Friday, March 12, 2010

Progressing well.....

Following my previous blog I received three comments about my current piece. I was asked whether it was turning out as planned, whether it was proceeding as I intended and had there been drastic changes; and that I needed to be brave to paint with dye on fabric instead of a canvas.

The short answer is that this is just the way I work. I enjoy the unpredictability and challenge of not quite knowing how things are going to work out. I very quickly get bored if everything is worked out ahead.

The longer answer is that I often start with some content ideas in mind although sometimes these may surface after starting. I like my work to be edgy, to have a purpose, a message, some thoughts on a topic. This keeps the work interesting for me as the artist/maker and eventually, I hope, the viewers. Using dyes on fabric is perhaps an unusual choice of execution but in today's art world all materials are valid. Dyes are a challenge to use artistically but that also is why I use them.

In this particular piece I am using caged birds as a metaphor for lives that become trapped within their environments/circumstances and that freedom to make choices to 'escape', move on, need to be considered at all costs. A difficult recommendation as we know that this is not always possible. This piece is to acknowledge this as well.

Thank you for your comments and I hope I have answered to your satisfaction.

I wanted to break up the flat colour in the top right corner, so discharged with a 'texture'. However, I wasn't too keen on the result so decided to over-dye.....

..... with a purple which I now think works much better. Unexpectedly I have a bird's head and beak appearing here which was not intended and I am not sure how I might be able to take advantage of this.

Full view with the addition of some screen printed skeletal birds which further endorse the intent of this piece.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

More progress....

Here I have added a bird cage which is part of the theme for this piece. Colour has been added to the lower half and also to the top left corner. Parts of the top left and bottom right (between the lines) then got discharged to give a contrast.

Then I painted the top right corner a dark brown which makes the central oval more prominent (more about this corner next blog).

After leaving any dye application to cold batch overnight, I always hose the cloth on my driveway (seen here from the deck above, and around, my studio). This hosing releases any surplus dye and avoids back staining particularly when I want areas to stay white. I don't pre-soak the cloth in a soda ash solution as the surplus dye will strike on the white areas. To avoid this I add the soda ash to the thickened dye solution instead. After hosing the cloth still goes through a washing machine cycle. Any one piece may have gone through up to 20 washes before completion.

All washed and ironed. More colour has been added to the top left and bottom right corners as well.
Yet more to do.....