There's nothing like a stack of luscious silks to propel the right side of the brain into gear. As I prep logistically and philosophically for my upcoming trip to India, I was searching for artistic expression but feeling a bit blocked, and frustrated by several false starts. I don't usually dither, but was falling victim to overthinking and undue pressure to perform. I do my best work when I am having fun and letting things flow, so I turned to my old standby, simply sewing things together and seeing what happens.
I brought out my cherished stash of silks from Mysore, India, including a few lengths from my student days and an assortment my husband brought back from a business trip years ago. These are old friends, used in many pieces and now down to their last cherished bits, but since they have been supplemented by a new batch, and especially since I am travelling to do my own replenishing, I cut and sewed fearlessly. As an exercise in abstract optics it was getting interesting, but I like imagery in my work.
Six years ago I participated in a textile art book round robin. Part of the great pleasure of a collaborative project, aside from the artwork, is the people you get to know. One of the book artists, Sandra B., expressed an interest in my cyanotype process, and out of the goodness of her heart sent me a box full of foliage from her Florida garden. I was able to make prints (in late November--don't try this as home, kids!) from some of the delights she sent me, including this ginger leaf, above. I was immersed in other projects at the time, and the tropical foliage prints got set aside until just the right moment, which was now.
A perfect pairing for the silk blocks, and just like that I have an exciting new project underway. Further sewing of blocks led to this placement audition, emphasizing value:
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