Friday, October 28, 2016

Fiber art and encaustic 3 -- Linda McLaughlin

Early this month I had the pleasure of visiting Linda McLaughlin in her studio and couldn't help but fall in love with her encaustic paintings.  Knowing that she's primarily known as a fiber artist, I had to ask how she made the leap into encaustic.

Q.  How long have you been doing fiber art / how long have you been doing encaustic?

I have been sewing for 60 years; about 25 years ago I got really serious and creating my own work became a driving force. 

I first became aware of encaustic about 6 years ago and 5 years ago I went to an encaustic camp to learn more. I was very enthralled at first but my interest has faded. I keep thinking I should do more, but then never do. 

Q.  Did you feel that encaustic was a natural progression from your fiber work, or a totally new thing?

I approached encaustic as a new thing and then tried to find ways of including fiber. I've even thought of doing a relatively large piece of fiber art and then encasing it in encaustic on a wood panel.  I even have the panel (20" x 24").  I just need to do it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Fiber art and encaustic 2 -- Shelley Baird

Shelley Baird is an artist primarily known for her enigmatic silkscreened designs, enhanced by dense machine quilting.  She has had work in several Quilt Nationals and other prominent art/quilt venues, and took up encaustic a few years ago.

Sometimes she uses her screenprinted fabric as the first layer in an encaustic painting, as in this piece:

Sometimes she re-uses a favorite screen in both fiber and encaustic.

Shelley Brenner Baird, Blue Cypher, fiber/quilt (detail)

Shelley Brenner Baird, encaustic

Q.  How long have you been doing fiber art / how long have you been doing encaustic?

I have been using fiber as a substrate for my work for about 15 years.  I come from an eclectic art background that involved painting and drawing, then a degree in printmaking and another degree in photography followed by work in graphic design and illustration.  I have always made art and fell into fiber/textiles/art quilts/surface design by serendipity, seeking out teachers and mentors.  Once I discovered the many options in surface design I began to develop a body of work that includes a variety of media.

Living in central Ohio with QSDS and Nancy Crow's barn very close to home has enabled me to work with people from all over, including instructors and participants, so the textile community has been very accessible and varied.

Q.  Did you feel that encaustic was a natural progression from your fiber work, or a totally new thing?

When I start any kind of work I just begin with a blank sheet (panel, paper, fabric or an actual sheet sometimes) and approach it just as I have always worked in any medium.  I don't categorize myself as any particular process person so encaustic is just another way to use my ideas.  Fiber can be easily used in encaustic and the transformation from the wax and paint and incising can be another way to look at one's work.  Since I do make all of my fabric with screens and painting I don't see much of a distinction.

I enjoy a break from the tedium (oops, should I admit that?) of stitching.  The ability to work more quickly and move on to the next thing something I appreciate.  Working smaller also enables me to work through more ideas.  I suppose a lot of this is really not about encaustic per se.  So some the things I like about encaustic involve the ability to scrape and incise and melt and remove.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Fiber art and encaustic 1 -- Terry Jarrard-Dimond

Late this summer I got to see the Bluegrass Biennial, a juried all-mediums show of Kentucky artists, which had a handsome complement of fiber art and also some striking encaustic work.  One encaustic piece was made by an artist whom I know through fiber art circles, and I realized that I know at least a half dozen people who work in both those mediums.  That got me thinking about whether there's a special affinity between encaustic and fiber art, so I asked three of my friends to tell a bit about their experiences in the two  mediums.

I'll start with Terry Jarrard-Diamond, who is probably best known in fiber art circles for her large pieced quilts (she won best in show at Form, Not Function a few years ago and served as a juror for Quilts=Art=Quilts this year).  In recent years she has been doing a lot of work in painting and encaustic.

Terry Jarrard-Dimond, Smoked Ring, encaustic

 Q.  How long have you been doing fiber art / how long have you been doing encaustic?

I have been working with fiber for perhaps 16 years and began exploring encaustic about 5 years ago.  I had been aware of the medium for years but more in connection with sculpture than painting but when I began blogging I became aware of the work being done in this medium.

Q.  Did you feel that encaustic was a natural progression from your fiber work, or a totally new thing?

The step into encaustic painting was not a progression but rather a lateral move.  I had wanted to paint for several years and as I read about this medium the desire to try it developed.  Much like fabric and sewing, there is a significant technical learning curve with encaustic.  Easy to apply encaustic paint.  Not easy to make the work look professional and resolved.

Q.  Do you think encaustic has an affinity with fiber?  and if so, why/how?

The only connection I can see is perhaps the versatility of both of these mediums.  I do think encaustic painting has been and still is an "It" medium meaning that it has come into the awareness of the art-making community and has attracted many new users.

There is often a direct relationship to the final look of some of my painting to pieced fabric work done several years ago.  This is due to how I see space and organize shapes in relation to a space and each other. 

Terry Jarrard-Dimond, Quietly Red, fiber

More fiber/encaustic artists next week...

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The silkhorse project goes live

Several months ago I wrote about a new work that I got involved with, making paper quilts in aid of a Kickstarter campaign.  The project is to gear up for production in India of some fabulous silk scarves, screenprinted by hand by artisans using traditional methods and natural dyes.

I got to use the paper proofs of the scarves to make some of my "postage" quilts to illustrate the gorgeous designs, and had the pleasure of getting to know the artwork intimately, as I fussy-cut the proofs for my own quilts.  I found it intriguing to think that my friend Keith had manipulated multiples of the original horse image in Photoshop to come up with the design of the scarves, and then I got to manipulate multiples of his designs to come up with my third-generation version.

Here's the original:  Manaki, the Hindu sacred mare.

Here she is in silk!

Here's Payal Parekh, the mastermind behind the silkhorse project, wearing the orange scarf as a shrug, helping me with the black scarf.

Check out the Kickstarter pages HERE.  Supporting this project is a great way to help keep those traditional textile arts alive and well in the 21st century.