June 20, 2009

Columbine, New Work in Progress

I'm back at work in the studio, and it's making me very happy and energized. I've got a new work-in-progress, based on some columbine cyanotypes. They came out very crisp, and the flowers are so transparent and lovely.
Above is a quick snapshot of the partial color palette. The print fabric is the last of the remnants from a dress I had, and loved, in second grade. Yes, that was some time ago, but I remember it well. The fabric is in excellent condition, as it was a very good quality cotton to begin with. Back when people bought fabric for dressmaking as a matter of course, the standards were much higher than they are now for fabrics made for the low-end craft trade. The pale fabric with the dots and splotches is a sugar dye from Deb Lacativa. I don't use a lot of hand-dyes in my work, but hers are unique and I'm finding them very useful. The pale purple and green splotchy strips are a sateen I handpainted, and the shiny purples and greens are silks brought back from India.
I am very particular about the fabric I use, I have a stash that goes back for decades, and I can remember where nearly every piece came from and why/how it was acquired and used previously. I'm mainly concerned with color, value and texture when I'm putting together a palette for a new work, but the history of each fabric also weighs into the somewhat arcane selection process. Pieces like that second-grade dress print get me all fired up.

3 comments:

Terry said...

The transparent columbines are wonderful! That print is my kind of fabric! I love those complex patterned stripes. But I can't imagine saving a dress from 2nd grade. You must have known a long time ago that it would be useful someday!

Kristin L said...

I feel similarly about fabrics and can also say from where I've acquired most of my fabrics (also going back several decades).

Sue Reno said...

Terry, the dress is long gone! I have my mother's collection of scraps and remnants from all the household sewing she did, and the fabric was part of that stash. There's lots of those complex prints in there, and I find them such a useful counterpoint to contemporary fabrics.
Kristin, I'm glad to hear you are a kindred spirit in your approach to fabric. It doesn't surprise me--your work always has such a rich complexity of textiles.