Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A little bit about "Echoes of Objects"

Since I featured the other textile artists in the Gestures 12 Mattress Factory, I thought I should share something about my own.

In the end, about 25 people donated "unseen objects" from their lives to be in the show. What are unseen objects? Well, I defined them as objects that are in our everyday lives, but we don't even see anymore. Knick knacks, things we need to fix, but haven't yet, sentimental objects you don;t know what to do with anymore...

Some of the items I got were:

A plastic vase
a rusty, soldered together wrench
tiger's teeth
picture frames
Japanese seed packets
a belt
a broken electrical outlet
an angel figurine

Quite an eclectic bunch! After I dyed the silk organza that I used as the fabric base, I bound each of the objects into the silk and subjected all the fabric panels to some abuse similar to a wet felting process. Once the fabric soaks and then air dries, the objects can be unbound and VOILA! Permanent echoes of the object remain in the fabric.

I decided to go this direction for several reasons.

1) It is a process I use in my textile art-to-wear, but I wanted to take it further and be surprised by the objects I would use rather than plan ahead of time

2) It is based on Japanese shibori. Japanese shibori fabric dyeing techniques use three dimensional objects to create two dimensional surface design on cloth. The traditional methods have been passed down for generations and use a specific community's location as inspiration i.e. shibori that comes from near the ocean looks like waves.

3) There is an underlying commentary on what objects those in my community choose to have around them. Tiger's teeth and old toys? Strange. And, why? I wanted those who gave me objects to look around and question their lifestyle even just briefly. And, hopefully, the art audience would do the same.

So, as you look at the photos (go to flickr for more) you can try and see what object may have been embedded in the fabric and imagine what object you would have contributed.

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