Tuesday, January 19, 2010

more about fiber mummies


...or fiber fossils as Jude called "Mayhem".  I was going to do a tutorial but there really is nothing more to it than fixing the piece to a bare canvas with white glue, allow 24 hours to dry and then brushing matte acrylic medium into the work, pressing the cloth into the canvas.  This is "Held On Tight" after the process with hard morning light revealing the texture formed by the stitching still evident. Catherine, they feel like sandpaper - the soft hand of fabric is lost but we didn't want folks feeling the art anyway, did we?


My pieces are built in layers on a base of Warm & Natural batting so when I apply the matte medium, whether thinned with water or straight from the jar, the surface become malleable almost like a layer of clay. I use a 1/2" short bristled, flat acrylic brush to work the medium into the fabric.  


The question everyone is asking themselves is "Why?" apply the medium.  I had to think about it myself.  I've decided that committing a piece to canvas brings the work officially home to the Painting ball park - I was a painter before I ever took a serious stitch -  stitches become marks, weave and hand recede and flatten, colors intensify and darken a bit. Different fabrics react in different ways to the process.
I encourage you to try it yourself and see if you like the results before committing a big fat mistake.

I wanted these pieces to be permanently considered as pieces of art as opposed to unmounted fiber pieces that sometime in the future might become potholders or place mats - believe me, I've done it. Right now there's a small hand painted quilt stapled over the outside of the cat door to cut the drafts. 

These little bits of slow cloth now mounted and mummified are another matter and will remain so.
Sweetie, studio assistant in training.

7 comments:

shiborigirl said...

interesting. i've been working with some mounting issues of a different nature myself. recently picked up a commission for some pleated silk fabric from a painter who is embedding it in her work - deep acrylic with lots of flowing colors...you just never know-
i like how your assistant is able to find one clear spot to sit!

Nellie's Needles said...

I coat my framed "crinkle quilt" art pieces with the acrylic medium. The main reason for deciding to do so was concern for the gallery and buyers to have a familiar way to keep them clean. Painted art is traditionally kept free of dust with a soft brush. Also, quilted pieces that are framed cannot be shaken in the traditional way to get rid of dust from unframed textile wall art. I see no change in the visual effect of the textile surfaces of the fabrics and threads. As you noted, the surface becomes stiff to the touch. The tactile qualities of woven fabric and stitched thread are there for the eyes, but not the fingers. But then, who says you're supposed to touch the art?

arlee said...

Interesting thought----we're not "allowed" to touch paintings, and technically we're to "white glove" textile art, so why *not* change that surface texture? Just another tool after all--kind of like that for the wall, and the unmediumed can remain for the hand, lap and crying face if need be.

tangled stitch said...

This is a lovely piece and an intriguing way to look at display.

tangled stitch said...

Beautiful piece and an intriguing idea for display.

tiedyejudy said...

Hmmmm.... I'm wondering if the application of medium would prevent or slow down fading? That is one problem with fiber arts that are exposed to the sunlight. Might be interesting to do a test -cover half a coated piece with something to block the light, then put the piece where it gets strong sunlight for awhile...
BTW, I really like how the pieces look when they are mounted. And I love that your "assistant in training" is coming along!

Catherine V. Bainbridge said...

I'm one of those gallery terrors who want to touch everything! Thanks for explaining your technique, I think if I tried to do this with the Long Night Moon piece that I've had on the go since just prior to Christmas, it would probably slide off the canvas 'coz it's so bloody heavy ;)I'd need super glue for that. But I have to say I like the idea if stiff cloth. I wonder if one used the same technique on something super fine like silk or organza or cheesecloth, would the cloth become self supporting/standing? Has anyone tried that? I'm gonna think some more about that idea. Lovely section from Hollow Places, with the lilac, smoke-sky and white cloth with the moon, (in the 3rd image down). I love that! Wish I had some pennies in my pocket (wish I had a $ for everytime I've thought that in the past week alone!). Beautiful, inspiring work! Thank you! :)