Thursday, March 19, 2009

How Much Can I Fit Into 36 Sq. Inches?

This week’s 6x6” square was influenced by some of the materials I’ve been using, the weather, my health, and my strange mood.

I was bitten by the dye bug earlier in the week. Other than dyeing a piece of round robin fabric a few weeks ago, I haven’t done any fabric dyeing since before I got sick. The weather was beautiful this week though, and I kept eyeing the picnic table on the back patio (which my lovely partner has given me permission to liven up with spilled paints and dyes) and thinking how nice it would be to spread some fabric out and paint some thickened dyes onto it.

dye_painted I never made it quite that far, but I did mix up some dye concentrates and paint various combinations of color onto watercolor paper. Most of these are nice, neat tables of overlapping colors and neat notations.

Then I went a little wild and just slapped color onto the wc dye_painted2 paper. I scanned these into the computer, and used part of one (above) for the background on the weekly square.

I’m feeling over-stimulated and anxious this week. It started as a sort of manic exhilaration, a feeling that I could accomplish anything. There are a lot of things I want to do—more than I’m capable of actually doing. So then, of course, I feel depression creeping in, because I start to think that I’ll never be able to accomplish everything I want to. That’s an unhealthy pattern for me, because I tend to push myself too hard and neglect myself in the process.

Maybe I’ve been exposed to too much sunlight this week; I have thoughts jumping around in my head like crazy, songs running through my mind night and day, and general disorder and chaos happening up there.

On top of that (or in relation to that? because of that?) I’ve felt some of the scary symptoms of my pancreatitis more strongly this week (pain and nausea, among others).

“Cacophony” kept coming to mind when thinking about the square, so I used Photoshop to layer the word and its dictionary definition over the dye-painted background. I upped the color saturation a little, then printed it out onto fabric, which is sort of ironic if you think about it: fabric printed with inks of watercolor paper colored with fabric dyes (!). I did some free-motion stitching (just a little) with black thread, and used some hand-dyed black/gray fabric for the backing and the fused borders.

I think of this week’s square as both a reflection of the manic anxiety I’m experiencing and a reminder to myself to slow down, take a few deep breaths, and take care of myself.



Cathy Mendola said...

this is gorgeous! love the colors, everything about it is lovely.

Rosie said...

I really like this square... and the how it came to be. I understand your manic thought processes - you have my sympathy. Sometimes I get on the wheel, run like a hamster and then wonder why I can't get off!
If you don't mind me asking, do you use a quilting attachment for your free-motion work, or drop the feed dogs and go for it?

Sharon Eley said...

What kind of dyes did you use? Was your fabric 100% cotton? I haven't done dyed fabrics yet but I truly loved your spontaneous colors. They are georgeous! I would like to see you scan them and save them to your computer before you cut into them. Perhaps you can use the images on other creations. Beautiful work!!!