Posts Tagged ‘patterns’

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 recently fished Green Island out of the cupboard, and it dates from 1996, so I’ve been inspired by C.C. for longer than I had thought !

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

I think this is a poor quality DYI scan of a slide, the background was plain black not a dark print as it appears here.  I put it up on the design wall and looked at it for a while, 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.

Repeat Units in Grids

Sunday, April 22nd, 2018

This morning I was reading a lovely catalogue I bought on Pacific tapa cloth  when I was in Auckland 10+ years ago.  I was shocked to find I’d never even dipped into it, and feel a bit less ignorant now than I was at breakfast time.  Lots of the photos feature designs on grids.  There are hundreds of islands in Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia where it is made, and tapas from the main islands show enormous differences in patterning and in painting or printing techniques, sometimes combined. One pattern from the island of Niue caught my eye and I diagrammed the content inside the squares.  The patterning over in adjoining squares is my doodling…

If I have a grid/block unit in mind, I’ll diagram it out on one of the sheets of paper I’ve printed off with approx 5cm squares especially for this, and always have some handy; after all I do love grids and when you look around, so do lots of other people too; the artist Agnes Martin for example, said  ‘When I first made a grid, I happened to be thinking of trees, and then a grid came into my mind and I thought it represented innocence, and I still do, and so I painted it, and then I was satisfied.  I thought ‘This is my vision’.  I can’t claim to have had such a lightning bolt experience, but I have definitely been influenced by learning traditional American geometric patchwork back in the late 80s, before I veered off into the original and non traditional.  About 20 years ago I was given a catalogue of an Agnes Martin exhibition in Madrid, with text in spanish and english – by someone here in Uruguay who was able to see how important grids were to me.  The paintings in that show included many of her grids and lines, most in the soft colours from the New Mexico desert she favoured, and I fell in love with her work.  

I also diagram out more complex things in the pages of a nice cloth covered sketchbook given me by my creative son many years ago – it’s approaching full, but there is another to hand.  I sometimes go back and carefully look at the pages from years ago – occasionally I have another go at ideas in ways I’d never have done when I first drew them up.  It’s an interesting record – not always dated or strictly chronological either, but today I thought I’d enlarge on the first two diagrams that are top and centre of the page, and did diagram #3 dating it.  I know to ‘do something’ with it I’d need to consider the lines and their shapes more carefully, and I think the resulting units need to be bigger than I’m enjoying working with at the moment (units of ~8cm finished) so scale’s a problem.   So I’ll leave it sitting there on the page – I might never use it, just as I haven’t #2 and #1, but this is definitely not a waste of time as my mind will be on it in the background and something quite unexpected might emerge the next time I look through that book 🙂

 

 

 

Arcs Are Everywhere, Take 2

Thursday, April 19th, 2018

Yes, they are everywhere around us ,  and I love the technical fit with the freehand cutting and piecing I use in many of my quilted textile statements.

Lately I’ve used strong bright colours with black particularly, and just felt I needed to go into something soft and neutral – signifying mood change or looking for balance, perhaps?   And lo and behold, last month New Zealand friend Doris MacGibbon arrived with a gift of some lovely fabrics I might very well have chosen myself if I’d been anywhere near a fabric shop that stocks such things – not in Montevideo in a million years, I think.  Several fabrics made me think of wintery beaches in various places – too cold for sunbathers and swimmers, and perhaps windy, like lots of memories of Greens Beach, northern Tasmania, or this selection from the Falkland Islands trip I took a few years back:

Confession: I did not realise I had ‘breaking wave action’ until I took these photos of the pieced top!

 

Jottings And Inspirations

Saturday, March 17th, 2018

I opened an almost-forgotten folder today, which led me down memory lane for a while, skimming through some writings by various members of a writer’s group I belonged to here some years ago.  I found fictional and autobiographical stories, and some poems including a couple of prayers; there was even a ‘Chapter 2’ of a book someone was apparently writing though I doubt it was ever completed, and there was no name on it.

Wanting to improve our writing skills, Pamela, Gerry, Mutt, Bertha, Sonya, Doris and I met regularly to discuss and critique material we’d each worked on in the preceding fortnight.  Among other things, Gerry Fairless (dec.) wrote An Appreciation in 2002 about our group which includes the following lines:  “A common aim – the urge to write/Brings us together, to excite/Each other and ourselves of  course/With our creative talent and resource.” Not brilliant perhaps, but certainly heartfelt.

One of the writings I re-read today was a poem by the late Mutt Gordon Fearing expressing her gratitude on having the gift of being able to paint.  It reminded me to stand in front of this little watercolour of hers that I pass by every day and love – “Thank you Lord for such a gift/May love of nature never cease./And whoever owns my works/Can feel in them your joy and peace.”

Watercolour Still Life, by Montevideo artist, Mutt Gordon Firing (dec.)

I have several of her watercolours, as I have always loved that medium.  Indeed, the first piece of art I ever bought was a landscape in watercolours when I was about 8 years of age.

And what  did I write and put forward to this group?  At that time I was writing short pieces for our children on early memories of my  own life, so they might understand the kind of mother they have 😉 and other articles on some of our family adventures and travels that included them.  I have been thinking I need to do more in this vein, and the grandkids, aged 15-21, are now old enough to be on the distribution list, too.  I’ve been a bit distracted from this purpose but feel ready to re-focus, and I’m no longer needing to write the great Australian novel – for me, I think short stories may be more ‘me’.

On what was apparently my first day as a member of the group, I asked the girls to critique a workshop description I was submitting to a conference organiser.  I sent it out by email to each member and each member came to the meeting with their comments on their printout.  My written introduction included “…but first, I need to come up with a snappy title: any of these?  I work a lot with lists for names of quilts, articles designs and so on, listing everything, serious or trivial, and letting them eliminate themselves one by one.”    I still use this method to come up with titles. Some of my better ideas included:

  • Scrap Quilts for Everyone,
  • New Fashioned Scrap Quilts,
  • Scraps of Skill (Required)
  • New Lives For Old Scraps
  • Tomorrow’s Traditions Today,
  • Cuttings From The Sewing Room Floor,
  • Today’s Scraps Tomorrow’s Heirlooms,
  • Scraps of Quality
  • Skillful Scraps,
  • Old Scraps New Quilts
  • Say It With Scraps,
  • Conceptual Scraps,
  • and I finally chose Hot Quilts From Cold Scraps, a workshop I have successfully taught many times now.

New Directions, 2000,  96cm  x  84cm

It was doubly pleasant to share some of these blasts from the past with former member Doris MacGibbon, who just happens to be visiting from New Zealand this week and staying here with her husband.  We’re all having a ball, talking all the time of course and covering so much ground  face to face 🙂

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