Posts Tagged ‘landscape’

Ancient History in Sheer Layers

Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

This Egypt themed work has never been ‘lost’ because I bump into it every now and then.  I don’t  remember giving it any name, it isn’t listed in my catalogue but I will rectify that, I’ve never shown it, nor did it lead on to a new body of work that I thought at the time it would; though I knew I didn’t want to make a set of ‘Egypt’ quilts.  I think it is an expression of awe I felt the whole time we were visiting a place that had fascinated me since I was a young child, and having put that into fabric, I left it.

 

We visited the country about ten years ago, before the Arab Spring upheavals, and of course layers and layers of human activity and history confront at every turn, carved and painted onto thousands of mural walls, monument bases, stelae and temple columns, and used to decorate all manner of objects both useful and not so useful for sale to the throngs of tourists who have not yet gone back to the pre-revolutionary numbers.  I’m certain this layers of history thing prompted my choice to use nylon organza to give a blurry sense of the passage of distant times – check the left side of the photo below.  Some pyramids, the sphinx and Tutankhamun’s iconic headdress are lurex fabrics cut to shape with marker pen details added.

Recently someone asked what fellow artists recommended for stabilising some kind of organiza for free machine quilting.  My sheer Egypt piece came to mind, and I recommended that maintain the sheer quality and avoid slippage between the layers, that she might hand baste and then freely quilt/embroider without either foot or hoop.  It’s a decade since I made this work, and so I think that’s how I handled it!  but it’s hard to tell from the photo or the actual (crumpled) work pulled from the cupboard.  As I often do, I found it a bit wondrous to see something I’ve not paid any real attention to for ages.  There’s a lot about this work I really like.

My regular readers know I’ve recently been thinking about influences from landscape in my work, the tracks left by Man, and natural patterns of all kinds in landscape.  Here’s a great pic, taken in the Black Desert SSW of Cairo, showing a network of tracks in the ancient desert landscape.

Tracks And Marks

Wednesday, September 12th, 2018

 

 

Almost no one currently alive will ever find themselves in a landscape of any kind where they could be 100% sure no human has ever been, although on a deserted beach or a windswept landscape stretching into the distance, if you ignore the sometimes subtle tracks ahead, squint your eyes and forget your recent flight, bus, train hike, bike or boat trip that got you there, it may just be possible to imagine you are the first human to ever set foot on that landscape …

Though it took me years to actually name a group of works ‘Tracks’, I know that landscape shapes, colours and textures are all track marks left by Mother Nature on those surfaces.  Modern Man, too, has left many complicated marks – fences, pipelines, railways, roads, power lines, canals, airports and ports, marshalling yards, to say nothing of small towns and vast cities with horizontal mazes of streets, bridges and roads, and multilevel vertical mazes of human habitation –  really, the tracks of human activity are everywhere.  Though I have focused more on the patterning on artifacts and drawn images on rocks, cliffs, cave walls and open plains, the ‘tracks’ made by Man on landscapes are not limited to the ancient ones that I’ve always found so awe inspiring, intriguing as those are.

In the design of my quilt, New Directions, 2000, the multitude of lines from every direction represent the paths and tracks of human migration onto our continent in the last 60,000 years.  I have just read Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu  which details the agricultural practices of Australia’s indigenous Aboriginal people.  Until now, having grown up in Tasmania, and lived overseas for many years, I’d never heard of extensive fish traps on the great inland river systems, and the extensive areas planted with grains on the open plains, many of which were seen by the colonists but dismissed by settlers and farmers with European farming practice backgrounds.  Ignorant of the sustainable land management practices the indigenous people had practised for thousands of years, they dismissively assumed they were not civilised enough to have devised such systems.  This fascinating book has me thinking more about tracks and pathways.

Eye-Opening Grids

Friday, May 25th, 2018

Browsing online recently, I discovered the beautiful textile art of Canadian artist Chung-Im Kim .

Born in South Korea, and for nearly three decades resident in Canada, Chung-Im’s art interestingly and successfully blends her cultural past with her cultural present. Traditional Korean bojagi are some of the cultural roots to which Chung-Im periodically returns for inspirational refreshment; and in one body of work these well-known traditional textiles have become canvases for print and stitch compositions.  But it is her dimensional, sculptural work with felt that blew me away, with alluring titles of groups of work in her portfolio – pre-grids, grids, free grids, living geometry and miniatures.

