Tuesday, November 22

Stitch and Surface Fall 2011 wrap-up

Another semester has come and gone over at Fleisher. I really enjoyed working with my Stitch and Surface students, who were quite a creative group. They included 2 of my former students and a member of the Fleisher staff, as well as several women with a more formal artistic/design background. Here's a glimpse at our final night crit wall:
 The dress piece in the center by Glynnis may be the most ambitious (scale-wise) piece any of my students have ever attempted. She began with some thrift-store remnants including a rather interesting patchwork dress of various tribal prints. I helped her baste it onto a backing cloth, and she's been steadily stitching away for several weeks.
 I wasn't sure where Lisa's piece was going for a while as at first it just seemed a random collection of motifs on the rust-printed fabric. However it suddenly made sense as she added in the vignettes containing laser-cut rubber motifs of the plane, scooter, and dog and began the meandering path at left that started connecting all the elements. It became a narrative of travel, love,  and life with the base fabric's rust adding a sense of age and nostalgia.
 Sandee played around with found textiles to create this peacock fiber collage. She built off of the bleach-drawing fabric we made in class and combined it with a bird print and a piece of commercially chain-stitched and sequined floral applique. The best part is the variety of stitches she used to embellish the bird and the real feather that tops it off.
 Shelby has a small art quilt ready for binding (at right). She combined a rust dyed cotton print background with rusted canvas, lace, embroidery, and found objects (the iron that started the rusting!). It's subtle in color but rich in textures, and again has a an aged, nostalgic look. Her piece on the left is the foundation for a beaded piece. I love the rich complementary contrast of the orange wool and blue cotton. She began experimenting with surface by slicing the wool and weaving strips over into the blue. I like how it breaks the diptych-like boundary.
 Kara loved the circular hoop format! Her compositions grew organically and intuitively, combining found textiles and tons of beading. She has a playful style, and exclaimed during our crit how stitching has been such a stress reliever! We could all use a hoop of fabric as a playground for imagination.
 Brenda wowed me on the last night by bringing in a piece she'd been working on at home that used all the stitches she had learned all semester. It's a sampler piece entitled "creative embellishment" at the top. This central fabric is a piece of batik she created with my Fleisher colleague Nikki Virbitsky. She attached it to a foundation/border of Kente cloth inspired-print, and even used some reverse applique technique, cutting away the interior negative space of some of her batik motifs. I love how this piece combines work from 2 of our fiber courses and shows a lot of stitch exploration.
 I was so excited watching Sarina'a button mosaic grow. I like the slow shift of value and hint of color that flows over the buttons, especially how they pick up some of the teal of her background cloth. This was a great example of how shifting the scale of a thread or bead can have a dramatic impact (and make a piece go faster!).
I leave you with Leah's delicate rusted gauze piece. It has an unusual format- long and thin. The gauze has a subtle feather pattern through it, which she very slightly "emphasized" with some tracery in a neutral thread. Select areas were cut and reverse appliqued with lace. Some satin stitch organic shapes are scattered from the top left- they look a lot like the pebbles I've been making on my own long cloth. his piece sort of escapes description. It feels ephemeral and ghost-like because of her fabric choice.

It's been a very productive season, full of collaboration experimentation, and camaraderie in the studio. I truly enjoy helping my students discover their creative voice in stitch!
 I have about a month off before classes begin again. More on that another day.