Friday, April 23, 2010

From Hand to Cloth

I feel I have been in a surface design rut the past few years. I have a lot of surface design techniques in my repertoire, but I tend to rely heavily on just a few. I have focused a lot on screenprinting and I really enjoy it, but this year I have felt drawn to applying dyes and paints directly to the cloth.

Reading about the artist, Helen Frankenthaler, started this shift in thinking. She uses thinned paints and applies them to canvas using a variety of non-traditional tools. The idea of creating directly on cloth appeals to me now. I haven't done much of it, mostly because of that nasty perfectionism thing. A hand painted mark has a lot of variation. One time it might look great, another it might not. In the past, I have mostly chosen to take a more controlled approach by creating thermofaxes and silkscreens.

I started playing with this a bit in the ArtCloth Mastery class last week. The above photo is one of the small pieces I created in class. I really enjoyed the process and I'm pretty pleased with the result. Over the next six months, I am allowing myself to experiment with applying paints and dyes directly to the cloth. It's a little scary - having to rely on the inherent imperfection of the human hand. But I'm looking forward to working in a freer, more spontaneous way.

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