Wednesday, April 13, 2011
What Do We Touch?
The Samdokai (The Harmony of Difference and Equality), a poem by the eighth-century Zen master Sekito Kisen, explores the concept of “branching streams that flow in the darkness” and an urging for those who study the mystery to not waste time.
Through direct experience, questions arise such as “what do we touch and what touches us?” When inquiry and response arise together, what do we open to and what opens us? Somewhere, beneath the surface, an intermingling of experiences occurs; causes and conditions lead up to this moment in time and space. Past, present and future are not separate, nor is the process linear.
Mining the unconscious involves identifying patterns and habits, searching for something that cannot be named, and finding along the way timelessness, transparency and impermanence. The process of making becomes an archeological dig; the exploration of entangled and transparent layers. We have an opportunity to gain an intimate understanding of what is most important. Don’t waste time.
Edie Brown has worked with dyeing and surface design since 1996. She first exhibited her work in 2003 and was included in the Surface Design Association Review 2007. Brown is also a registered nurse with a Master’s Degree in Public Health. As “branching streams flow in the darkness”, she continues to explore the intersections of working in healthcare systems, practicing Zen, and speaking in cloth. Compelled to go deeper and be challenged further, her journey continues in the effort to discover visual language for invisible concepts and to think spatially as well as spaciously about fiber.
A line intersects with another, forming a shape that didn’t exist before. A smooth surface is damaged, revealing a new texture. These encounters, whether random or deliberate, are profoundly transformative. That point of intersection, the place where new complexity is created when objects, forces, and ideas collide, continually fascinates me and is the dominant theme in my work.
The foundation of all my pieces is rayon cloth dyed with fiber-reactive dye. This choice creates the first transformative intersection as dye molecules bond directly to the fibers, permanently altering the cloth. I like the dual nature of rayon, durable enough to withstand multiple punishing surface design processes, yet supple enough to capture and reflect back luminous gradations of color. Removing rayon’s inherent fluid state by mounting it to a rigid backing and cutting into the surface allows me to explore, and perhaps expand, the perceived limitations of a two-dimensional picture plane.
I see shadows of empty-leafed branches against the snow and come to understand an ephemeral third dimension can be implied. I notice a hole in the pavement filled with pebbles and leaves and imagine the natural tendency to fill a void is probably instinctual. I see the chaotic order of an abandoned bird nest and wonder if the simple intersection of one line with another can ever convey the complex reality that the original lines are no more. These are the daily observations that I expect will inspire a lifetime of work.
Gay Kemmis was first exposed to surface design during an introductory fabric-dyeing course, after which she went on to complete Jane Dunnewold’s intensive Complex Cloth workshop as part of the University of Minnesota’s Split Rock Summer Arts Program. Furthering her studies in surface design, she recently completed a two year Art Cloth Mastery Program in San Antonio, Texas. Her work can currently be seen in the Twelve Voices from One Exhibition in San Antonio, Texas.
The Best Season
This series is inspired by a poem by Wu-Men, a Zen master.
Ten thousand flowers in spring,
The moon in autumn,
A cool breeze in summer,
Snow in winter.
When your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things,
This is the best season of your life.
My intention is not only to represent the literal meaning of the words, but also the feelings of peace and contentment that result from living in the present moment. This series is also informed by the importance of meditation and reflection in my life. The process by which I create also emphasizes quiet reflection and connection to the wisdom within. Prior to creating a piece, I meditate on what I am trying to achieve. At the beginning of each work session, I focus on my intention. Then as I work, I remain open to intuition and the flow of creativity during the process. Working in this manner gives me a strong sense of joy and inner peace. It is my intent to inspire that feeling in those who view my work.
Lisa Kerpoe is an award-winning artist and facilitator. Her work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally. Her latest series focuses on the feelings of peace and contentment that result from living in the present moment and the importance of meditation and reflection in her life. Her intention is to inspire those feelings in those who view her work. Kerpoe produced two instructional DVDs in 2010 - Vibrant Color (with Jane Dunnewold) and Irresistible Texture. She has also written a book on water-based resists to be released by C&T Publishing. (Spring 2012). Kerpoe is an adjunct faculty member at the Southwest School of Art in San Antonio, Texas, and teaches textile and surface design workshops across the United States. Kerpoe was juried into the ArtCloth Network in 2008 and is a member of the Fiber Artists of San Antonio.
I am fascinated by the endless opportunities to explore the convergence of color on the grid of cloth.
I love working with linen as the weave is very reminiscent of the grid and offers a satisfying visual and actual texture.
I begin each piece with a single layer of color applied with fabric dye to manipulated linen. Then the cloth tells me what happens next. What color works? Is there to be another grid? What kind of grid? A folded one, created with discharged lines, or one that is painted.
Then the painted color is added. And again the cloth directs the process. I spend many hours deciding what color choice is best for the cloth. I use color wheels that I have carefully painted in various color combinations based on color theory to reach a final decision.
My images are elements I have designed related to the grid, and then generated as silk screens, thermofax screens or temporary stencils. I use these tools to print the paint, transferring my imagery onto the cloth.
