Monday, February 1, 2010
Story Wall, 16" by 20," art quilt by Susie Monday
This wall-themed small quilt is quite obviously inspired by the paintings found in rock shelters in South Texas and other parts of the desert Southwest. The images were my own petroglyph experiments and adaptations of rock art photos I found in various books. None of them is a literal copy of an actual rock painting, since I wanted to avoid copyright and cultural appropriation issues -- though in this case, I think these artists are our common ancestors, even those of us with primarily European heritage.
I used fabrics that I first rusted and then screen printed, then used a photo transfer technique that I have recently experimented with for teaching purposes. First, you take an image, copy it using an ink jet printer onto wet media polyester film. While the ink is still wet on the film, turn the image face down on your fabric, which could be pre-moistened with a thin wash of fabric medium or gel medium, or even just dampened with water. Brayer or rub the image to transfer it onto the cloth. The image will also transfer on dry fabric, which then can be painted with medium or water -- each technique leads to a slightly different but quite painterly effect. This technique seemed quite suited for the theme, since the results are kind of rough and integrated into the surface texture of the fabrics.
I pieced and fused the little art quilt using other fabrics in the earthy palette, all small "samples" that I've made in different teaching situations. Then added a layer of batting and a backing.
I added a good deal of hand stitching with a variety of threads and thin yarns. Then, I added one more layer of printing with a thermofax screen, and finished if off with machine free-motion stitching that emphasized the different shapes.
The biggest challenge for me with this quilt was narrowing down how to interpret the theme, and making some global decisions about how I will "answer" each of the challenges for this project. While I welcome the idea of creating from different impulses, I still want the work to teach me something and to also still speak with my voice in a particular way, holding a sense of series through the media chosen, the techniques used and the approach to each different theme. I decided that each of my challenge quilts would make use of a photographic image in some way, would have a frame created by a border, and would use a transfer technique in an interesting fashion. I also want to keep a narrative perspective, rather than a completely abstract approach (dispite the name of this challenge group!).