February 9, 2011

Challenges: Cloth, Paper, Scissor's Fabric Swatch Reader's Exchange

"Leaves", David Hayes, 2011

Late last year, after finding out that I hadn't made the cut for one of Cloth, Paper, Scissors reader's challenges, I decided that I was going to enter everyone I could as a challenge to myself...and to push my "envelope" a bit. And I've been doing just that to some success! I was named a finalist in their Artisan of the Year competition for 2011 and just found out that I'm finalist in the "Stencil Garden" reader challenge. I didn't make the cut for their calendar competition but I remain undeterred!

The current challenge, "Fabric Swatch Exchange" was one that I almost didn't do. This involved creating a 18"x36" swatch of fabric, cutting this into 9"x9" blocks to be exchanged with other participants. Now...I usually don't work with fabric...this is something my wife does -- she's a very good fiber artist -- and I just wasn't sure I wanted to tread into this turf. But...what the hey! Why not!??

So...I asked my wife to rummage through her fabric stashes...which was liking asking for blood...but she did it for me! Came up with a section of black fabric and a nice section of burlap. And off I went! 

Taking the black fabric I first sponged printed color blocks using acrylic paints. Then, using a leaf linocut that I had made for another project, I overprinted the color blocks...creating "Leaves" which is above. Once dry, I cut this into the required 9"x9" blocks and shipped it away. Done. That was easy!!

Looking for a real challenge...I taped down the burlap and pondered...what to do with this?? Taking up my brayers and sponges...and printer inks I created a free-form pattern over the entire surface. Now...this proved to be a near disaster as the printer inks were too "tacky" for the burlap and I quickly gummed up the brayer and the sponges with fibers from the burlap. Then...it took forever to dry!! But...finally it did and it was on to the next step.

Going to my stash of papers, I pulled out a sheet of marbled paper that was given to me sometime ago as a gift. Cutting out along some long patterns of swirls, I moved these around until I was happy. Then I glued them down using a wheat paste/PVA combo. Everything was looking good!

What to do next had me stumped...so I took a bit of time to consider. I knew I wanted to use fabric but wasn't sure what. Finally I decided upon some scraps leftover from curtains my wife had made.

Cutting this into strips that reminding me of stalks, I knew what I had to do to finish! First I had to glue these "stalks" down using my glue combo. This created a bit of a mess...but I had a lot of fun swishing the strips down, playing in the glue all the while!

Taking more of the marbled paper, I cut this into flower-like shapes...and using more of the fabric, I cut centers for my flowers. Again, using my glue combo, I put these down on top of the stalks. Once everything was dry, I used a Sharpie marked to add highlights to the flowers. I let everything dry for a couple of more days...cut it into the blocks...and sent it on it's way to Cloth, Paper, Scissors.

"Alice's Garden", David Hayes, 2011

Now...there isn't a "competition" with this challenge...but maybe one of my swatches will be featured in a future issue of the magazine and make it into the "Main Book" of swatches that they'll showcase. Nonetheless...I found that I enjoyed working with fabric...and glad I took on this challenge! If you'd like more information about their challenge, here's the link:

I plan to try again for their Artisan of the Year for 2012...and any other reader challenge they may have. I'm finding these to be a good way to keep me out of my same-old-same old routines!


jen said...

wow! those are great, and i LOVE seeing the steps and stages of things being made.
good job at being persistant, too! :)

Dave said...

Thanks Jen! I had a lot of fun doing these. I just love it when I can get my hands into glue and paper and paint! (Which is probably why I like traditional darkroom photography better than digital...I love playing with chemicals!!)

Barb from Illinois said...

This was really fun to read ! I liked seeing the entire piece. I am pretty sure I received the top right 2 squares .
I have been entering quite a few challenges,too.My pendant for the pendant swap made it into the magazine, but although my "All Buttoned Up" entry was a finalist it didn't make it in.
I enjoy doing the challenges, too. It makes me try new things and gives me a deadline.
I'll keep watching for your art .