In November I usually start thinking about daily art, and what I'm going to choose for my project in the coming year. I had pretty much narrowed it down to some kind of collage, whether paper or fabric, but didn't have any details in mind. Then when I went to the December retreat from my fiber art group, I was delighted to find that Santa Claus also came.
Santa aka Joanne Weis, who has been one of my closest art pals for more than two decades. She has experimented with every conceivable method of surface design (dyeing, screenprinting, laminating, painting, etc.) and every conceivable fiber (silk, hemp, linen, cotton, nylon, etc.). She always does considerable testing to develop a palette before embarking on a new project, and often prepares a lot more fabric than she actually uses. And for years, she stashed her unused fabrics in drawers.
Then last year she decided she needed the drawers, stuffed all the fabrics into big bags, and brought them to the retreat.
I let others in the group go through the bags for more than an hour, cherry-picking pieces that called out to them, and when everybody else had enough, I packed up everything that was left.
Two huge bags worth. And realized that clearly Santa wanted me to do fabric collage as my 2023 daily art.
I have defined the project as follows: All fabric must come from Joanne's leftovers. I can add hand- or machine-stitching of any kind, plus notions like beads, buttons or found objects. Most days I will finish a collage, but occasionally I can hold it over to another day (or two) as long as it's documented at the end of each day.
|This one took several days to finish (Day 1 here)|
I haven't felt this exhilarated in a long time. I find myself getting up in the morning and thinking about what I will do in the studio, and the daily stitching is usually the first thing I tackle when I get there. (By contrast, toward the end of the year, my daily painting got to be a chore, done after dinner with the same enthusiasm as kids have for the last bit of homework before bed.) Often I spend some time preparing fabrics for future days, cutting them into small pieces, maybe putting the pieces through the wash to fray the edges, maybe auditioning possible combinations.
I haven't posted any of the collages on my daily art blog yet, but that's on my to-do list. Meanwhile, here are a few of my favorites. Obviously I'll be telling you a lot more about this project as the year goes on.