Flux Silk Quilt - Allison Green WM

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.

Silk circuit

silk circuit copySilk Circuit
Silk face, polyester interior, cotton backing. Various threads including metallics. 20″ x 16″ © Allison Green 2013.

Silk painting with Procion dyes, machine quilted to within 1/2″. Based on a circuit board. Exploring the idea of beauty in industry, and the relationship between textiles and technology.

See how it was constructed: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
Sold throughM&T Deli in Fredericton, NB.

silk circuit_8 copy Silk Circuit

Quiescent current.

I’ve come full circuit on this project (haha). From idea to action to rest. At least quilting feels like rest to me. It’s better than rest, because I have something to show for it.

I washed out the silk, very very thoroughly. The image became much clearer and the lines sharper. I did find that in places where the dye lapped up over the resist, it tinted the cloth underneath slightly. Part of learning the medium.
faces stolen 011 (1650x1238)I hummed, I hawed, and I sampled, but I put off quilting the piece for several days. Pinning seemed to put major holes in the silk, while binding with spray adhesive soaked through and stained the cloth (despite its bold claims to the contrary). I queried the internet and found some excellent advice here. I couldn’t find the thin fusible web that was suggested but I did discover some beautiful drapey interfacing at my school shop.
fusible interfacingI ironed it on, being careful to match the grain. I also stuck some heavy interfacing on the muslin backing to give me a little support and to help push the loft of the quilt toward the topside. Then I spray baste it all together with some extra fluffy polyester filling.
quilt sandwichIt quilted up like buttered muffins, or something equally lovely. None of that shifting and bunching that silk is so notorious for, yet somehow the interfacing was thin enough to look natural.
quilting in progressI nearly couldn’t stop. Thank goodness for deadlines. As is I stitched the poor thing to within an inch of its life. At first it was too “pillowy”, not nearly the structured look I was going for. With a little more time and thread it came together.
silk circuit_8 copyTo finish it off I bias bound the edges, using a method similar to the one described here. This was for aesthetic and also to protect the silk from the violence of my staple gun.
I arranged so that the back would still be visible. Oftentimes the back is my favourite view, I like it to be all one colour so you get an abstract view of your work. It seems almost like a secret piece you didn’t intend to make.
silk circuit_10 copyIt is now hanging for sale at the M&T Deli. I hope it finds a good home (although part of me hopes it will have to come back home with me). This one came out very much the way I had planned. Sometimes it has to go that way. Too often we arrive at the end and can’t see the beauty because it isn’t what we thought. We pick at the mistakes and distrust the compliments. But sometimes, as if in utopia, we love a project right from beginning to end.
silk circuit copy

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.