I have been thinking a lot about my work lately. Does it say 'me?' Are there aspects of it that make it recognizable? I have been trying to figure out if I've 'found my voice', as the saying goes, or if I am still all over the map- which is how I've felt in the past.
In an effort to answer this question, I constructed a photo mosaic of quilts I've made in the past five or so years. It doesn't contain everything I've done- I eliminated some that I made as part of a group challenge where the theme or photo never spoke to me or evoked an emotional response. Here's what I came up with--
What commonalities to I see? I like strong colors- no pastels for me, thank you. They're only useful for the good colors to play off! I also like how those strong colors play off black. Even if the image is somewhat realistic, I prefer abstracted or simplified. I like strong lines and simple shapes. That is what jumps out at me- what do you see?
I think I am at a point where I want to simplify how I work, and explore a more cohesive or consistent way of expressing my images. I don't want to be agonizing over how I will do something, I just want to figure out how to do it withing the constraints that I choose for myself. I'm thinking that will feel freeing rather than constraining.
It also means that I will limit my fabric choices. I've preferred using my hand dyes for several years now. I have been slowly moving away from the heavily patterned low-water immersion dyes that I fell in love with initially, and more towards soft, very subtle patterning. It reads as solid from a distance, but on closer inspection shows the influence of the dyer. If I want patterning, I'd probably go with what I can get with soy wax batik, where I have more control over the amount and kind of patterning than I do with straight LWI dyeing.
I'm hoping this is a positive move for me. I will be going through my stash, eliminating a lot of the commercial fabric I have that just doesn't get used much anymore. Then I can go through the hand dyes, and make sure I have a good range of both colors and values.
With that in mind, I tried something new today. I'd read about Robin Ferrier's method of dyeing, which she calls flat dyeing. It certainly conserves water, and doesn't involve all the containers or stirring. Here's what the wet studio looked like at 10:30 this morning, after I got about twelve half yard pieces dyed.
I do have a couple of shibori pieces in the containers and under the plastic shopping bag. I also immersion dyed a piece of linen/cotton for a blouse. All the rest is under the plastic, batching away. I'll probably leave it until Wednesday night. Oh yeah, I also threw a piece of soda soaked cotton into the drip pan under the table. We'll see if that one turns out to be a dog or a gem!