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Archive | February, 2014

Holographic Memories and More – Wen Redmond

By Wen Redmond

Unhinged by Wen Redmond

Unhinged by Wen Redmond

I make art because I must. Urges to create must be followed.

I have worked in fiber in one form or another for over 30 years. My work continues to change and grow as I explore processes, techniques, and presentations. As a result, I have created several signature techniques such as Holographic Images, Digital Fiber, Textured Photographs and Serendipity Collage.

I am passionate about my work. It is biographical and reflective, a working meditation. As I work, it becomes a collaborative process with spirit or my higher self, that mind-boggling principle of the universe. This process has been called ‘flow’. When you are in this state of mind, the intuitive is tapped and the work can become more than the sum of its parts.

I am a photographer and a textile artist. Merging the two arts has allowed me to push the medium of textiles to see what it can do, to stretch its perception as valid art medium.

Discovering new processes

My fabric starts out white and I dye, paint, print, digitalize and go mad with color to create the look I want. Often I use my photographs in this process. I use transparent silk organza and combine prints in mixed media compositions. When I print with a digital printer I use inkjet-prepared organza to ensure it will not fade or run. My Epson printer is set up with Ultra Chrome inks which are archival, waterproof, and fade resistant for at least 200 years.

The 3D effect of layering an organza print over the transfer print.

The 3D effect of layering an organza print over the transfer print in Unhinged.

One day after printing silk organza, I was peeling the organza photograph off the carrier sheet and noticed the ink left on the carrier sheet had a duplicate image, somewhat like a shadow. When I layered the organza print with the secondary image it created a 3D effect. After some experimentation I found that the key to attaining the 3D look is to retain a small amount of space between the two images. If the organza image is placed flat on the same image, it merges. If the second image is placed too far from the first, the back image is lost completely.

Wen Redmond adding artist bars to the back of an organza print.

Wen Redmond adding artist bars to the back of an organza print.

I discovered 3/4” artist bars, used for stretching canvas; leave the exact space required for this dimensional image effect. My technique requires printing two identical photos, one on transparent silk organza and one for a transfer. The transfer is applied inside the backing, so the combined image of the top transparent organza photo and the transfer photo create the final 3D effect or what I have termed Holographic Images.

Normally I sew the organza photo into fabric borders so the wooden artist bars aren’t visible when mounted. I love creating my own fabrics for the borders. These include dyed, painted, stamped, and thermal fax photo silkscreens.

Workshops explore various techniques

I share my fabric painting techniques in my workshop Holographic Memories and More. The workshop covers many paints and painting techniques, including sun printing. I encourage painting several different pieces for the borders to find fabric that best compliments the final holographic picture. Students have the freedom to embrace their inner spirit, their artistic voice. The validation the student obtains is sometimes a surprise to them and a gift to me. The privilege of teaching is stimulating and rewarding to me.

WenRedmond_teachingWen Redmond, a mixed media/fiber artist, living in Strafford, New Hampshire. Redmond’s technique was first published in Quilting Arts magazine, 2007. She has appeared on Quilting Arts TV and has a DVD, Holographic Memories, and Textured Photographs available through Interweave Publishing. Her website is www.wenredmond.com and blog is fiberartgoddess.blogspot.com

Upcoming Workshops

Quilt Surface Design Symposium 2014
May 26- June 8
Columbus, OH

Hudson River Valley Art Workshops
Dec 4-7
Greenville, NY

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Art Quilts — A primer

By Kathleen Loomis

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Little Fish in a Big City by Kathy York, QN2011

Every exhibit of contemporary art quilts has its quintessential moment of confusion as somebody walks in the door, looks around in bewilderment, and announces, “But these aren’t quilts!” No doubt this person was expecting fabric constructions big enough to fit on a bed, perhaps with traditional block designs, maybe even quilted by hand. This newfangled stuff, which you would never put on your bed, just doesn’t fit the definition.

Looking at the wide variety of works that have been accepted in past Quilt National exhibits, you may share some of that confusion. The rules are pretty vague: “the work submitted must possess the basic structural characteristics of a quilt.” That generally means multiple layers of fabric, held together with stitching, with some kind of visual design on the layer facing the viewer.

