Clear Vinyl !

Previously I mentioned I’d brought back some clear vinyl sheeting from my recent visit to Colorado. Look, it’s probably available here in hardware stores, but I haven’t been scouting around for it. The minute I saw it in Denver, I just knew I needed some, because I had been asking the store assistant if they had any faux black patent leather. Those two clauses are related only in that these are both non-conventional materials for an artist of layered quilted fabrics or fabric-like materials. They had no faux patent leather that I discovered and then used in ‘Land Marks’ 2016:

Land Marks 2016

Land Marks, detail – faux patent leather/vinyl, mylar backed ripstop nylon

but said they did have some ‘other vinyl things’, so, drawn irresistibly as a moth to a flame, I went to look, and found this clear vinyl. There were various weights. I chose the thinnest – wisely or not – it is heavier duty than cellophane, but thinner than the stuff used in a see-through makeup bags or one of those tote bags with colourful inner liners.

On Pinterest one recent morning, I clicked a link to someone’s work and though I looked hard just now, I just can’t find it again. Anyway, it was a small fibre construction, a sample I think, and sewn between two clear layers of clear vinyl. Seeing that spurred me to my first experiment with this terrific new stuff – I am so vulnerable to anything shiny!

I learned: (a) I need to find a way to control the evenness of the stitch (paper beneath it prolly) and (b) this has interesting potential as a ‘quiltmaking’ material. (c) Try hand stitch too.

I was reminded of the exhibition of Montevideo artist Lilian Madfes’ 2011 show in which I photographed this work:

I love this very innovative work – it’s not large, maybe a bit under 1m sq., and Lilian was very surprised to hear me say that I regard this as a perfect fit into the definition of ‘a quilt’ in the art quilt world today: “An art quilt is defined by SAQA as “a creative visual work that is layered and stitched or that references this form of stitched layered structure”. The word “references” allows for a broader understanding of the art quilt that welcomes growth and development of individual style.”

That’s all got me thinking, and again trying to mentally get past the visible hanging rod and sleeve thing that I’m perennially stuck on about hanging sheer textile works. (Eyelets? Sleeves?) My view is, if you can’t display them well/effectively, you shouldn’t bother making them at all… Or is that just being so narrow minded as to stifle creativity? Afterall, I could make a heap of these things and put them in a 3-ring binder … it wouldn’t be the first work I’ve presented in a binder:

Mixed media pieces pre-1987. Hand and machine embroidery.

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