Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Inspired by Lesley Riley

I recently took a fabric collage class with Lesley Riley. I've not worked much with images in my art and have had no luck with transferring inkjet images to either paper or fabric. This two day class was fun-filled with transferring images using medium (Golden Matte or Fluid Matte Medium or Soft Gel Medium) or water. Once we had a nice selection of images, we learned Lesley's method of collaging with fabrics, as shown in her book Quilted Memories. The images become a focal point of the art, which feels a little like scrapbooking to me, which perhaps is why I've not used images in the past.

Lesley is a wonderful instructor, patient and supportive with a great sense of humor. I left with two unfinished pieces as well as the start of an altered book. I've learned that I don't create well in company with others. I don't know if my critic is too present, or my admiration for what other's create is too overwhelming. Anyway, I find that I do better when I return home where I can experiment and play in the privacy of my own space.

I call this "Friends". A recent art interest is girlfriends, probably because my girlfriends are so important to me. The image was transferred using gel medium. I used colored pencil to add a spot of orange to the dress top. I was so fortunate to find the black and white fabrics from the shared fabric scrap pile -- that is truly one of the gifts of taking these classes, the sharing of goodies. The buttons create just the right base while the snippet of flower fabric (from one of my mother's hankies) provides a contrast to the stripes and checks. I added french knots (well sort of french knots) to complement the polka dot material. The button above the women, while not easily seen in the photo, also complements the polka dot theme and came from my mom's stash of old buttons. It's very fitting that I use Mom's stuff in this as girlfriends were a very important focus of her life.

Detail shows the quote "Friends are the flowers in the garden of life."

This piece is called "Take a Walk". I love the image (transferred from photo with water) of the woman, dressed in a coat and hat, walking along a path that reminds me of the woods close to my childhood home. I used to go there to wander, write (I've always kept a journal) and just "be." Today I love walking through Huntington Beach's Central Park, where I get that same sense of connection with nature and the universe. The batik fabrics seemed appropriate for this piece. I like the way the trees in the image seem to be extended with what could be trees in the next fabric layer. The pink and peach batik seemed like the perfect contrast. Again difficult to see in the photo, there is a twig found outside the classroom covered in fibers with ribbons that reminded me of leaves. It was quite "coincidental" that the fiber was green underfoot and brown covering the twig. There is also a leaf image from a piece of handmade paper I got from this fabulous store with rows and rows of yummy papers.

The word "discover" implies all the goodies one finds on a nature walk, represented by sequins and beads.

My favorite of the three is (currently) called "Transformation" -- I'm still considering the title. The images are my mom, printed onto transfer fabric and painted with colored pencil and watercolors. The top image is her confirmation photo, taken in a studio. The lower image is taken on a dock on the Indian River in Delaware. I love the contrast between the two, from very staid and proper to joyful and free. I used several of her hankies in this piece, backing them with fusible interfacing to add strength to the fabric. I also used buttons from her collection. Blue was selected because it was her favorite color. The appliqued butterfly denotes transformation.

The hankie with embroidered flowers is folded up and over to act as a frame for the top portion of the piece.

The applique stitching on the bottom image is uneven and colorful, to match the "freer" image.

These pieces were a lot of fun to do. Thank you Leslie! I look forward to more of this. I also need to figure out how to take better photographs!

1 comment:

Lesley Riley said...

Jan - Thank you for sharing your work. The pieces you made are WONDERFUL and knowing the stories behind the fabrics, photos and embellishments just makes for a more pleasurable viewing experience and enriches the art! I'm happy you enjoyed the class and I had fun spending the weekend with you!