"Red Veil." Stainless steel, linen, silk, bamboo, copper.
Here I go again - just took this piece off the loom and couldn't resist photographing it interacting with natural light. I like this one. It reminds me of a Jack-in-the-pulpit.
I'm increasingly unable to conceive of my woven work in any final form without an intentional interaction with light. By using a camera, I can freeze an instance of light/fabric interaction. This is beginning to feel like the goal, rather than having any particular 2 or 3D piece that works in any environment. There is more that I could say about the camera abstracting fabric from its instant recognition as such, allowing it greater freedom to speak as a medium unfettered by all that the word "textile" attributes to it, and about the camera merging two picture planes into one, so that the image becomes neither a picture of a weaving nor its background, but rather one of combined colors and textures, rather like drawing with a weaving. And there is assuredly something to this merging of two layers that is reminiscent of my coverlet wallhangings - two layers woven as one but speaking separate languages or maybe dialects. But the most important piece for me right now is that I cannot let the light go. So I photograph and photograph until I am sated and then begin the process of forming the fabric into three dimensions.
Stainless steel, silk, linen, copper, bamboo. Photo by Kurt Schmidt
Meanwhile, I am becoming more intentional with what I write on the fabric in the burnout chemical. It is very cathartic as I can write whatever I want to, knowing that the words will be unreadable in the final product, as the chemical tends to bleed into a blurry mass that bears no resemblance to the words I wrote. I have tended to dismiss this part of my process, just making any mark in order to create visual effect. But now I am realizing the power of being a woman, writing words onto a text-ile that will be unreadable. This speaks to feelings of vulnerability, fear of exposure, need for privacy. I welcome writing in an unreadable script because I get to describe, define my self and my feelings for my self.
This feels like a very feminist act. It means I am wholly unavailable for outside interpretation. If you follow my logic of late, that I am trying to weave my skin, then if cloth is the body, and text-ile is text then I am writing my body, recreating it to my own specifications, giving it complete agency over the space it inhabits.
Realizing this raises the work to a sacred place for me. Nor do these pieces have to be only self-referential. I realize I can treat this process like casting spells. I can write wishes for others, for the world even, burn out the words, sculpt the form and give the words a safe place to reside. If weaving is manifesting space over time, then by adding words into the piece, I am manifesting my deepest desires. Which, I have learned, is ultimately to make the intangible, tangible.