceremonial attire. They consist of straw rings covered with strands of beads. After marriage, copper or brass neck rings replace them, indicating a woman’s new status.”

“Glass beads of European manufacture first arrived in Africa during the sixteenth century, in exchange for gold, slaves, ivory, and other raw materials. Among them were so-called seed beads, which became an important artistic medium, and fostered dynamic changes in fashion.”
This is a cape for a member of the Ogboni society from the mid-20th century. It is made of cloth, glass beads, and three iron attachment rings. “When a male member of the Ogboni secret society wore the cape, a rod was inserted into the top cloth to hold it in place. The Ogboni assembled important townsmen who protected the community by dealing with conflicts that threatened its well-being.”
This is an Ifa diviner’s necklace (ikolaba ifa) from the mid-20th century. It is made of locally woven cloth, glass beads, thread crystals, and nuts. “For the Yoruba, Ifa divination helps individuals—whether commoner or king—gain understanding of the forces that affect their lives. Ifa priests receive years of instruction from older priests, learning to interpret signs and master Ifa’s vast oral literature. When they become persons of wisdom, they are allowed to wear beaded necklaces such as this one.”
This woman’s ceremonial skirt (ntchakabwiin) is from the early 20th century. It is made of raffia plain weave and is embroidered with raffia. The Kuba women embroider plain raffia cloth with loops and cut the stitches to create a velvety pile surface. Their freehand patterns do not rigidly repeat design elements, as necessitated by mechanized looms and printing devices used in Western textile production. Rather, they vary shapes interrupt lines, and combine sharply differing units. This freedom appealed to early-twentieth-century European and American textile designers. They appropriated Kuba patterns, a trend that continues to this day.

I have a few more things to show you from this exhibit. Stay tuned.