Sometimes the challenge for a textile artist comes after the acceptance notice arrives. “Bring your artwork in a box, a portfolio case, or some sort of wrapping, as it will be moved and needs to be protected.” When I make textile work that hangs like a scroll or when I mount textile work on stretcher bars, the answer to this requirement is easy.
Dance on Dappled Ground consists of 7 quilted panels mounted on window screen attached to wood stretcher bars. I designed this structure to make it easy to hang while preserving the suggestion that the panels would move in a breeze. I failed to consider that the art would travel if accepted to the exhibition.
I invented a low cost, easily executed solution. Attach the art to cardboard larger than the art using twist ties through the screw eyes. Sandwich another piece of cardboard on top. Slip the whole art and cardboard sandwich into a cloth bag with handles made with free to me fabric. Ready for delivery.
Creating a custom item for a client is often a pleasant path for all concerned. Existing work inspires possibilities for forming a specific product. Familiar techniques and materials are combined in fresh ways to make a unique studio crafted item.
The lower center photograph depicts the materials and motif placement for a stole evolving from the one on the left. The client amended my choice for the flame fabric, noting that the flame is specified to be red.. I added red paint to the orange fabric.
I sent the photo of the near completed stole for approval. While she and I both liked the shell sequins at the end of each curve, she was not sure the recipient would. I checked that I could apply sealant to the knot without affecting the fabric and let her know we were good to go. If the beaded bits are too fussy for him, they can easily be snipped off.
We display vestments here at Studio Three 17, and on Fibergig’s Facebook, Pinterest, and Etsy locations. Get inspired and contact us about customization. Many of our techniques and materials translate into secular garments and accessories. Consider the possibilities.
Inspired by the bounty of garden produce in August and September, I created a stack of dyed and printed fabric on warm sunny days. On rainy days, I trimmed select fabric into squares and finished the edges. I call them furoshiki (Japanese cloths for wrapping and carrying objects).
The squares debut this weekend at Oak Hart Farms Holiday Market. If you received a bottle of wine wrapped in art fabric, would you spread the cloth over a table and have a celebration? And would my sewing friends stash it away for a delightful new project on a snowy day?
Creating requires practice and it produces left overs. We are a studio mindful of good economy and careful stewardship. Practice prints of trees for a chasuble are reserved for other secular art work. Paint and dye techniques practiced on silk dyes reappear on clergy stoles and women’s apparel.
I learned the lessons of practice and left overs growing up on a farm. The practice jacket for a 4-H project was not made from muslin, but rather an inexpensive cotton that was serviceable. The batches of practice brownies made the month before the county fair were snacks for farm workers. Grandma Alice’s midweek menu often included a “mess” of something, which was usually a tasty medley of this and that. Of course, patch work quilts were the destiny of fabric left from cutting clothing.
These work habits are now labeled generative and derivative work. I add time to production schedules of major projects to include intentional production of cloth that will generate new art work. I organize work space to facilitate quick cuttings of small gift items derived from both the ideas and materials of large projects. I hope to work with greater focus, continued expertise, and deeper expression.
Lutheran congregations use red paraments and vestments on Passion Sunday, Pentecost Sunday, Reformation Sunday, and services that celebrate the life of a particular saint. Today these vibrant wall hangings were delivered to Shepherd of the Hills in Haymarket VA.
Members of the congregation contributed the fabric and cut all the small crosses attached to the wall hangings. They have stories that connect them to the cloth used in this work.
I explained to newly-installed Pastor Percy that my work is not about perfection. Instead I use imperfection to help create a welcoming place for worshipers. While I strive for excellence in my craftsmanship, imperfection leaves space for worshipers to find themselves welcome just as they are. I believe that the church today is in greater need of community than of reverence expressed in finery.
This congregation was hesitant about adding hangings to the wood columns, but they trusted my design. They have sets for each liturgical season, which are an integral part of weekly worship. The cloth and color create a welcoming and comforting environment.
Creating art work for a specific environment can offer the opportunity to use new sizes and proportions. The client wanted pulpit frontals that picked up colors in the stained glass, that did not obscure the cross in the pulpit, and that complemented the chapel furnishings.
dedication of chapel paraments
The results include bold cross designs in fresh proportions and hemmed with a curve that echoes the art over the altar. During regular worship services, only one frontal is used. The frontals are crafted from easy care cottons that can be washed or dry-cleaned. It is always my hope that worshippers will feel free to touch the tactile expressions of faith.
The Fibergig portion of Studio Three 17 is a partnership between myself and my daughter Emily. She holds the reins on marketing, social media, and technology while managing her own work which includes working at Bella Filati, her hometown yarn shop. When she reported a creative block for a project design, I suggested that I help out, providing I could crochet, not knit.
I designed this Harvest Trivet to protect wood tables. As I photographed the near completed project, I discovered the combined textures of wood, wool, and pottery. Yarn and design for the trivet will be available at the yarn shop (bellafilati.com) in October. The bowl is a product of Center Ring Designs; see more of Diane’s work at centeringdesign.com.
Emily and I usually express our partnership through each one completing the tasks in her department. Helping each other outside of our assigned duties is an expansive cross training. Who encourages you to try new things? Who helps you with creative block?
Custom work filled many summer days at the studio this year. Completed projects are now delivered. Before I completely shift into next season’s work, my hands and mind are revisiting techniques and tools: a bit like a family reunion.
Grandma Alice showed me how to tie quilts when I was a teenager. My fingers readily repeat the old motions. I enjoy adding this simple bit of thread into textile art. Seen here, knots added to wall hanging used in the worship space of The Legacy, Staunton, VA.
This composition is based on the petition from The Lord’s Prayer, save us from the time of trial. As a child I was taught, save us from temptation. Having lived through a life altering trial, I prefer the more contemporary version.
I selected the image for this week as Christians near the observance of Holy Week. I am also studying it more closely for how I placed the elements in the square frame.
I am sharing it online, as a reminder to us all to seek justice, love kindness, and to walk humbly. That focus may be some ease to our own trials and temptations.