There are as many ways to accomplish that objective as there are stirrings of the quilter’s imagination. Let’s take a whirlwind tour of some of the possibilities.

First, a visual design.

Traditional quilters generally relied on two methods to make their design. They might sew pieces of different fabric together in patterns (called piecing) or they might sew a piece of fabric, cut into a shape, on top of a base fabric (called applique).

Our Dads at War by Mary Ann Tipple, 2007

Our Dads at War by Mary Ann Tipple, QN2007

Contemporary quiltmakers still use those methods, but they also have a wide range of other ways to get a design onto the top layer of the quilt. They might draw onto a background or use printmaking techniques, with paint or dye. They might print photos or other images or text from a computer. They might allow bits of metal to rust onto their fabric or bury it in the garden for six months to become stained.

Where the traditional quiltmaker would sew her appliques by hand or machine, today’s quiltmakers might use glue, staples, snaps or Velcro. And the bits of stuff applied might be paper, wood, buttons, beads or metal in addition to fabric.

Earth and Soul by Pat Owoc

Earth and Soul “To Go” by Pat Owoc, QN1999

 Second, multiple layers.

The traditional quilt is made of a top, a back and a middle layer of batting (usually cotton or wool for warmth). Today’s quilt might use kinds of fabric never seen in traditional practice: netting, chiffon, felt, canvas, knits, nonwoven interfacings, landscape fabric, plastic. One or more of the layers might be paper, plastic, hardware cloth, screening, wood, even metal.

Third, stitching to hold the layers together.

Traditionally, quilts were held together with a dense network of hand-stitching, although many makers were thrilled to use the sewing machine as soon as that invention became available. Today’s quiltmakers might stitch by hand or machine, or they might use fasteners such as staples or rivets. Reprising the traditional whole cloth quilts, in many cases the stitching itself provides part or all of the visual design.

No longer intended for the bed, today’s contemporary quilt art has no prescribed size or shape (although Quilt National sets a maximum of 100 inches to a side). Most quilts are still two-dimensional and hang flat against the wall, but many have 3-D elements sewed into the fabric or applied to the surface, or are hung on armatures that extend from the wall.

With this vast range of possibilities, it may be either surprising or comforting that so many of the Quilt National works are still so traditional in form, if not in their visual imagery. Most contemporary quiltmakers choose to make their art in the quilt form because of their love of and respect for its long and rich heritage, and the very choice of this process is an integral part of the art.

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Brooke Atherton’s Solar Sojourn

Brooke Atherton had a deadline to meet for a major SAQA exhibit. She also wanted to join her family on their annual pilgrimage to Montana. Here is the story of how they were able to do both.

Something I look forward to every year is our two week retreat to the Little Belt Mountains, part of the Rockies, in central Montana.  I grew up in Ohio where our camping was done in KOA-type facilities with daily showers, lots of other people, and trips into town for anything we forgot to pack.  Local wild life included giants—it was the training camp for the Cincinnati Bengals.  They traveled in packs, and even as a teenager I slipped my hand into my father’s and moved closer to him for protection whenever they were near.

Brooke Atherton sewing chair

Atherton’s favorite sewing chair in the middle of Lone Tree Park.

The places we camp now are full of a different kind of wildlife.  We share the woods with moose, elk, deer, black bears (but not grizzlies!), owls, coyote, and many other birds, animals and fish.  There were rumors this year of a wolf. Normally I pack notebooks and basic handstitching supplies and take lots of walks. I start every morning standing on the edge of the meadow watching the gray early morning turn into a beautiful sunrise, watching for signs of the life around me waking up or bedding down. Evenings are spent the same way; it is very calming and inspiring. Town is 45 minutes away, so we are careful to pack in everything we need.  We’ve aged out of truly primitive camping, but if the weather is fine we throw our bags on the ground and sleep under the stars. We’ve had plenty of trips, though, where we did have to tarp the campfire.

Deadline defines the solution

In August, my husband watched me working, stitching a five foot square canvas, facing an approaching deadline for my contribution to the SAQA exhibit, Earth Stories.  “You’re not going to be able to go camping, are you?” he said.

“I don’t see how,” I said.

