On tipping the balance:

I learn a lot every day. About how to be here/happy/human. I’d like to share and also to string words out of my head so I can knit them into something like a crash pad. And so maybe you can help me tie up the holes.

watercycle and seasons of trees

Last year at life school we had visiting speakers. A couple of them, the lovely/articulate Yolande Clark and Danielle Hogan, were the first people to tell me how NOT balance work with life, but rather integrate it. This way you aren’t confining parts of your self and questing after elusive (impossible) perfect balance. But I haven’t figured it out yet, how to do it.

I was thinking about a blog and how I like to blog about process but it feels like I repeat a step by step rundown already apparent in photos. The parts I need to rehash for my growth are exactly the parts that come off as negative, for others. I’m thinking of ways I can use the blog constructively, to write about the inside things that are harder to say with only pictures.

Sun paintings_1

 

And maybe let us get to know each other. If you’d like that sort of thing.

I’m going to stop presenting my work as seen from some objective outside observer, and rather show how my mind affects my work, and my ability to do it. How the books that I read and the people I talk to are a catalyst for big internal earthquakes. And maybe you can relate. Please, do let me know how you relate.

watercycle block split

If we remove the person from the work, it sort of cuts out the footing. We don’t relate. Last fall at Canadian Crafts Federation symposium on Heirloom they talked about creating a story that will follow your work through its various relationships. To me that means being sure to attach your story to your work. Not just a piece about nature but a piece about nature which came from my experience of roaming through Fundy park and losing all my worries, all my monologue. And trying to find some way of re-organizing my mind to feel at home in the city, to recognize that even our cities are nature, we made them. They are our hive.

Me in Moncton (2)

I would guess to live a life of work/play merged is all of owning that perspective. The guilt I feel when life comes over work is a trick. There is no such thing as putting life over work. All of the work I have done has been continuous, inseparable, from life. What is work but a pass-time I chose? Maybe I like the physics definition best:

Workdisplacement of the point of application in the direction of the force.

pumpkin ring

In other words, steps taken in the direction of your intention. I would wish that on all my friends.

Environmental architecture

All of our technology comes from nature. Not only did we creatures build it, but we would be silly to think we are inspired by something other than natural processes. The more we learn about how biology and biosphere work, the more our own advances look like an homage.

My challenge is to show this back and forth in a collection of silk wall quilts. I will borrow inspiration from Saint John architecture, and unlike some of my previous quilts, these will not just be the buildings. These buildings will be overwritten by their naturally occurring counterparts.

Saint John Industrial Landscape_10 architecture, waterfall, water, roof

I chose Saint John because of the breakdown, a sort of reversion to something less strict and geometric.

Saint John Industrial Landscape_8And then I thought, what about the other side of this coin? Don’t we transform nature into architecture?

New HampshireThese views of New Hampshire are begging to morph into buildings and cities.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I wonder where we draw the lines between technology and nature. At first glance it seems pretty easy to make the distinction between what is made and what simply occurs.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

But does anything simply occur? Organisms evolve to adapt to niches put in place by other organisms, and all species have been forced to adapt to the overwhelming changes we’ve made to this planet. We make and change things because of evolved tendencies in our brains. So then maybe everything simply occurs.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The lines get blurry when you put your thinking goggles on. Where do you place the line?

Nubile

Insect Lifecycle Sculptures_22_1

Nubile
Silk face and backing, cotton interior and thread. Sealed leaves, tree seeds, stone, and wool.
40″ x 8″ x 30″ © Allison Green 2013.

The third piece in the Time Flies Collection, this shows the adult insect is in full flight toward the viewer. It also takes the form of a gaze of awareness.

See how it was constructed, and the other items in the series: Nascent, Nymph, and Nesting.
Exhibited with Foundation at the Saint John Arts Centre, Saint John, NB.
Pricing available upon request.

Insect Lifecycle Sculptures_35_1 Insect Lifecycle Sculptures_33_1 Insect Lifecycle Sculptures_25_1

Timber Timbre

I like trees. They sound nice, feel nice, smell nice, act nice. They help me imagine nice things, like a world where all constructs are as self-sufficient and sturdy. A lot of my thoughts lately surround trees and their penchant for enlightening people.
Yerxa 161

Last weekend was Harvest Jazz and Blues time in my city. The whole downtown turns into a festival. I spent the weekend silk painting and quilting in the midst of torrential rain, happy music-goers, and fire juggling performers.

The piece I created was the first designed in my new shared warehouse studio, Fredericton Makerspace. There I feel full of gumption and efficiency. I tacked paper to the walls and swayed to Crystal Castles, conjuring up these dancing trees.
Dancing tree drawings WM

I’ve found the computer to be a swell friend where decision-making is concerned. I was looking to arrive at the purple/green/gray/brown tones of the bark on scaley spruce trees. I settled my colours, traced the piece onto silk, and then off to Harvest my skills.
Dancing tree drawing - Allison Green - Bottleneck Consensus

Some kindly photographers caught me working away. Talking to the passersby gave me a very romantic view of busking. A surprise to me, many felt my work spoke of female empowerment. That is not such a bad thing to have bleed from my art when I’m not looking.
James Walsh - Allison Green
James Walsh Photography

The musical brouhaha added rhythm to my brush strokes, the painted silk sparkled under incandescence. I already thought it a magical medium but my little alcove of light amplified this.
Emily Elizabeth Photography - Allison Green2Emily Elizabeth Photography

The next day was full of warmth and mud-scent while I quilted bark and ripples. Complete, I am pleased. It is my city at Harvest time; giant trees by the water, compelled to movement by the downtown vibrations.
Timber Timbre Tree Quilt WM - Allison Green - BottleneckConsensus_3

“Timber Timbre” will be up for silent auction at Isaac’s Way from Sept 22nd. Much of the proceeds will go to children’s music lessons. I hope it finds its way to a home full of song.

