I’ve nearly recovered from the show installation and the opening reception, which happened on consecutive days this time. It was pretty exhausting, but overall the reception was extremely well-attended, several pieces sold, and it was generally successful. If you weren’t in the area, I’ll give you a tour and talk a little bit about the pieces. It will likely take more than one blog post to get all the way around the rather large room.
For this show, I drew on historical events and time periods as my theme for individual works. Techniques ranged from wet felt to knit felt to all sorts of dyeing.
The first vignette is the Groundlings, 3 hats that represented the more rustic – but still rich and interesting – nature of “low” culture:
Here are studio shots of two out of three Groundlings. The first is a folded brim with buttons:
The second uses the same beret-with-a-brim construction that I used for Shakespeare. This one came first:
The Groundlings are backdropped with three hand-dyed linen table runners.
Next up was Shakespeare, in contrast to the Groundlings. I’ve already talked about the juxtaposition of high and low culture here.
Shakespeare is set against another hand dyed linen runner, for which I cut a linoleum block and printed a Tudor rose motif, which seemed appropriate. I really enjoyed cutting the block, and hope to do more of this type of printing in the future.
Three linen runners were used next to 4th of July to break things up a bit. The first is an amber low water immersion dyed runner with metallic paint highlights to represent the Gold Rush. The next two runners were varying shades of purple to represent the Gilded Age, since mauve was a color that was all the rage at the turn of the century, a result of the invention of chemical dyes to achieve this particular hue. I couldn’t quite bring myself to dye anything mauve, but purple I could tolerate, and so purple it was.
I did hats for the Gold Rush and Gilded Age as well. Gold Rush is a bitter chocolate hat with a translucent gold fabric overlay. I have not yet gotten a good studio shot of Gold Rush, so I’ll have to make due for now with a photo in situ at the show:
Gilded Age is of interest (to me anyway) because it was the trial version of the technique used to create the brim on Shakespeare and one of the groundlings. The purple flower on the side of the hat is actually part of the entire hat fabric – it was created in a single piece by adding a resist with a hole in it on top of the main hat and adding a few layers of wool:
I also experimented with adding textile paint to felt, using a metallic to gild certain areas of the hat.
Here is a cloth that uses virtually the same layering technique as 4th of July, but without the final layer of heavily contrasting color, which represents the Industrial Revolution:
I used a low water immersion technique for the cloth representing the Stock Market Crash of 1929. The cloth was scrunched into a spiral and 6-7 different shades of blue were poured on top:
The last pieces I’ll show for now are the two hats representing the Jazz Age, since they both have a very 1920s feel. The blue is a cloche with a turned up brim, while the purple has a rolled brim with a gorgeous, giant Bakelite button (from Ginny’s Aunt Fanny’s button stash):
This is a photo-heavy post, so I’ll save the rest for another time. Since I have a group show coming up in just a few weeks, I’m not done in the studio yet!