I’ve gotten a little behind in my blogging. These are photos from a few days ago when I was adding stitch to the panels. In the shibori fabric above the stitched line adds both contrast and definition. Below you can see the inside of the back panel which will be hidden in the finished piece. And the bottom photo shows the bottom of the piece with the title and signature.
I’ve been fitting the peltex skins to the steel skeleton. Stitching and trimming as I go. I love the interior structure of this one, the angularity of the lines makes an interesting contrast with the smooth whiteness of the peltex. And then it disappears into a curved, blank form.
There’s a satisfaction in getting it to this stage but it’s short-lived. The next step is to take the panels off the form so that I can add fabrics to them. My husband was asking me if this part isn’t an extra step. I told him it’s like a second or third draft when you’re writing. You know it’s not the final, but it’s a necessary step toward getting there.
stitching on the base
the completed form in peltex
fitting a paper pattern to the steel frame
I’m going through a lot of paper figuring out how to work with these steel forms.
First, I made small paper maquettes. Then I made full-size paper models. Then I made a second set so that the welder had both 2-d paper patterns and 3-d full-size models for reference when making the steel frames. Now I’m remaking the paper patterns to fit the steel forms which, although they are close, are not exactly the same as the originals.
Lots of paper.
draped piece, front
I picked up one of the welded forms today. It looks good. Steve is really figuring out how to craft these crazy forms.
I’ve been a little nervous about how to move forward. I’m stepping outside of my process and having to figure things out all over again. Usually I’m working with two-dimensional patterns that become three-dimensional when I join them together, much like a dress pattern. Now I’m creating a skin to cover a skeleton.
Life has been very full lately: we’ve been doing a small remodel to our house for the past six weeks. And this week my daughter’s pet guinea pig got sick. Both of those things came to a end today. Our contractor finished the job, took his tools, and moved out. Yay! And I had to have our sweet little guinea pig, Oreo, put to sleep. Very sad.
So between going to Home Depot to get cabinet door pulls and going to the vet there wasn’t much time for the studio. I did squeeze in an hour, though. I had to drop off the steel form and figured, while I was there, I’d iron some of my new dyed fabrics. With a few extra minutes I started considering which fabrics went together for the new pieces.
As I was laying them out I realized I could drape them over the form and look at them in three dimensions instead of two. What a revelation! I felt like I was on Project Runway.
I was quickly able to drape fabrics over the form and use binder clips to hold them. Usually, choosing fabrics is a laborious process of smoothing the fabrics out on the table, framing them with paper outlines, climbing on a stool to see them from above, then folding them up to try a different combination. This was so fast and so much easier. I decided on my fabrics in a few minutes instead of hours!
It was an encouraging start. Maybe I’ll be actually get these new pieces done before the holidays, after all.
This morning was sunny and cold. I was in a hurry as I started to load up my car but I had to stop and get out my camera. The delicate ice tracery of frost had changed what was a wet and mushy garden into a photo opportunity that wasn’t going to last long in the sunshine.
The crystalline structures on the top rail of my fence were like a frosty lining of fur and the creeping thyme became bunches of miniature white roses. My neighbor’s unraked leaves received a fresh coat of white paint before they melted back into a soggy mess; compost for next year’s growth.
Like compost, these images grab moments of time, sitting and fermenting in my mind until they are called on to bring forth nutrients for the next inspiration.
frost on the fence rail
and on the creeping thyme
I went by Steve Anderson’s shop yesterday to check out the progress on the steel frames he’s making for me. His shop is such a contrast from my studio. It’s all fire and metal, grease and dirt. It’s such a contradiction to the soft silks and velveteen that I work with and which will be the skins on these skeletons.
The forms are looking good and should be ready for me to pick up today. I’m not used to seeing an interior structure for the pieces. It confuses my eyes to look at them. And yet, there they are in metal from the inside out!
I’m looking forward to the next steps with a little trepidation. I wish I had more time to figure out this new process without a looming deadline. Oh well, it’s just the push I needed, really.
Here we go . . .
I’ve been dyeing lots of fabric while I’m waiting for my new big forms to come back from the welder. About 26 yards, as a matter of fact. I’ve been working with a palette of five colors and three techniques: low-water immersion, pole wrapped shibori, and flour paste. I set the flour paste up over the weekend. I applied the flour to one two yard piece each day because of space limitations. By today I had three pieces dry and ready for dye. Tomorrow I’ll dye the last one and have the dubious pleasure of washing out the flour. It’s a messy task but worth it. I sure do love the organic crackly effect I get from it.