Someone found this post and contacted me about purchasing the vessel for his wife. Even though the pics have been published previously here is a narrative about the creation of the vessel.
This piece was originally inspired and constructed for an invitational show in Paris, France called “Stations”. The show was held in a gallery made of ancient stone and it was on exhibition during the Passover Easter Season. Fourteen USA artists from a wide array of disciplines each were given a station to create a work of art. The show was fascinating and vivacious in its interpretative views and reading between the lines of the titles.
I was invited to do an interpretation of Station #10 called: Stripped, where Jesus was beaten, thronged and stripped of His garments. I had plans for the piece to be more graphic with the skin torn and ripped to bits for our wrong choices, misdoings and our wicked ways. But once the vessel dried I heard a calling of the maroon ( dried blood) dribbling down the vessel as it made an interesting contrast against the butter cream innocent skin made of Icelandic lambs wool. Though, I usually have no issue with destroying a piece to express my messages, this one beckoned me to leave it alone, a task that has taken me 30 years to learn. As artist, it is a fine line between pushing one’s idea and allowing it to stand.
I like to paint a composition then cut it up and weave it back together or dribble other paint over the composition. In the 1990’s I designed wall blankets, I would create a composition on fabric, the size of a quilt then sew several together, using a machine free form design. Slash the top layers to reveal the composition underneath, representing people and how we expose parts of our personality and sometimes different from public persona. There is a well known textile artist named, Tim Harding, who inspired me in the late 1980’s with the unraveling of cloth, which gave the cloth a soft pliable function and I employed this technique vivaciously in the late 80’s early 90’s.
In 2007, I answered an ad on Craig’s list to swap artist materials. I forget what I offered but I inherited a large array of wool roving. I made felt in college using raw wool, learning to clean, card, spin and dyeing it but I was not terribly drawn or inspired by this scientific approach to self expression. Creating the “canvas” so to speak was highly unappealing to me weather it was fabric, paper, reeds metal or wood until I grew increasing bored in winter of 2007 and wanted a new avenue.
I like unusual things and to me vessels made of lambs hair or wool is a lovely revelation because we normally use wool to clothe or keep us warm hence the astonishment of making a work of art with no intended function seems like a surprise.
http://seegart.wordpress.com/2010/02/27/stripped/stripped3w/ Previously posted pics
December 5, 2012
I thought I posted this; it looks as though I do not understand my tablet as well as I hoped. I can successfully do a few things but posting to my bog is not one of them. Although to my credit I was able to upload this pic on Wednesday but then it has been sitting in the draft section of several days. Let’s be fair and say I was working on the tablet in my car not while driving mind you but sitting in a parking lot using an establishment’s WIFI. Distractions still keep me from felting however I did clean off the table and get the studio ready to felt by spreading plastic across the print table and sorting through items which I have collected–you know for a future project. YAY. Perhaps today after work and a shopping trip to Trader Joes, I will get at least a test felt completed. The daunting idea of cleaning all that wool is the main deterrent.
November 10, 2012
Now, that I have semi conquered my smart phone/android, the past 3 months have been spent not in felting but going with the new technology of tablets. The android platform is similar on phones and tablets but just different enough to add frustrations as the directory structure is vastly different from that of a pc. On the very bright side I have learned to transfer my digital library to my tablet and quickly realized the portability as i can take the tablet to bed and have to my delight , read multiple novels, it is so easy to take to night shift work, waiting for others in the car and answering emails however creating on the tablet other than emails, Facebook postings is a new horizon. I have made several promises to resurrect postings on WordPress that have quickly ended to a null point. Nonetheless looking at my blog does stir my creative juices to become a producer once more. I have several lattice vessels that are screaming to be photographed and posted but I have deaf ear and am pressing on and refusing to get distracted in the details.
It is rumored that Winston Churchill said, “if you are going through hell just keep walking”, so I have my jogging shoes on and warming up my muscles. The studio has massively been disturbed by a new resident plus I have given a few painting lessons. Mt eight yr old neice has shown tremendous interest in felting……so may put a kit together dfor her like Nicola does, or just have her into the stidio for a day of fun.In
seven or 8 hours will tell if I can keep the momentum to felt tomorrow. Good night for now.
