From the Studio

thoughts on art and process in action from a contemporary artist

Posts Tagged ‘weaving


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silk spectrumHere’s a peek into my dyeing  in progress for the Living Guestbook installation.

When I’m dyeing for an installation I find it helpful to lay out the spectrum of color as I go.  In cases like this one where I want a fairly balanced spectrum this is especially helpful.  So far this is the spectrum the dyeing I’ve done yields.  Looking at this the holes become more obvious.  Also, different from dyeing for Identity Tapestry is that need to keep the spectrum lighter and not go too far into darks or the writing won’t show as well.

eggsThis prompted a return to the fabric store for a few lighter bases to start from. They really look easter-egg to me all together like this, but I’m using them for their potential for over-dyeing and the way they fit into the whole.

Yes, I could do everything starting at a base of white, but I find over-dyeing yields much richer colors.  Also in the case of many of these fabrics, the weave already had two different colors (the warp might be blue and the weft gold, giving it a color-change look).Tthat’s something I can’t do dyeing over plain white fabric, but if I over-dye it, changes in both colors come through.  That again adds a layer of depth to the colors I’m working with. I can also always go back and over-dye again as many times as I like, giving me even more layers of color coming through, especially when I use techniques that dye unevenly.

You can really see the depth in the colors when you look closely at a given strip of fabric.

***Update*** spectrum after today’s work:

spectrum2Still a bit to go, but loving it so far.

Written by Mary Corey March

September 25, 2014 at 11:56 pm

Living Guestbook- Materials

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MATERIALSThese are some of the materials for my next installation.  The swatches at the bottom are some dye, starch and ink tests.  Each of these base colors (including the white) will be over-dyed in small strips for the piece.  If I don’t get the color variety I want with these base colors in the first few rounds of dyeing, I’ll go  back into the process with more fabric.

The physical format will be similar to Dream Blanket and Transparency: a weaving with the empty warp, structured with a grid of weft, with the main weft made out of strips of this fabric.  Visitors to this collector’s home will be invited to respond to questions about memory, impressions and experience.  They will then get to write these on a strip of dyed dupioni silk that has been starched for structure and to better take the ink.

Visually I made the piece to fit the rustic quality of their vacation home in Vermont.  It will even include existing objects from the house and grounds.  I really love work like this.  Working to specific spaces like the theater and this home is wonderful.  I like making a piece in a way I might not have thought of without the constraints or benefits of a certain goal and space, or without the interaction of other people involved.  I enjoy collaborative work, and I consider working with a curator, institution or collector to be another form of collaboration.

I’m looking forward to this piece!

Weaving the Digital Girl

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So here I am in the lovely White Mountains of New Hampshire visiting family with my daughter and my time is wrapped up with family.  In order to get in precious work-time alone I am staying up into the night weaving (and un-weaving and re-weaving…).

Un-weaving at night always makes me think of Odysseus’s wife Penelope and her secret nighttime  un-weavings.  I imagine there is a piece in that one day.

This is the very beginning, done as much as a test as anything.  My original worries proved correct and I will need to add fishing line into the weave between the computer cable strands in order to get them tight enough to fall into a recognizable order.  The white cables are slippery and flat, wanting to slide behind one another without guidance and it obscures the pattern.

I had an internal battle over the fishing line.  I love the way it would look– mostly invisible but just visible enough to connect to the clear acrylic laser-cut frame.  What I wasn’t initially happy with was the potential meaning of the material.  Then I realized that for most of us, fishing line isn’t fishing line anymore- it’s used for a thousand things, re-purposed.  It’s like duct tape- a specific-use material that proved so useful that it is used for everything.  That association I like.

Somehow this was further proved to me when I tried to find fishing line here.  In San Francisco I would be able to find fishing line in any hardware or craft store at any time of year… because people don’t use it for fishing in the city.  Here in this isolated area in Northern New Hampshire on the other hand people actually fish and so it’s not in stock in any of the tiny grocery stores that also boast “LIVE BAIT!” and similar signs… because it’s not fishing season yet.  The hardware store is out of course out of it, worse luck.  Perhaps tomorrow I’ll be able to get to the nearest larger town that may contain a craft store and get some.  Until then I return to my art history texts and itch for materials.

*later… I did get the fishing line from someone else who “went into town” today. A moment’s reflection made it clear that I had to undo everything I’d done last night if I was to incorporate it into the warp.  So… working into the night and the warp is not yet done. With any luck tomorrow I will be weaving and not unweaving tomorrow night.

Written by Mary Corey March

April 7, 2012 at 1:48 am