“What if you were able to take your sewing machine?”

A week later, the afternoon before we were to leave, two portable solar panels were delivered.  We didn’t have time for testing, so packed a range of odd things—anything with a power cord.

MontanaSewing

Solar-powered sewing machine in the middle of the Lewis and Clark National Forest

And that is how I came to have my solar-powered Bernina in the middle of the Lewis and Clark National Forest, meet the deadline, and have plenty of family time around the campfire watching the moon and the stars.  We don’t run into many other people while we’re out there, so I was surprised by how many visitors we had in camp last year.  They could see something odd yet familiar from the road, and wanted to see what it was.  Most left saying “My wife’s going to want one of those.”  I’ll be back to stitching by hand next year, but it’s nice to know there are options.

Brooke Atherton

Brooke Atherton

Brooke Atherton is an award-winning quilt artist. Her piece, Springfield, won Best of Show at Quilt National 2013. Her art is a visual record of her life in the North American West.  She is inspired by natural forces such as fire and water, and a diverse range of objects and materials collected from countless walks across the landscape. To see more of her work go to brookeathertonart.com

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Telling stories with photos and dyes

by Patty Kennedy-Zafred

In my work, it is the images that inspire the process, the color, the size, and the concept for the piece.  The images tell the story, create the mood, and draw the viewer in for a little longer.

After several years of making traditional, hand-quilted pieces, I began in the early 1990s to experiment with ways to get images into my work.  That took the form of transferring images to acetate, working with a Gocco printer, and other types of transfer techniques. While often quite successful (one of those pieces was in Quilt National ’95), the limitations of the materials and size of the images often resulted in smaller quilts than I desired.

Silkscreen prints on hand-dyed fabric

Silkscreen prints on hand-dyed fabric

Then, in 2011, I began experimenting with dye processes and techniques  to create the right background for my images.  My desire to make larger pieces led me to a silkscreen tutorial at Artists Image Resource in Pittsburgh. When I pulled that first print onto my hand-dyed fabric I knew I had found my niche. The skills I learned dramatically altered the concepts of my quilts.  That excitement I feel every time I screen images onto fabric has not diminished.  Now my images can truly be life size, or in some cases, larger than life.

Photographic images inspire

Although most of my earlier quilts used personal imagery, now I am working with historical photographs, including those of Lewis W. Hine, taken during the early 1900s as an investigative photographer for the National Child Labor Committee.  Descent Into Darkness: The Boys of the Mines, is one in a series of pieces based on Hine’s imagery.  I have also done pieces using the images of Edward S. Curtis, images from vintage post cards, and images by other photographers, with consent.

Once images are chosen, I dye the fabrics, hoping to further express the story and set the mood I am trying to tell.  In Descent, I dyed yards and yards of smokey, bluish fabrics, hoping to capture the sort of coloration I envisioned in the coal mine shafts.  The fabric was then cut to size based on the final image size.  I silkscreen a multitude of prints in varying hues and gradations.  Accents are added, and in the case of the Hine’s pieces, words are added. These little statements were the small hand typed notations that Hine would make and attach to his photographs on index cards or paper.  The simplicity of his notations, I believe, is a compelling addition to the quilt.

Descent Into Darkness. The Boys of the Mines by Patty Kennedy-Zafred

Being accepted in Quilt National ’13 was like lightning striking twice. Winning The Heartland Award, in addition, was a remarkable surprise.  The experience has encouraged me to follow this artistic path with my quilts, and given me support during the often isolating and lonely process of making art.

There are still a lot of stories I wish to tell with my quilts.  Sometimes the story finds me, at other times, I have the images, and my own story to tell.  In either case, the viewer draws their own conclusions, creates their own story, and a memory is made.  For me, that is success.

Patty Kennedy-Zafred

Patty Kennedy-Zafred

Patty Kennedy-Zafred has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism with a Minor in Photography.  Her love for the photographic image has been life long, which is clearly reflected in her work.  She is a member of the Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh, Studio Art Quilt Associates and Surface Design Association.  Her work has been included in numerous national and international exhibitions and widely published. She lives in Pittsburgh with her always supportive husband, Paolo. You can learn more about her work on her website at www.pattykz.com.

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