August 12, 2012
Once again, I am lagging in the studio. Now, that my son has installed new shelves in the studio, the counters are free and available to be filled with felting and art related items. Last week I did some portraits of turnips yes the vegetable. Some would more accurately call it a still life but I like vegetable portraits. I was ramped up to paint all week, as visions of peppers, celery, radishes and others danced in my head but an accident occurred. A door broke to the studio so I am distracted once again. Ack!!!! I came across a pad of watercolor paper and was emotionally charged to paint. I was hoping to capture some images while waiting for the outside temperatures break from triple digits down to a more humanly tolerable temperature. My lawn has turned entirely to a dormant straw brown, while my neighbors maintain theirs bright vivacious green with frequent watering. Apparently, this summer’s drought withstood heat temperature not even seen in the historic dust bowl of the 1930’s.
I am looking forward to organizing my CV (curriculum vitae) and images of my work for an upcoming competition.
July 14, 2012
Alright You Guys, no foolin’, this heat is CRAZY!!!. Yes, we are back into triple digits and it is much too miserable to felt even in air conditioning. I can’t even think clearly to do anything in the studio but drink about 64 ounces of water per day and I feel the days are spent doing nothing but intaking and eliminating. I am exhausted. Tonight I went to a concert and was inspired. The singers were all graduates from my art classes (from years ago) and I was ever so pleased to see how they have developed their talents and skills as singers. This week they leave for London to perform at the Olympics, which has absolutely nothing to do with visual arts. The reason I am inspired is to see mere children develop their respective talents into well refined skills and sharing with the world unlike their art teacher.
July 5, 2012
This piece sold at the Women Made Gallery, Chicago, Illnois USA It is made of Mohair, Alpaca and Icelandic Lamb Fleece approximately 33 inches in circumference. The abstract aubergine flying geese has been stamped using a thickened dye made of seaweed- alginate and Urea. Once it was dry I realized I forgot to add the vinegar to set the dye. I experimented with a process I had never tried before and IT WORKED. . I placed the vessel into a commercial Chinese Steamer (similar to home bamboo stovetop steamers). I used about three inches of white distilled vinegar- instead of the typical H2 O -in the bottom portion and covered with a lid however to keep the condensation from dripping back onto the vessel, I placed clean unprinted newsprint paper under the lid to catch droplets while it steaming. O placed the steamer onto a hot plate, brought the vinegar to a roaring boil, and kept it boiling for twenty minutes. I let it cool completely and I recall, over night cooling. I let it cool completely – over night. The next morning I rinsed the vessel with little loss and was ecstatic that my experiment was successful.
It should be noted that the mohair works its way to the surface and blurs the otherwise crisp edges of the stamped dye.
June 25, 2012
Oh, the struggle to get back into the groove of creating is wrenching with each non-successful day. The days seem time foolish with nonsense but the necessary domestic tasks of the day: watering flowers, paying bills, errands, ordering bank checks, phone calls, a new military grade screen protector for my smart phone and the mundane paperwork constantly screaming for my attention. I did get some UNIX commands printed and soon to be laminated in preparation for a new contract I have secured for my day job. The unyielding heat(102F) seems to twist and contort my willingness to execute and complete my to do list. All I managed to that is remotely related to creativity is organize my collection of sketchbooks and toy with the idea of pitching them. The rest of my day was spent cooking stir fried chicken, veggies and lo mien noodles with black bean garlic paste and a nice dessert made of Georgia peaches, black berries and pound cake and la-t dolled it with whipped cream. Here is what is left.
There is always hope that tomorrow I will succeed with productive studio time.
June 23, 2012
“…..We serve a Creator God, and this Creator created us to also be creative. In the same way that God gave Adam the authority to name the animals in Genesis 2, God invites his children to co-create within God’s parameters. We cannot create ex nihilo, but we are all artists with a small “a,” and we are asked to work through our brokenness and fears. We are created for love; and love is creative. So what would happen if every single person who follows this Creator asked the same question “What do I want to create?” And further, if we became an ambassador to the world to help ask, “What do you want to create, and how can I help you?” What if we answered this question filled with the Creative, Holy Spirit of God every moment that we are awake, and helped others to do the same? Would we have a world more beautiful, compassionate, caring and daring? Would we see our occupations differently? Would we see our universities differently? Would we see our motherhood, our fatherhood, our brotherhood and sisterhood differently?……”
Makoto Fujimura Studio | 38 West 39th St. | New York | NY | 10022
Ummmm so what am I going to create today? How can I make it a more beautiful blue globe by my little creations? After my last posting, I feel I want to get into my car and run over my smart phone so that it will stop dictating my life. Can I do it? Yes, if I want to rapidly become homeless. For a less violent alternative, turning it off I head to the studio.
June 21, 2012
hello all, today’s post March 27th is not about felting but a good friend in his endeavor as a fine artist. It is best to just post a link instead of me translating his vision and work.
Sorry, Darin, for the delay nonetheless I was excited to see the Brooklyn show was a great success, thus congrats are in order. What is next?
I found this posting in my draft basket. My blogging hit an all time low in the late winter and I am dragging to regain the momentum I once had. I have been having fun with my adult son and ignoring any ideas and aspirations to create. I cannot begin to explain how difficult it is to switch between the left hand brain activity of my day job, and the vibrant, creative right brain activity and energy in my studio. Excuses aside I stand empty handed, projects unfinished and allowing the technology of my smart phone to suck the life out of me. I have shamelessly admitted the admiration of the smart phone developers is high. I can now draw on my phone, in color and digitally record it. It takes me back to 1994 when I discovered the personal computers and the internet. When I attended university in Durham, England, I met a nice chap, with whom I interacted for a few years even after my return to the USA. Years, decades flew past me. I decided to put this Internet thing to the test. I set out on a quest to find this chap. The internet was not THAT refined, cataloged or databases had crude inter-connectivity in 1995, even though it only took four seconds to send an email to Australia; my search took four months and resulted in a phone call in Tasmania. Shocked to hear each others voice, it was not brain surgery to conclude that this internet thing was not only useful but here to stay.
I was not terribly successful convincing other artists that putting their artwork on the Net, would give world wide expose, of course all those artist, now, have fancy websites and I do not. When the US Science Foundation was the sole distributor of domain names, I had registered several in 1994 before there was a cost and my foresight provided a nice profit when I sold them to various firms. Anyway, I tried to integrate the digital world and my creativity, which never clicked for me; I am not a graphic artist and was not terribly interested becoming one. I missed the other input of my senses, the smell of the paint, and the feel of a lovely brush in dipping into paint and applying to a surface. There is an inner pleasure when paint is applied to various surfaces whether it is smooth and slick like a Bristol paper or rough watercolor paper. The fragrance of indigo oxygenation when fabric is pulled from a vat or mono gum when applied to fabric for a dyeing resists. Now, the smell of wet wool is unmatched.
June 18, 2012
I have collected hand blown glass balls for 20 years. I received many as gifts and some I collected as souvenirs of the places I have visited. I found these swirls of light simply lovely creations and displayed them in a window as seen in photo. One day about a decade ago, I heard a loud crashing noise in my bathtub and my cat was so intimidated by the noise she darted to the basement. She must have been enticed to play with these items of eye candy. I am grateful that my cat was not injured, as she had to be in the bathtub and in the windowsill. Nostalgia kept me from throwing the broken glass away. The shards have been stored in this vase since with the hope of finding a creative way to use the glass I still have not uncovered a solution but thought of photographing the remains.
June 18, 2012
For those longing for the old scratched photos of yesteryear. Tired of all the crisp digital photos that every Tom Dick and Harry are taking with their Iphones? I found an app on Google Play that converts my 10 Mega pixel camera phone into one inspired by The Bärbl – An East German classic, naturally faded with a scratched film and medium vignetting, the perfect all-round choice. This might be the kicker that gets my mojo back. I have been rambling around in nowhere creative land for about seven months. I just have had no inspiration to create anything interesting. I am using a 4 G phone, by HTC called Amaze. It has been a delightful tool for my day job, perfecting documenting barcodes, or captures the wiring on a 66 block. I have used it as a bubble level, a cam scanner, where I can scan documents on the spot and even get the degrees within a given angle, not to mention documenting the scheme in data centers. Thus, I am charged to use this phone/camera thing for some creative.
