Piercing the Vessel Walls

February 9, 2011


I have packed one of my studio walls bookcases with last years felting projects including many vessels.  Naturally, to me they are not just empty containers but marks of time and last winter experiments.   Yesterday I began a timid deconstruction of one such Vessel that I called “Five A”.  If my recall is correct, I had just acquired some luscious white mohair,(from the local Yarn Barn) which reminded me of a fine Pink Mohair sweater I owned as a child. I loved the texture of that sweater and the slight sheen it reflected in the bright school florescent lights. Instead of listening to the teacher’s explanation of algebra or the revolutionary war, I would gaze into the curly swirling mohair fibers, which were much more interesting than what the teacher had to say. Anyway I digress, and if one looks carefully the wisps of mohair is easily seen on the surface of Five A” much like it did in the pink sweater.

Continuing my experiments with direct application dyeing, I thickened the Pro Chemical Acid dye with sodium alginate thickener so I could stamp dye on to “Vessel Five A”. I soaked the vessel in solutions of warm water and white distilled vinegar.  A couple of decades ago I was mesmerized by found and scrap objects.  My studio used to be located close to a wood shop and I was intrigued by the various discarded cutouts left at the feet of a ban saw covered with sawdust.  Many of the interesting shapes found a home after I first covered a side with a glue adhesive and a commercial wool felt, these made handsome, durable stamps.  If one were to survey my work over the past 30 years, one could easily see the evidence of these stamps that I dipped into paint, dye, and textile Createx, which were foundational visual textures in much of my work. Anyway,  the teal dye was added to the thickener and stamped on using the stamp in the photo.  The eggplant dye was stamped on using the bottom of a wooden spoon and the dye was thinner thus one can see how it bleed into surrounding areas and did not hold its shape. The Vessel was wrapped into cellophane and nuked in microwave for 3 minutes on high, allowed to cool then nuked  and additional two minutes. I proceeded to full the shape tighter and tighter.  I reshaped it so it no longer resembles the original “Five A” vessel.  Oh this is a moot point but I attempted discharge dying that failed miserably.  I could not get the thiox thick enough and even strong enough to maintain a shape this I scraped the idea for now.

Today I pierced the walls of “FiveA” with my new dressmaking Gingher shears slicing bits and pieces from the vessel that created a repetitive design in the teal colored wool.  I found this snipping away most satisfying in a peek a boo fashion. In the past, I used slashing and cutting the surface of items in a metaphoric approach to communicate or provoke thoughts of universal emotions. We, as humans, have all experienced betrayals, rejections, or humiliations from those we trusted and that slash in out heart rarely heals without a scar.  It seems there is much room to push this envelop further and see how far one can distress the vessel and maintain the  integrity of the wool  So on to more cuttings.

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