Fabric artists and quilters often point to a fabric in a piece, naming it as the inspiration, the starting point. My work usually begins in a conversation with a client or in an a dialogue that has a bit of friction to it. I have struggled with getting started on works I want to make for the past three months. I eliminated words and am using fabric as a starting point.
I am not shopping; I am printing and dyeing. I cut 40 pieces of print quality cotton roughly 18 by 22” (which is known as a fat quarter in the world of quilting.). I added a safety pin to a corner of each piece because I want to identify the 40 panels as they are created then used in art pieces. Last week, during an unseasonably warm day, I hauled out equipment for ice dyeing.
Studio cloth which I have dyed or painted myself contributes to the exploration of randomness juxtaposed with pattern that is so abundant in my work. Ice dyeing is a way to create contrast in shape, visual texture, and light and dark value with very little control of the outcome. I added pattern to the process of dyeing a dozen fat quarters by using 4 colors on each of three sets of cloth, considering the color wheel in the selection of dye, and using fabric that was the same size and fiber content.
I chose dye in three color ways: primarily blue, shades of green, and golden neutrals. The dyes were procion type from Dharma Trading company. At the end of the day, I had empty trays, rinsed fabric ready for a final wash, and a sense of accomplishment. Today I pressed and photographed the results. I have a starting point!