May 31, 2012
I cleaned my studio spotlessly and meticulously, making it a usable food consumption kitchen once again. My new tenant, AKA boomerang son, has taken up residency in the apartment on the lower level of my home where partially my studio resides; it is split into rooms, with doors and a dedicated lavatory but a large section serves as my studio because it has a functioning kitchen and refrigerator, used for felting and dying. The son and I are in process of arrangements so I can have access to my print table. What is a print table you ask? Just as the name suggest but homemade: I used a four feet by eight feet sheet of wood, covered with ½ inch of carpet wool padding (no longer manufactured) which is tightly snuggled into place with a unbleached canvas secured underneath with a gazillion stables and it rest on portable legs. I constructed this table when I was in school, so I could work on screening/printing wall blankets at home without taking my son from precious sleep. He had a locker at the school studio crowded with roller skates, various toys, sleeping bags, pillows stuffed animals and his favorite yummy snacks however did not have a quite space to sleep during my late night creative hours. I constructed a section where I could stretch fabric and anchor it to a taunt surface. It is similar to stretching a canvas onto a stretcher frame except instead staples I used stainless steel t-pins so the applied wet paint or dye would not shrink the canvas when air dried. The table has been the single most useful tool I have ever created, seen the most work activity and it has served me well, since I religiously covered the base with a tightly woven canvas drop cloth. The table is virtually pristine with exception to a few dyeing jobs that meandered or bled though to the base layer. Yes, 24 years of various art projects interlaced with tutoring sessions and a sprinkling art instruction classes have all used this print table in diverse avenues. I covered this cloth table with plastic when I make felt projects. Though I would love to have stainless steel, I use the print table for dyeing and sewing projects. Therefore, to loose access is creatively crippling and I have yet to resolve it.
May 30, 2012
Oh, Nicola is now, speaking my language: second hand stores. I openly admit as a true artist that I have rescued items with a bit of dumpster diving, which ended up being excessively valuable. When I first time visit a town I do not head for the tourist attractions but I scan the environment for junk stores. I found a little fabric store many years ago, along the side of the road not unlike a fruit stand. It was near a quaint town population just under 200. The store was crammed pack with 100% natural fabrics that were end roll or bolt ends. I found delicate cottons, silks alongside heavy-duty sailcloth. Oh, I had so much fun dying those fabrics and I still have a few left in my stash. Sadly, the store was torn down in lieu for a convenience store.
I read an article in the NY Times that the cotton industry has discovered a way to intermingled nano Millimeter ( I forget the actual weight but it was microscopic) of synthetic to reduce shrinkage, yet the amount is so small it is still legally label it 100% cotton. This explains why newer items such as tee shirts and linens will not dye properly with procion dyes. Yes, I have taught classes on beach towel dyeing using a kiddie swimming pool. Have you ever wondered by some 100% cotton tee-shirt seems to be hot or slightly itchy? This small percentage of non-natural fiber keeps the fiber from “breathing”, or allowing the air to freely flow through the garment.
The only true test is doing a burn test, which I found this one of the most useful tools I learned at art school. For a final test in this class, I was presented a pile of samples and required to identify the contents by burning them. A small sliver is fibers, held of course with tweezers or tongs, set a flame with a match, various fibers will have a different burn rate, odor, and a distinctive ash or rubbish result. I have worked with textiles for over forty years and yet garments or unmarked fabrics have deceived me especially some with the distinct feel of silk, when tested will burn into a hard uncrushable black ball and smell foreign. Silk will scent of burned hair and crush into ashes. Plant fibers have the odor of paper burning while all animal protein: wool, silk, leather have the smell of when you get too close to an open flame and your eyelashes get singed, the stench of burning hair. It is a fascinating, to me after I wrote this, I discovered there are several web sites with the various test results.