Textiles have played a prominent role in Catherine Kirsch’s sense of identity from childhood into adolescence and young adulthood. Sewing, weaving and quilting are doorways into relationships and work. In 2001, this culminated in a solo art quilt exhibit in Worcester, Massachusetts. In February 2011, Kirsch exhibited recent art cloth pieces in the Surface Design Association show opening in New Bedford, Massachusetts. When she is not in her studio, Kirsch is a clinical social worker in private practice in Worcester, Massachusetts specializing in marriage therapy.
I have been fascinated by movement since I started dancing as a child. The body is a continuum of movement and music my inspiration. It is my passion to bring this same sense of rhythm and movement to my mixed media art.
I discovered that large gestural patterning, applied with commercial and handcrafted brooms, is the instrument that brings this to life in my work. I am transferring the elements of dance, the flow of the body, and a stream of music into the layers on the cloth.
I delight in co-mingling gestures of the human body and strong visual imagery with soft sensual cloth. Whether it is the music I am listening to or the sweep of a dancers arm, the layers on the cloth are the record of that moment in time.
Joy Lavrencik has always had a strong connection to music and movement. Her years of dance and music lessons solidified this passion. Since discovering fiber in the late 1990’s, Lavrencik’s goal has been to bring this sense of rhythm and movement to her mixed media artwork, employing surface design techniques and collage. She currently works in her home studio in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. Lavrencik’s art work is available through the TLD Design Center and Gallery in Westmont, Illinois, and is exhibited in juried shows across the United State.
In this moment, I create art cloth to explore, experiment and problem-solve in order to produce a result. It energizes me, provides me with a sense of pride and brings fresh delight into my life--and yes, frustration as well -- as I study, learn, struggle, and eventually feel a hint of success. I hope to use the acquired techniques and eventual competency of the tools to connect with other people on an individual as well as a community basis as the mysteries of my creative inner world surface and transform.
I began working with silk because I love the feel of the cloth, the strength found within the apparent fragility of the fiber and the way it thirsts for and absorbs color. At this point in my development as a fiber artist, there is not one technique or process that I would call ‘mine’. I have not found my voice. However, I have found a word that inspires and guides me. The word is ‘path’.
The word ‘path’ can evoke images that are literal (as in stepping stones), directional (path of a hurricane) or course of action (path to higher education). Currently, I am drawing upon my experiences from a trip to Kyoto, Japan and the visual and emotional connection I had to the gardens, bamboo forests and the Japanese sense of balance between ease and tension with a sprinkle of the unexpected. I am inspired to create art cloth that has the characteristics of a literal path through a Japanese garden....light that reverberates, layers of color and texture and different visual experiences dependent upon whether viewed coming or going.
As I moved forward I hope to hold onto the “beginners mind” as I add richness (authenticity) and depth (truth) to my art both as a visual and emotional expression. “The journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” This is my path and this is my first step.
Lynn Luukinen began her fiber art studies in 2005. Since then, she has enrolled in a variety of fiber classes/workshops/textile tours in a myriad of disciplines to broaden her skills and appreciation for surface design. She is primarily interested in fiber art techniques that incorporate silk, wool and wood fiber with wax, dye, and discharge agents. Lynn is the Secretary of the Surface Design Association Board of Directors and is also a member of several professional affiliations. During the spring of 2010, Luukinen left her long-time residence in the Seattle area for Kerrville, Texas where she now resides.
My pilgrimage in the art world centers on the spiritual and physical dualities of nature, growth, connections, and journeys. Parallels in my personal life have transformed this destiny. Every twist and turn of the path creates a new avenue of discovery and artistic vision with commitment and mindfulness to art. This quest and curiosity to delve deeper has informed my identity.
As a tonal colorist I explore the layered richness of dyes, the multi-textural aspects of papers and fabrics, the wide ranging dimensions of printmaking and my emotional response when creating. Various fabrics and papers transition through multiples processes with dyes, over-dyes, print techniques and the introduction of photography and digital elements. Each step proceeds from an intuitive emotional approach based on years of self-directed study whereby colors became the catalyst. Hard, soft, and blurred edges combine to form layers of color using dyes, paints and inks. The response to color creates the freedom for tones, shades, values and hues to develop. Surfaces are completed with hand and/or machine stitching. Every process builds on the previous process and manifests a new creative vision.
In traveling the full circle from beginning sketches and ideas to completed art there is a deepened connection with new spirituality and consciousness.
Liz Napier’s art journey initiated when she undertook postgraduate art classes at the University of Houston, Houston, Texas in the 1980’s. She shaped this foundation with study from masters in the areas of color, design, fiber, and through printmaking classes and workshops. Areas of intense study for the last 30 years include color, design, surface embroidery, fiber dyes, numerous print techniques and, recently, the use of photography and digital elements. Napier’s work is included in private collections and public commissions in both Texas and New Mexico. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Gregg Museum of Art and Design, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina. Napier’s art is available at the Dragonfly Gallery at Rosedale, Austin, TX and the Fredericksburg Art Guild, Fredericksburg, Texas.