Saturday, July 18, 2009

10,000 Flowers - The Series

As part of the ArtCloth Mastery program, I am creating a series of four works, based on one of my favorite poems. The poem was written by a Zen monk, Wu-Men Hui-K'ai, who lived in the thirteenth century. The poem is very short - only 7 lines.

Ten thousand flowers in spring,
the moon in autumn,
a cool breeze in summer,
snow in winter.

If your mind isn't clouded
by unnecessary things,
this is the best season of your life.

I spoke about the poem and what it means to me in an earlier blog post. I am creating four pieces, one for each of the first four lines of the poem. My intent is to incorporate the theme of presence from the last three lines into each of the four pieces. The idea of being present in the moment is a pretty abstract concept to try to depict visually. But, I have been moving toward the abstract lately, so I guess this is the challenge I've been waiting for.

I have already dyed the fabrics. I purposely did not choose typical colors for the seasons. Rather, I focused on the line from the poem and chose a color that fit. For spring, I chose a pinkish red, to pick up the color in my wildflower garden.

For summer, I chose a blue violet, to represent a cool breeze.

For autumn, I chose a yellow orange, similar to the harvest moon.

For winter I chose a cool blue. (Okay, that is a bit traditional, but I didn't want to have a white cloth, and the blue works well with the other colors.)

When I dyed the cloth, I used a technique that creates a sunburst-like pattern. My intent is to represent the position of the sun for each season. So, the central point for the pattern is highest on the summer cloth and lowest on the winter cloth. You can see it best when looking at the four pieces side by side.

My next step was to begin to identify imagery to place on the cloth. I'll talk about that and show photos of the images I created in another blog post.

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