Monday, May 22, 2017

To Tell a Story with Cloth: Impressions, Connections, and Memories: Memory Cloths

Judith K.-P.: This piece...one of Judith's Memories of Japan series, was inspired by a Haiku by renown Japanese poet, Matsuo Basho. Judith printed the fabric flowers and crocheted the basket from twine. The poem is written with pen and embellished with stitching.
This is the final post of five showing student work from my To Tell a Story with Cloth: Impressions, Connections, and Memories class. I want to highlight finished pieces and works-in-progress.

Judith K.-P.: Part of the Memories of Japan series. This piece was started in the Mapping Memories lesson. It is an Impressions Map of her experience in Japan. Applique, Trapunto, hand stitching.
Judith K.-P.: Another piece from the Memories of Japan series featuring a Haiku by poet, Chen-ou Liu. The teapot print was created using an embossed aluminum printing plate.
Ann Z.: Memories of Beach series. This piece is still in process. Ann is planning to add some additional stitching. Here she is auditioning some textures.
Ann Z.: Detail of stitching and reverse applique. Ann is also working on a series of smaller pieces featuring stitched words inspired by Rachel Carson's writings.
Jan B.: In addition to the pieces about her parents (see Significant Object Portraits and Word Impressions posts below), Jan is continuing work on this Color Map. She is adding a stitched azalea over the spring greens.

Barbara C.: As part of her Memories of London series, Barbara created this little box sculpture featuring some of her hand printed fabrics along with fabrics purchased on her recent London trip. The house is the one that T. S. Eliot lived in. You can see the Eliot poem piece in the Word Impressions blog post below).

Barbara C.: Here is the incised craft foam print block she used.

Barbara C.: I couldn't resist including this incredible stitched ribbon that Barbara bought in London. She is using bits and pieces of it in her continuing series.
Alice A.: Alice fell in love with this little Mexican bull! It is a motif that reminded her of her childhood and visits to a marketplace in Mexico. Alice realized that watching the women weaving and making their wares is what inspired her to become a weaver and fiber artist. This print was created with a freezer paper stencil.
Alice A.: Freezer paper stencil.
Alice A.: This little red bull was created with a freezer paper stencil and an aluminum printing plate.

Alice A.: Alice made these miniature aluminum animals based on her memories of  Mexican tin ornaments. She plans to attach them to one of her Memory cloths.
Judy M.: A selection of Judy's Memory cloths about visits with her grandmother at the cottage near Lake Michigan. Judy is continuing to create more pieces and plans to turn them all into a cloth book.
Judy M.: Map showing the location of the cottage.
Judy M.: The cottage.
Judy M.: Completed version of Coffee and Milkshakes.
Judy M.: Good Night! Judy's grandmother used to wish her good night through the wall between their rooms. She would say "good night" in many different languages.
Judy M.: Judy's grandmother used to read lots of poetry with Judy. Here is a line from one of the poems.

I have to say that this was an extremely rewarding class to teach. First, I gave the original Story Cloth class a complete overhaul. Rather than having all the classwork culminate in one piece, I decided to break the class into themes. I also added journaling and assignments with cut paper and color pencils at the beginning of each class as a way to get students focused on the theme of the week. Students were able to choose from a number of suggested challenges. So the pressure was off about making one "perfect" piece and instead encouraged students to begin thinking and working in a series. It also helped to have a group of enthusiastic, open-minded and trusting students...so a BIG thank you goes out to you... intrepid students!

If you haven't had the chance to read the previous posts about this class you can follow the links below:

Color Connections
Mapping Memories
Significant Object Portraits
Word Impressions

If you live in the Washington D.C. area and would like to take this class, I will be offering an evening version in Fall 2017 and a daytime version in Spring 2018. Specific dates TBA. Please feel free to contact me with your questions.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

To Tell a Story with Cloth: Impressions, Connections, and Memories: Word Impressions

Barbara C: Barbara's pieces focused on her memories of London, where she lived for over 20 years. She recently visited and was struck by how much she loved the architecture...and one building in particular...which she found out used to be the home of T. S. Eliot. She decided to include a poem by Eliot as part of her memory cloth series. On this piece, Barbara combined hand painted and hand stitched lettering along with appliqued fabric "bits".

The fourth theme we covered in To Tell a Story with Cloth: Impressions, Connections, and Memories was Word Impressions. For this class, I asked students to bring in poetry, personal correspondence, favorite family sayings or to choose words that appeared in their journal (for example...words from their Mind Map from Class #2). We talked about different ways to get words onto fabric including: writing with permanent marker (such as Micron pens), printing, applique and stitching.

There were so many possibilities that most students worked on printing techniques during Class #4 and stitching techniques in Class #5. I'm including both in this post and will feature finished work and works in progress in the next (and final) blog post.


Ann Z.: Ann used adhesive foam letter stamps for some of her words and incised others in craft foam. Her pieces focused on memories of the beach.

