On getting my work to ask the hard questions:

The other week at an opening there were a number of you who said “I can feel the conflict between industry and nature in your work.” This, in its way, made me sad, for in making the work I felt a harmonious combining of the two.

But the artist makes only one half of the work. The rest is all you, and I am so privileged to learn your side. It lets me know who you are, the other, and how I can talk to you. To state your thoughts lets my work know you and dialogue back.

Leaf Filled

I noticed – hey – I know now what that person feels about industry/nature. My work asked them that question and I didn’t even know it. I thought I was trying to tell them something. But my work had other plans. It was curious.

Meditation cushion print

A thing that comes up in my reading/listening a lot: the idea of making art based on questions, not answers. Answers and truths are illusory. This is a controversial stance. I’m not placing it as an argument but rather a hypothesis. In my experience, personal truths (are there other kinds?) are transitory.

Seasonal trees block

Out in the people world, I find it difficult sometimes to talk to people about — people things. I’m not very good at it. I mean about families, spouses, heartbreaks, haircuts, injuries. These are relevant and important, but I am private in ways and just not very good at sharing back.

On the other hand, I am crazy to learn what projects/ideas/innovations/science/stories/techniques/places/spaces/perspectives/mind-tricks keep you awake at night. You know what? Sometimes its really hard to get people into those conversations. I learned a secret pass-phrase to get right in there, but some things are just tricky.

decal blocking x 2

So I’ll get my art to do it. Then go places with it. It’ll be my wingman.

Hey guy, my art says. Quick, what do I make you think of? Wear it all over your face.

What a mouse has to do with visualizing space.

I find it hard to visualize three-dimensional space. When designing quilts, and other 2D creations, I rely heavily on digital software to help me see what is coming next. This allows me to easily test out composition and colour scheme before I start working in cloth. Without a similar aid, I felt at a bit of a deficit when I began working in sculpture.

Over the past term I’ve been dealing with this issue. I’ve just finished a course in 3D printing, which has taught me how to use digital modelling software, mainly Lightwave. I was amazed how easily you can place a sketch into the program as a backdrop and build out from it. I first tested this theory with a spaceship design my partner had drawn. I love collaboration.

Warren Steeves Spaceship 3D Model - A Green Artist

It really seems to be a matter of getting into the zone and thinking about the screen as an open environment where you are actually manipulating 3D objects. Then you don’t have to worry about remembering sets of rules.

Warren Steeves Spaceship 3D Model Action - A Green Artist

I started applying this to sculptures I was planning almost right away. The following three will be created in cloth and plant over the next month.

Tree Sculpture -  A Green Artist Tree Shelving Sculpture 3D Model Full -  A Green Artist

I’ve found it really helpful to be able to tweak composition ahead of time, and see it from all angles. I am interested to see what impact this has on the finished creations.

Fungal Islands A Green Artist Fungal Islands 3D Model Bright - A Green Artist

We learned a little animation too, and though I don’t find it as applicable to my work, I can see definite possibilities for working out kinetic sculpture, internal and external lighting, and design proposals.

The funnest part is that I got to 3D print one of my objects! I can’t really describe what it is like to build something in the computer, and then have it in your hand. The difference between working digitally or in reality seems almost negligible.

Lily Centerpiece A Green Artist Waterlily Centerpiece Cutaway - A Green ArtistWaterlily Centerpiece Cutaway 3D Print Sculpture - A Green Artist

 

Nymph

Insect Lifecycle Sculptures_10_1

Nymph
Original digitally printed cotton from leaf photographs, cotton, corduroy, interfacing, reed.
Size small dress © Allison Green 2013.

The second piece in the Time Flies Collection, this dress shows the burgeoning juvenile insect. It is designed after the dragonfly nymph.

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

Insect Lifecycle Sculptures_55_1

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.

Circuit breaker.

Progress, from idea to action. I’ve traced and traced again, first to make the pattern, next to lay it, and finally 4 Fleurs dans une 038 (1650x1238)to resist.
I trace the lines and circles onto the silk with ink that disappears with water (what a brilliant invention). The pattern reminds me of rice terraces.4 Fleurs dans une 032 (1650x1238)

I tie up my silk onto its frame, being sure to shore up the lines. This is important at every step, silk is so shifty. This is my first silk painting, I am nervous and proceed slowly and with deliberation.
4 Fleurs dans une 042 (1650x1238)

I colour my gutta (resist) with Procion dyes to match the greens, yellows, and reds of my image. I had considered screenprinting with the gutta, but in tests this proved only somewhat effective, and I am pressed for time. I will put this thought on the back burner to experiment with on a future piece. This time around I squeeze it from a little bottle using the ruler as guide. I was expecting much more difficulty.
4 Fleurs dans une 054 (1650x1238)

Proceeding despite expected difficulties is often an enlightening experience. I like to pick a hard project off the bat, test the limits of the medium. This project tests the gutta and its possibilities. It allows a surprising amount of control.
4 Fleurs dans une 058 (1650x1238)

For the background painting, I have chosen a more simple path. I have mixed a very dark Procion indigo, diluted it with alcohol to help keep smooth transitions in my background. There is a lot of nickel gray in the mix, which splits into pinks and grays (and other more shocking colours) as it dries. I am after that dash of luck.
4 Fleurs dans une 059 (1650x1238)

Simply touching the ink brush to the silk spreads little pools of colour right up to the resist line. This is much more efficient than my past forays into painted cotton. Successfully  wooed, I can see that silk painting and I will be spending a lot of time together.
4 Fleurs dans une 070 (1650x1238)

I will let it rest and steam it out when it has dried, then on to the quilting. I can’t wait to see the resist disappear along with the blue marker. Slow processes are chock full of meditation, but also much anticipation.
4 Fleurs dans une 079 (1650x1238)

Silk circuit.

Brings to mind passages of long past, the Asian silk routes, the all-important trade of goods and philosophies. The mingling of cultures and languages through commerce. The vast reduction in perceived world-size.

We have new circuits today, filled with electricity and numbers. Commerce by wire. The mingling of cultures through shared information. Our world has shrunk to the width of a fibre op cable.

What I have in mind brings these eras closer together. Circuits in silk.

I am beginning a series of painted quilts. They will be both a continuation and a departure from my previous quilts (The Crossing, Here Be Monsters, The Point, Written Communication).

For a time I am specializing on the idea of the engineered, the man-made, the angular and structural. How these designs still manage to resemble the organic. Where will I start? Silk circuits.

1 - circuit engineering good

Silk painting has me thinking about pooling colour, perceived ridges. It works on the principals of resistance and dispersal. Notice these qualities in the composite above. Notice these qualities in electricity itself.

Today I am researching. Like a circuit, I work best with information in my mind. More connections make themselves apparent. I am looking here, and here, and here. I have learned that circuits are often etched into copper using a silk screened resist. How curious.

I am sampling, testing the contours of the medium. Dye does not like to follow straight lines in the silk. Like any good mistress, it will require wooing and trickery.