March 17, 2012
Felt is not popular where I currently live and I attribute it to the weather. We experience all four season and with tremendous gusto and today is no exception. Our little town of 100K population will celebrate St Patty’s day with a parade in a few hours, so I spent the morning perusing blogs and stumbled across many that revolved stitching, some hand and many machine, all which were inspiring. Stitching is one of my longest and most love form of creative endeavors. I have always been intrigued by hand stitched books, embroidered cloth and a friend of mine in Portland Oregon, stitches paper, Kristen Miller. Perhaps I can escape my current creativity funk by re-exploring stitching onto felt. I have nothing to share with you except the flowers from my spring garden.
March 12, 2012
I was attending a birthday celebration yesterday, and could not find my stash of greeting cards. I found a lonely one amongst my felting flat pieces and how I wished I would have documented it with a photograph. I assume my stash has dwindled or they are just hidden in a crany of my home, so time to crank into gear for a new style. I made my first professional card in 1992. I usually do a set of cards about 10-12 at a time. Each group is entirely different, some time they are assemblages, some collages, some painted, some with hand-made paper I constructed. What is most satidifying is to visit friends and family and see they have taken a greeting card that I sent, meant as moment of visual pleasure and they have framed the card and it is handing in their home.
The most unique was a stylized set of hearts painted with fingernail polish that was swirled with a metal stylus to resemble marbled papers. The nail polish was old so it was not until days later that I discovered it would not try to its hardened enamel finish but remained ever so lightly tacky.But these two dried nicely. These are 4 x 6 inches
One group I especially loved was made of torn Japanese washi paper, which I hand dyed then torn into pieces. Hand dying paper is a more gratifying experience especially if the paper is cotton on washi , which is made from mulberry root. It lends a nice soft edge when torn.
I did a series of handmade paper 20 years ago and I embedded threads and metallic snippets into the paper as I was drawing it through the water. This is an example of those papers.
Another sample of the hand dyed Washi papers. with a compositional element of metallic thread.
This morning as I was perusing WordPress I stumbled across this http://thehandmadecardblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/12/rustic-blue/ What I liked about it is the booklet format with found objects—a mini work of art.I am unsure if I will make booklets but I found these works intriguingly satisfying.
The most popular was hand painted triangles cut out then arrange into a composition onto card stock.The shape is a bit out of the ordinary as they were 5 x 11 inches.
March 12, 2012
What is more amazing is that I have not felted in weeks, minus the little gift soaps. My excuse is there are so many other things barking at my ankles for attention, like planting grass seed, or spring flowers, house cleaning, and the worst culprit of all working for moolah.
March 6, 2012
My idea for this Nuno vessel is to paint on the dye THEN finish fulling it because the vessel is very soft at this point and barely will hold its shape. The vessel is merino wool made with a resist template and the final layer of silk gauze. Once it is painted, I will complete the fulling process and draw the design in tighter since fulling shrinks the wool. I am excited to see how much control I lose over the design. Previous vessels that had white gauze applied in a nun fashion received the dye differently. The silk tended to be several shades darker than the wool even though they were painted with the same dye at the same times and process identically. I am unsure why this surprises me, because different fibers traditionally have absorbed dye in varying degrees.
March 3, 2012
My shoulder is still healing so all I can physically do is felting soaps. These are felted wool covered hand made soap. The covers are made of merino wool and is felted so it hold the handmade soap that tends to melt allover the place when moisture hits it. Some people like to just keep them as decorative items. the small are $5.oo USD large 10.00 USD plus shipping.
Customer colors available upon request. Mothers Day is not too far away and if your mom is like mine, consumable items is about all her house can accommodate.
March 2, 2012
Yay, I was able to work in studio every day this week. Yes, even when yesterday was 75F and today snowing at 30F normally the drastic change messes with my moods to be flexible. I am still intrigued with covering hand made soaps that are not THAT attractive but so yummy on one’s skin. What is there to say about such functional items when it is past my ability to stay awake.The luscious colors combined with the baby soft wool makes one want to shower with all of them at once.