Printing techniques included carved Speedy Carve blocks, incised craft foam, embossed aluminum and freezer paper stencils.

Alice A.: A quote referencing a Mary Oliver poem. Alice used embossed aluminum.
Judith K.-P.: Japanese for "creativity"...part of Judith's continuing series on Japan. She used incised craft foam.
Jan B.: Jan's father was a math teacher. This was one of his favorite sayings! Jan used foam letter stamps.
Jan B.: While going through some old papers, Jan found this page of math problems handwritten by her father. The other side is a set of mimeographed word problems (also handwritten)!
Jan B.: Incised craft foam block prints based on her father's diagrams.
Judy M.: As part of her series about her grandmother and the cottage on Lake Michigan, Judy decided to reference some of the poetry that her grandmother used to read to her. This print is made from an incised craft foam block.
Karol L.: This is the title of the book that Karol's mother wrote. She is planning on including it as part of her piece about the Eastern shore (see the link to the post below on Significant Object Portraits). This was printed with embossed aluminum.
Karol L.: Karol also incised the book title in craft foam.
Stitching techniques included turned and raw edge applique and reverse applique. I made some samples to inspire the students.
Julie Booth: Turned and raw edge applique and reverse applique.
Barbara C.: Raw edge applique letters to spell London.
I also had fun working on some stitch samplers featuring different stitches. I'm continuing to work on more samplers. Lots of potential with stitch combinations!

Julie Booth: Words using different stitches.
Ann Z: Stitched words inspired by Rachel Carson.
Below are links to some of the other posts about this class.
Color Connections
Mapping Memories
Significant Object Portraits

If you live in the Washington, D.C. area, I will be teaching this as an evening class this coming fall (dates TBA). Please feel free to contact me.


Saturday, May 13, 2017

To Tell a Story with Cloth: Impressions, Connections, and Memories: Significant Object Portraits

Jan B.: When Jan was helping her mother to move, she discovered that her mom had pressed leaves in many of her books. This is a piece that celebrates that discovery.
In the third session of, To Tell a Story with Cloth: Impressions, Connections, and Memories, we focused on Significant Object Portraits. We talked/journaled about how certain objects can have strong connections to memories. They can trigger a memory or be a touchstone. These can be actual objects...but also memories of  "lost" objects...those that no longer exist but still have a strong hold on us.

Ann Z.: Memories of the Beach. Ann used carved blocks, aluminum printing plates/stencils, and moldable foam blocks. Hand stitched details.
Students designed and created a number of print blocks to tell stories about these special objects. They made Speedy Carve Blocks (carved), adhesive-backed craft foam blocks and aluminum pan printing plates, then printed fabrics to use in their story pieces. The Memory Challenge this week was to complete a piece that featured an object that has personal meaning or significance.

Alice A.: The Marketplace. Alice carved a print block, then printed it on two fabrics simultaneously. This is a childhood memory about the marketplace (in Mexico)...the colors and objects and the people.
Alice A.: Alice continued work on this piece from Session #2 by adding stitching.
Jan B.: A carved block and print. Memories of the leaves her mom pressed in books.
Jan B.: Jan is also working on a piece to honor her father. She made some moldable foam blocks using tools, nails, screws and washers.
Jan B.: Jan also did some sun printing at home!
Amy L.: "My piece is about my grandma's pink fuzzy bathrobe and her great hugs! I have really fond memories of her staying with my mom, sister and I when all the guys in our family were hunting or sleeping over at her house. She'd always have her pink fuzzy bathrobe and matching slippers. "
Judith K.-P.: Memories of Japan. Judith has strong memories of the fish market in Tokyo. This piece has many layers and textures. There is crocheted lace (representing coral) hiding under a layer of organza and stitching.
Judith K.-P.: A carved block that Judith is turning into a memory piece about flowers.
Judith K.-P.: Aluminum pan printing plate print of a teapot.
T.T.: Fabrics using print blocks and resists.
Karol L.: Memories of the Eastern Shore. Karol found that trips to the Eastern shore (Delaware and Maryland) renewed her during difficult times and was also a place where she spent many good times with family. 
Karol L.: Karol is putting all her memories together into a piece that she will be able to fold like a book.
Karol L. : Detail showing painted and printed fabrics.
Karol L.: In process. This panel will feature part of the boardwalk at Rehoboth Beach.
Judy M.: This piece is about Judy learning how to sew from her grandmother. She made her first outfit...a blouse and shorts. The fabric surrounding this memory is reminiscent of the lake near her grandparents' home.
Judy M.: A piece of painted and printed fabric that Judy is planning to turn into a memory cloth. We talked about the possible imagery we saw in it. Looking forward to seeing where Judy goes with this fabric!
If you would like to see student work from the first two classes:
Color Connections
Mapping Memories

I'll be teaching this class again this fall (evening class-TBA) at The Art League School in Alexandria, VA. If you'd like more information, please contact me.