Friday, September 25, 2009

Hosta, and the SAQA Visioning Project

Hosta (2009) 7-1/4" x 9-3/4"
Cotton fabric, acrylic paint, cotton and rayon thread, cotton batting.

A few weeks ago, I made the decision to join Studio Art Quilt Associates’ “Visioning Project.” The idea behind the project, led by SAQA president Lisa Chipetine, is that you can reach your goal if you envision it, plan it and execute it step by step, with the help of other supportive artists in the group. Each participants’ first step is to refine a clearly stated goal to be achieved in 12 months.

After much thought, I settled on this goal: To work in a series and produce at least eight pieces in a unified body of work for a solo show.

With everything else I have going on in my life, this is an ambitious goal for me. But it is an important one. For several years, I’ve wanted to work in a series, to find my “distinctive voice” and to pump up my production and my commitment to my art. I think the Visioning Project will help me do that.

One of the first things I have to do was to decide on the subject matter and a technique I want to use for the entire series. Toward that aim, I made the small piece above (“Hosta”) yesterday. It is just a study, but it helps me resolve some of the issues in my head that I need to move forward on the series.

Here is the photo on which the piece is based:

It is of close-up shot of a hosta I keep in a pot on my back steps. The leaves are starting to show signs of disease and decay, and the normal decline brought on by fall. I thought the pattern created, combined with the lines of the veins of the leaf, was really beautiful.

I started with white Pimatex cotton fabric, a combed cotton poplin fabric by Robert Kaufman. I had used Robert Kaufman’s Kona Cotton before, but I discovered that I like the Pimatex better for this kind of work. It is very fine and smooth, and much easier to draw on with a pencil.

After sketching the lines on the fabric, I painted using Liquitex Soft Body Artist Color mixed with Liquitex Fabric Medium. Then I did thread work on the surface before quilting it. Here is a detail shot: