The more things change...

 

What a watershed year it has been.

"Edge", pen and ink, conte' crayon, 2014.

I've continued through this summer and fall to explore the idea of fabric as skin, thinking specifically about how our skin holds us in and apart from the outside world.  (See post Staying in Touch from last October). I just finished another fabric version of one of my drawings:

silk, wool, alpaca, natural dye, sewing thread, 2015.

Then, about three weeks ago, I walked into my studio and noticed how the autumn light was streaming through my windows and illuminating a sample I had woven for the Synesthesia show last October.  I started taking pictures of it, noting how it played with light and shadow.  I couldn't stop snapping pictures.  I felt like the fabric was having a conversation with me and I couldn't stop listening.

Detail of sample out of direct light on black background to show the stainless steel plain weave.

Note: All shots are of one 18" x 12" piece of fabric woven in plain weave of 100% white cotton-covered stainless steel yarn.  The two stainless steel stripes are a result of using a chemical to burn off the outer cotton coating of all the yarn in that area leaving only the stainless steel.  

Entire sample laid flat in direct sunlight on white background.

All dark areas are cast shadow.

These pictures were snapped with a phone camera.  I have since bought a digital SLR, lights and a sweep so that I can really explore what is happening here.  I feel like I have reconnected with the ideas I was exploring in graduate school, the interaction of light and fabric.  It's too soon to see exactly how the fabric as skin series forms the connecting tissue from my doublewoven ikat wall hangings to photographs of cotton-stainless-steel burnout plain weave but I know it's there. It has to do with layers and uncovering what's underneath. Bringing the back to the front, shedding light on the hidden places.

Closeup of stainless reflecting sunlight and a tiny bit of cotton covering not burned off

Wadded up, out of the light

Stainless picking up sunlight over black background

I found a fabric fingerprint in this one, as if it were leaving me clues:

The cast shadows evoke some sort of special joy in me, the same joy that I get from making a pen and ink drawing.  Black and white and all the subtleties in between.