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.
An article in the May 21, 2017, New York Times Style Magazine by Charlotte DiCarcaci, mentions for Fall, designers “have embraced Morris’s (William Morris) florid flora-on-flora ethos with a vengeance” inspired by the influences of the Pre-Raphaelite painters, especially Rosetti and the architectural talent of Philip Webb. Philip Webb, a major player in the Arts & Crafts movement built the infamous Red House where Morris combined floral wallpapers and textiles influencing 19th-century aesthetics. After reading the short two paragraph article in the New York Times Style Magazine, I wanted to know a little bit more about Morris’s Red House and its floral aesthetic. The exercise prompted me to take stock in the many floral bouquets found in my fabric collection, Liberty cotton, Italian cotton and Swiss.
At the same time, I reminisced about one of my favorite French Symbolist painters Odilon Redon, (b. April 22, 1840, Bordeaux France, d. July 6 1916, Paris France) and his Ophelia, 1900-1905.
Along the way, I discovered British painter, Sir John Everett Millais (b. June 8, 1829, Southhampton, UK, d. August 13, 1896, Kensington, London, UK). Millais was identified with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. It took Millais, eleven hours a day, six days a week for a five month period to paint his Ophelia, 1851-1852. According to my limited research, this painting detailed the flora and landscape along the banks of the Hogsmill River in Surrey near Tolworth. In fact, Barbara Webb, a resident of Old Malden solved the mystery location of the painting. The following is an interesting article detailing the event. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/art-news/7863332/Mystery-of-location-of-Millais-Ophelia-solved.html
I find the connection between William Shakeseare’s description of Ophelia’s garland and the “language of flowers” or sometimes called floriography interesting. The red poppy found in Millais’s Ophelia symbolizes sleep and death.
As the temperature rises, I’m reminded it’s Summer. A linen blouse, crop pants, sandals and a ponytail pretty much describe my look for the season. Comfortable clothes combined with the heat, and last but not least, barbecue ignite an intense creative curiosity leading me down an unknown path. Perhaps I’m nostalgic for Summer days gone by when, as a young girl, the end of the school year meant staying up late and sleeping in, swimming all summer, making lanyards at my local Parks and Recreation Department or hanging out in the mystery section at the library. Along the way, I loved biking through fields of flowers, racing with dragonflies, and collecting rocks. A time and place I created for myself, the freedom to explore without any encumbrances.
My current Summer journey leads to an intense study of block printing. Recently, I attended a block printing class at A Verb For Keeping Warm in Oakland, CA with Rebecca of Rekh & Datta. Rebecca shared a video of India, describing a brief history of block printing along with the individual family that translates her designs to fabric.
Here is my first carved block .
I decided to separate the block into individual segments to experiment with pattern and design.
Much to my surprise, some interesting patterns emerged. I feel fortunate to have the “time” to let my curiosity soar to new heights and discover amazing possibilities.
I used to think reminiscing about the past was not healthy, but I now believe my past is my present. Looking back is not past history, and according to Sadie Stein, “As the deep vaults of history are made accessible to everyone via technology, the past has become an alternative present.” Ms. Stein’s article appeared in The New York Times Style Magazine, entitled, We’re Living in a Copycat Culture, dated January 31, 2017.
“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” William Faulkner