Flux

Flux Silk Quilt - Allison Green WM

Flux
Silk face, cotton interior, backing, and thread. 45 x 45 in © Allison Green 2013.

Circuit board silk painting with free-motion quilting. Inspired by the innards of an old laptop.

See the work in progress.
Created on site at The Eager Clothsmith, Barracks Fine Craft Shop, Fredericton, NB.
Sold to private collection.

Steely growth.

A couple of weeks back I completed a set of thin, elegant quilts. They were an experiment in a number of different techniques, mainly the idea of letting the stitches do the talking. I started out by dyeing my silk with a mottled silvery colour. Using two pictures of a transformer tower taken in uptown Fredericton, I traced the image on with disappearing ink.
Electric Trees Quilts Inspiration - Allison Green_1I then stitched over the lines, mostly with shades of purple. The plan was to use dense zigzag stitches as a sort of satin stitch for the really heavy lines. After I had started I just didn’t think it would look right on the whole piece. Perhaps in the future when some kind soul gifts me an embroidery machine (hint hint).
Electric Trees Quilts - Allison Green 9Instead I did some experiments in painting after it was quilted. I knew I didn’t want to put anything on there that would run with water or humidity, because that would make the piece a pain to care for. I discovered that black ink with a little textile medium could be gingerly painted on and then be washed without incident. Eureka!
Electric Trees Quilts - Allison Green_3(Look familiar? I used a similar photo for Astral Ink)

One problem I ran into was that the disappearing ink did not want to disappear when dabbed with water. I think the difference is that I usually immerse my silk paintings and soap them up good. I didn’t want to dunk the entire quilt so I just wet it out with a cloth until the blue finally stayed away. Anyone have experience with the kind of marker that goes away with air and time alone?
Electric Trees Quilts Inspiration - Allison Green_4Some minor tribulations, but I learned a lot and I really like the outcome here. I am especially fond of how the ink looks when painted in stripes one on top of the other (see bottom right). I find it reminiscent of metal.
Electric Trees Quilts - Allison Green_1For simplicity’s sake I tried binding the quilts by rolling the backing over the edge and stitching in place. I actually found it much more difficult than using bias binding from a separate cloth. Because of the way the cloth draws in when quilted, it effectively gathered my backing fabric in certain areas. The effect is nice but it was not the timesaver I was hoping for.
Electric Trees Quilt Back - Allison GreenMy favourite is the full length Electric Tree on the left because it required almost no ink to get the point across.
Electric Trees Quilt - Allison GreenReally they are a pair and meant to be consumed as such. I think the up-the-skirt view on the right gains a lot by being partnered. Its content is more obvious by association.

These guys are each 12″ x 24″, and are up for sale through M&T Deli.

Inkscape.

Whoever said you need to relax over March break has never spent any time in the window of M&T Deli. A week on a sidewalk in the sun, getting comfy with a space heater and dye all over my hands; that was the only refresher I needed. I love the waving patrons and the confused children. “Why is she up there Mommy? Is she famous?” They really know how to make a girl feel special. Astral Ink Quilt - Allison Green

Not famous just yet, but really starting to get a feel for my art, and that’s even better. I began the week cross-legged on the floor with a huge silk painting. I was concerned it wouldn’t fit (and really it just barely did). The painting had to be almost a foot larger than the 4′ x 3′ mounted piece, just to accommodate the stitchwork and to wrap it around the frame.
Astral Ink Quilt - Allison Green_2I wanted a curvilinear composition this time around to work on my free-motion quilting chops. I came up with the design by messing around in Illustrator with this photo of ink and textile medium:
Astral Ink Inspiration - Allison Green_1It made me think of space, and the fluidity of time. It made me think of eclipses and magnetism. I ran with that concept. And after all, hasn’t space been on everyone’s mind? Hats off to Chris Hadfield and that stealthy Russian meteor.
Astral Ink Quilt - Allison Green_9By Wednesday I had finished painting, and with a little salt for texture, I dried out and steamed the piece. Steaming really sets those Procion dyes into the silk. Then it can be washed out to see what the colours really look like. I was pleasantly surprised that my black came out a purpley tone.
Astral Ink Quilt - Allison Green_7Stitching went along remarkably quickly, considering I am a notoriously slow poke. With Silk Circuit, I had to lift my presser foot to go around corners. With free-motion sewing, you use a presser foot that allows your cloth to move to and fro. You don’t have to stop until you run out of string. In fact, the faster you go the smoother your curves are. I try to concentrate on my breath and let the hands do the work. Pay too much attention and your randomized stitchwork starts looking too orderly.
Astral Ink Quilt - Allison Green_5I used this surreal design as a chance to try out a bunch of different stitching patterns. Stippling for the dark green of space, circles for the red planet, squiggled lines for jupiter and the moon. My favourite of the bunch would be the “ripples in liquid” look for the purple area below. I think this technique has real potential for clothing.
Astral Ink Quilt - Allison Green_3

I decided to build my own frame this time around. It was a whole half as cheap as buying a prefab canvas, and this purchase included a bunch of tools and glue that I will only have to buy once. My mitred corners weren’t what you would call perfect but it’s a whole lot sturdier than the store-bought variety.
Astral Ink Fram - Allison Green

The completed “Astral Ink” is hanging happily in the window, to find its temporary home inside the restaurant very soon. It will be available there for viewing or purchase. I am also now accepting commissions for custom quilts.Astral Ink Quilt - Allison Green_8Thanks to everyone who came out this week, and to M&T Deli for again putting up with the whirring of my sewing machine.