Mobile Photography is the future of the art form. Discrete intimate and always accessible to capture a moment. – David S. McNamara
Photographs are said to preserve a moment in time, chronicle a piece of history, and refer to the ephemeral. Does the act of photo manipulation rewrite the history documented in the original photograph? I don’t use photos as a memory aid, but as a way to manipulate color, patterns and shape. I decided to co-mingle technology with textiles producing sticks-a-gogo Art Cloth.
For the last two years, I’ve produced images for surface design on fabric. Below are two examples, showing the original image and the resulting surface element.
Over and over, I keep asking myself the same question, “What am I good at?” Of course, this question does not refer to me as a person, but as an artist. I’m an accomplished knitter publishing free patterns on Ravelry. Out of necessity, I learned how to sew my first garment when I was eight years old, and currently I’m enrolled in the Fashion Program at Canada College located in Redwood City, California. Later in life, I studied Art History at the University of California, Berkeley. Fulfilling a life-long dream, and being the first in my family to graduate from college was bittersweet. But, “What am I good at?”
As a young girl, I enjoyed taking pictures with my father’s Kodak Instamatic Camera with plastic flash cubes. When my father started using the Polaroid Camera with the peel-apart color prints, I was hooked. I carried a Polaroid Pocket Camera everywhere I went. A few years back, I began experimenting with Holga plastic cameras. The journey which began with “red eyes,” instant color prints along with the double-exposure capability using 120 film, prepared me for the boundless creative options of the cellphone camera.
How could I take advantage of the beautiful art images I captured with my cellphone camera? In a world with digital prints on fabric, why not put my images on fabric? Better yet, why not sew with fabric which created a digital narrative of what I “see” as interesting.
These photos were sent to me by Virginia. Along with sticks-a-gogo Art Cloth, Virginia used the Yuya Dress pattern by Damar Studio. It is so gratifying to see my digital narrative take on a new meaning.
I was so excited to receive Sandra Betzina’s current Newsletter. What a wonderful surprise to read about sticks-a-gogo Art Cloth. I look so forward to seeing the fabric stitched up in one of Sandra’s designs.
What’s next for sticks-a-gogo Art Cloth? I’m ready to find out!
Well, last weekend was Artistry in Fashion at Canada College in Redwood City, CA. My first installation of sticks-a-gogo Art Cloth was well-received. One person said, “Your booth is really fresh and original.” Another mentioned, “Your work is original, and believe me, I’ve seen a lot.” I wasn’t sure “people would get me” and what I was trying to express until Sandra Betzina, said, ” You’re on to something, keep it up.” I don’t usually like to name drop, but in this case…Why not!
Here are the first of my new collection:
Sticks-a-gogo Art Cloth is exploring other avenues for fabric substrates. Leather may be added to the collection. How exciting! I’ll keep you posted, or follow sticks-a-gogo on Instagram.
What started as a casual meeting during a presentation Christine was giving at Canada College Fashion Department, has become a friendship. A friendship which recently blossomed into a professional collaboration. Christine Groom of ZigZag Designs and me, Mary Lou Fall of sticks-a-gogo Art Cloth are collaborating at Artistry in Fashion on September 28, 2019 from 10-4 pm at Canada College located in Redwood City, California.
I am so excited to share one of our collaborations.
Creating digital textile images via contemporary digital printing technology empowers me to make my own art cloth designs. Looking through the lens of my cellphone along with a gentle click of the finger, I am able to create a narrative of places, people and things I find interesting.
The ability to bring my vision to “life” from start to finish elevates my importance as a designer and a consumer. Utilizing new skills, which by the way, I’ve been taking classes using Photoshop Elements, supports my desire to create something special, a timeless unique piece of artwork. A symbiotic relationship develops between me and the image, I am emotionally attached to the cloth because it describes who I am.
For a long time, I’ve wanted to combine two of my passions…photography and fabric. I’ve been fascinated with Photoshop for some time, and recently discovered a vehicle for designing fabric digitally, Spoonflower.
I started out with a picture I captured with my digital camera.
Used Photoshop for fun, and uploaded my design to Spoonflower.
I proofed the design to make sure the visual imagery was what I wanted.
I’m excited about all the creative possibilities for this fabric design with more to come. Stay tuned!
In the “Back Room,” my yarn and fabric are co-mingled into an organized system by color, content, weight and gauge. While knitting, I think about sewing, and while sewing, I think about knitting. I know many sewists and knitters listen to podcasts, audio books, or stream, but I let my mind wander in silence.
Today, while knitting the cuffs on a cashmere sweater, out of the corner of my eye, three pieces of bark cloth caught my attention, two are vintage and the other a current day piece from Japan.
If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m a very curious person. I like to “fill in the blanks” so to speak, when it comes to the history of things. And I constantly wonder why I am attracted to a certain style, design, fabric or yarn? What about the history of bark cloth, and why do I like it?
According to Wikipedia, bark cloth was once common in Asia, Africa and the Pacific. Bark cloth has been manufactured in Uganda for centuries and is Uganda’s sole representative on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists. France produced bark cloth as cotton mixed with rayon in the 1920s and was known as Cretonne. In the 1930s, the fabric was produced in America and was popular in Hawaii. Common designs were florals, botanical prints, tropical prints, geometric and abstract atomic era prints. American bark cloth also shot through with gold lurex threads called Las Vegas cloth, and was a combination of 65% rayon as well as cotton. I remember bark cloth being used in the 1960s for upholstered furniture, curtains and cushions. Along with a rough textured appearance, bark cloth is about the texture of the cloth, rather than the fiber. It doesn’t have a wale (rib) or distinct weave effect. Vintage pieces of bark cloth may be found on etsy or ebay.
Today’s densely woven cotton “bark cloth” is named such because it resembles the texture of tree bark and are look-a-likes to the traditional fabrics.
Ugandan born British eco-sustainable designer, Jose Hendo, http://wwwjosehendo.com “takes a fresh approach to contemporary fashion designs challenging the obsolescence nature of fashion and the throw away culture.”
I seek pleasure “filling in the blanks” about the the material I use. Building a connection and having a relationship with the tangible object I create is an extension of who I am. How could I throw away a piece of fabric or a skein of yarn I cherish for its unique qualities? I like bark cloth because of its texture and its resemblance to the bark of a tree, and not having a distinct weave effect creating an uneven texture. Expanding my knowledge and worldview adds meaning to my life experience.