Felt is made from a large variety of natural, synthetic fibres and blended fibres, with wool felt considered to be one of the oldest textiles in human history.  Late last year I wrote of an interesting exhibition by some international feltmakers in the textile biennial here in Montevideo, and though I have found and bought some beautifully crafted felt things down the years, I’ve still never seen anyone actually making felt, and have never seriously considered it as a ‘raw material’ for my own art, though I am aware of artists such as Rebecca Howdeshell US,  Siv Goransson UY and Australian Nancy Ballesteros.

Chung-Im describes her materials and process as industrial felt screen printed with digitally engineered images, which she presumably cuts into, and then assembles the remaining pieces by hand, for which see this image.  So I googled ‘industrial’ felt, and now understand ‘felt’ to be a huge field, more varied than I’d ever thought about, and of large scale manufacturing of felted fibres of various kinds and blends with industrial applications including carpet underlays and gaskets for use in some machinery. The most interesting site I spent time on provides sizes of pre-cut and rolled felt from small custom shapes, various page-sized sheets up to huge rolls of various widths and thicknesses, depending on the buyer’s requirements.  I immediately began developing a mental list of ‘buyer’s requirements’ to ask about, and it almost makes me want to ditch my woven fabrics and clear studio space for some industrial felt supplies … No, I doubt I’d take such a radical step, but some ideas a percolating, and as I do have some small pieces of craft felt around, some time I might paint, monoprint or stencil something on it of my own design, or look into getting something printed, as a canvas for embroidery, perhaps.  Felt as a non-fraying material with some body or stiffness is inspiring…but I digress.

These works really opened my eyes to the potential of ‘grids’, and to the realisation that I may have been interpreting ‘grids’ too narrowly, despite several posts on the subject, like this one .   Isohyets, topographical maps, aerial photos, erosion patterns, in fact all kinds of contour lines associated with diagrams, maps and charts all come flooding into my mind when viewing these works.

Chung-Im Kim, dawn,  2012,   71 x 60 x 6 inches.  Image artist supplied.

Chung-Im Kim, nalgae,  2012,  43 x 44 x 5 inches.  Image artist supplied.
Chung-Im Kim,  baekya 2009, 46 x 47 x 4 inches.  Image artist supplied.

These and many more works on her website show inspiration from landscape shapes and patterns of surface textures.

Another interesting group of work is titled ‘living geometry’ , containing pieces which I initially thought could have been filed with ‘free grids’, because all their grids are certainly irregular.  However, on further reflection, I realised the difference in concept is that these pieces appear to be growing right out of a surface in a very organic way, suggesting they are alive.

The combination of smooth, printable surface and stiffness that lends itself to sculptural goals, reminded me of the wool felt sculpture/garment exhibited by heather Brezo Alcoceba of Spain, which I mentioned in the post of 14/11/2017 last.  (scroll well down)  In this pop-over shoulder cape kind of garment, the wearability of which was not immediately obvious, it now occurs to me that that very 3D surface has a strong connection to the idea of irregular grids.

I’d like to thank Chung-Im Kim for supplying images and giving permission to use them in this article.

 

The Chinese Coins Connection

Sunday, April 29th, 2018

A day or two ago I commented on facebook to Kay Korkos who showed a pic of a vibrant, colourful, bedquilt she made in the traditional Chinese Coins pattern.  I said how that particular pattern had provided ongoing inspiration for many pieces in my Ebb&Flow series which began around 2004.

But then I remembered that I had recently fished Green Island out of the cupboard, and that dates from 1996, so I’ve been inspired by chinese coins for much longer than I had thought.  I sat for a while, looking at it up on the design wall, as I hadn’t really looked at it in ages; and it sort of surprised me how much I love it.  I need to put it up somewhere – or perhaps someone else does 🙂  The irregular shaped top is internally reinforced so that the pieces stay upright flat against the wall and don’t flop forward.

Green Island 142cm x 104cm, 1996,  photographed against black

 

My Three ‘First’ Quilts

Sunday, March 11th, 2018

I am not going to go into the complicated detail of this claim though – it’s long and complicated; I just want to post the link to this post on FB, which for some reason tonight doesn’t seem to want to allow me to post all three to illustrate the point I’m making in an exchange there 🙂

Distant Shores 1987

First Day on The Slopes  1988

 

 

Ancient Expressions 1  1988

 

 

 

Translate »
%d bloggers like this: