Archive for September, 2010

Fall down 7 times, get up 8: Perseverance and Appreciation

September 29, 2010

"Wall Drawing #2" ©2010 Ayn Hanna, 36"x43", Textile Painting (5 layers cotton fabric hand-dyed by the artist, cotton thread)

I rarely give up.  Sometimes it gets me in trouble.  Other times, it gets me great results.  I’m still learning about boundaries and deciphering which situations I need to keep pushing through, which ones I just need to let go, and which ones I need to step back, re-evaluate, and approach a bit differently.

Recently, I wrote a post about being sad because I had screwed up and gotten one of my textile pieces double-booked in two really great juried shows. Flash forward to today, and I am thrilled to let you know that, thanks to the graciousness of Karen Roxburgh and the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum, it is all going to work out in the end.

When I told Karen that my Wall Drawing #1 textile painting which is included in the current Evolutions Show at the RMQM had also been accepted in the nationally juried Drawing in the Expanded Field Show and that it was to be the only textile piece in the show and they had declined to accept an alternative piece, Karen agreed to let me replace Wall Drawing #1 with Wall Drawing #2 (above) in her show, so that Wall Drawing #1 will be able to be included in the Drawing show after all.  I am humbled and appreciative of Karen’s thoughtfulness and willingness to work with me to find a solution that worked for both show venues.

Wall Drawing #2 and Wall Drawing #1 (below) are each constructed of multiple layers of fabric with shapes cut out (reverse appliqué) to reveal the different layers as well as shapes appliquéd to the surface, and then with stitching added to create variety of line, complete the images, and quilt the layers together.

"Wall Drawing #1" ©2010 Ayn Hanna, 36"x44", Textile Painting (5 layers cotton fabric, cotton threads)

The Drawing in the Expanded Field Show will be at the Hatton Gallery, in the Visual Arts Building on the CSU campus from Oct. 6 – Nov 12 and opens next Wednesday, Oct. 6 with opening reception from 6-9pm.  Excerpt from the show announcement:

This is a national juried exhibition of contemporary drawing that goes beyond traditional drawing practice. The works selected comment on, or directly challenge our preconceived notions of the discipline through various approaches and a wide range of media that are currently employed by the artist of today. In the words of one of our jurors, “through stitched threads, twisted ribbons, the linear shadows of a three-dimensional floor installation or the trajectory of a shopping cart in a supermarket” this exhibition illustrates just a few of the ways in which drawing is expanding its horizons.

One of the 2 Jurors of the show, artist and writer Deanna Petherbridge, International Getty Scholar and founder of the Centre for Drawing Research, RCA, UK, will present a public lecture, “The Primacy of Drawing” on Wed, Oct. 6, 5pm, Room F101, Visual Arts Building.

If you’re in the area, please join me at the opening reception next Wednesday night!

Fabric has “history”. Paint does not.

September 22, 2010

High Peaks Camp, Estes Park, CO

During this past weekend, I got to attend an Art workshop at the High Peaks Camp in Estes Park.  15 other textile artists and I spent 3 days learning from Leslie Gabrielse, a fabulous fiber artist from The Netherlands.

I have admired Leslie’s work from the first time I saw it, so I was thrilled to get the opportunity to take this workshop.  Leslie creates his fabric art quilts 100% by hand, constructing each work by layering pieces of fabric on top of a backing/batting foundation, stenciling in places with acrylic paint, and then hand stitching the fabric pieces in place using perle cotton and large doll needles.

Leslie holding up one of the many demo pieces he created during our workshop.

Leslie’s work is so refreshing – really original and wonderful.  His amazing drawing skills are evident in every piece.  Each one is so inviting and fun, in part because of the strong compositions and colors he uses, and because of  his imagery and technique – the use of chunks of interesting fabrics combined with stenciling, the hand stitching techniques, and  juxtaposition of collaged imagery.

Leslie describes why he prefers working with fiber rather than paint, “Fabric has history, while paint does not.”  He often re-uses his own, or friends’ clothing in his pieces, so each piece has a very personal history to it.  And it seems that every piece of fabric he works with has a story unto itself, again bringing such a personal edge to each work.

A weekend workshop is just enough time to get a small sampling of an artist’s oeuvre, and we did our best to glean as much as possible.  Leslie shared so much, giving us demos throughout the days and presentations in the evenings as well.

My paper stencil composition from the workshop.

The primary goal was to learn about Leslie’s way of making a fabric piece and then get a start on 1 or 2 small pieces of our own.  We began by playing with stenciling on paper, with a goal of creating an interesting composition.  Above is my paper stenciled piece.

I was able to get just 1 small fabric piece started in the workshop – these hand processes do take a bit of effort to pick up (especially for me since I’ve never really done any hand embroidery before).  Below is a photo of my small fabric piece:

"Wall Drawing#3" (in progress) ©2010 Ayn Hanna, 18"x18", Textile Painting (fabric, cotton batting, acrylic paint, cotton thread)

Notice the many many pins that are holding all the small fabric pieces in place. Right now they are the only thing holding this all together.  There is quite a bit of stenciling with acrylic paint included in this piece as well.

The next step is to add the hand embroidery with perle cotton, to both hold the fabric pieces in place and also add some more definition and line variation in the piece.  Here’s another photo I took as I was selecting various thread colors that I’m going to add to the piece:

"Wall Drawing #3" with perle cotton threads that will be added to it

I’ll post another photo of this piece once I finish it.  I am very excited to incorporate these new techniques I learned from Leslie this weekend into other future pieces I make as I really enjoy the hand techniques and the “human” presence these bring to the work.  I have also started a larger piece (another one in my Triathlon series) using these techniques and will post images of that as it progresses as well.

Navy Quilt Update

No new progress on the 2 Navy Quilt pieces this past week, since I was attending the workshop.  I now have 8 days left until the due date for those so I’ll be busy at night and this weekend working to finish those up and will post pictures of those over the next week.

Big Printmaking Show at Art Lab Fort Collins

Reminder for those in the Fort Collins area, my prints are on display until 9/25 at the Art Lab on Linden St. in old town.  The gallery will be open Friday 9/24 from 6-9pm and Saturday, 9/25 from 1-8pm.  There will also be live printmaking demos and workshops at the gallery on Saturday.

Why I love Printmaking

September 15, 2010

Tunnel ©1990 Ayn Hanna, 9"x7", linocut

Some of my etchings and woodcuts will be on view at  “Proof No. 1: The Art Lab Printmaking Experience BIG SHOW” at ART Lab in downtown Fort Collins, opening this Friday, Sept 17.  The show of local contemporary printmakers’ work will be open Sept 17/18 and 24/25 and will include prints such as etchings, woodcuts, and letterpress prints – the kind of prints made by hand on big clunky presses.  There will be some presses and artists on hand at the gallery and visitors will get the chance to learn about printmaking and even have an opportunity to make a print of their own to take with them as a souvenir from the show.  See Art Lab Fort Collins’ home page for full schedule of demos and workshops associated with this show.

Although I’ve been focusing my work on textiles most recently, my first love has always been printmaking, and my etching press (a Takach 3460 floor model) was the first piece of equipment I installed in my home studio.  With this print show coming up, it got me thinking about the reasons why I love printmaking so much.

Coincidentally, I was on the Moo.com website, to re-order some of my moo minicard business cards (I love these cards because you can upload up to 100 different images/set of 100 cards to their site and they’ll print them out and send them to you for a very reasonable cost – what a great way to carry around your portfolio with you and be able to hand it out to people with your contact info printed on the back!), and while I was on their site, I ran across an article which helped me identify in part, why I love printmaking.  Quite simply, I love the whole process of producing something printed by hand!

Some of my Moo mini-card business cards in the cute little box they arrive in.

A sampling of my artwork, printed on my Moo mini-card business cards.

– I love the physical-ness of printmaking techniques done by hand: painting, drawing, scratching, scraping, incising, gouging, sanding, polishing, rolling and wiping ink on the plates and then cranking them through a press.

– I love textures and surfaces and the rich variety of mark making that is possible only within the fine print medium.

– I love process; preparing the plates with grounds, drawing/painting/cutting the surface, etching the plates, inking and printing the proofs, and then editioning the final image.

– I love the graphic print quality and the ability to make multiples of a single image; printmaking helps to make collecting original art more accessible to all.

– At the same time, I like that the physical plates do wear out over time (or in the case of a reduction woodcut, the plate is gone once you print your last color), so editions are very limited and usually quite small (like less than 100 prints and often more in the range of 20 – 50).

And there is something very magical about pulling a first proof of an image that you’ve created by hand – drawing, scraping, scratching, etching, inking, wiping and wiping and wiping and then cranking it through the press – and seeing that image realized so graphically on the beautiful 100% rag paper as you peel it off the plate after running it through the press.

Upright Monster © Ayn Hanna, 32"x16", Collograph

And then, to print an edition, you have to go back to the inking slab and re-ink that plate and re-wipe it, each time to print another proof of it.  And try as you might to wipe the plate the same each time, each proof that you pull is going to have some little variation in it (makes it special and a little different from the others, showing the “human-ness” of hand-printing, and qualifies it as an “original” print), but still will be close enough to the others being printed to be a part of an edition of original prints.  I start getting excited about printmaking while even just talking about it!

If you would like to learn more about fine art printmaking, be sure to stop into Art Lab during the show over the next two weekends in Sept.  And, if you can’t stop by the gallery during the show, you can also check out this very cool interactive demo from the Museum of Modern Art for everything you ever wanted to know about printmaking – What is a print?


Dye Painting: Navy Quilts – Part 2

September 12, 2010

Simply irRESISTible show opens today at Some Things Looming Gallery in Reading, PA.

My Tangled Webs #1 and #4 are included in this show.  If you’re in the Philadelphia, PA area, please check it out.  There is an opening reception 4-6pm today and the show will be up through Nov14.

Click on the link above for more information and to see some of the work that’s in the show.  I’m hoping they will post more images of the show after the opening and I will add a link here on my blog to more images if they become available.

Navy Quilts Update

I’ve made more progress this week on my two textile paintings for the Navy Quilt Show.  See my previous post for an overview of this project.

Navy Quilt #1 (in progress) ©2010 Ayn Hanna, ~40"x40", Textile painting (dye painted whole cloth cotton)

Quilt #1

Quilt #1 (above) is a dye-painted collage of Naval Aviation images from Captain Bill’s career. Clockwise from middle left:

– The tail of a Navy A-7E  Corsair II aircraft from the VA-87 Golden Warriors “War Party” Squadron which he commanded.

– A Navy A-3 (twin engine jet) Sky Warrior aka “‘whale”, one of the many aircraft he flew.

– Nose of a Navy F-8U Crusader, one of the primary aircraft he flew.

– An F-9F Panther, another of the aircraft he flew.

– A LSO (Landing Signal Officer).  As Captain Bill says, he spent too many hours “waving”, controlling aircraft landings.

– A Navy A-7E Corsair II aircraft, one of the primary aircraft he flew.

– Aircraft Carrier USS America (CVA-66):  Captain Bill was the first pilot to get 600 aircraft carrier landings aboard USS America.

– Background – Middle East Map.  One of the world’s regions in which Captain Bill flew missions.

Using dye thickened with print paste, I painted these elements on a piece of soda ash soaked cotton fabric.  I also painted on resist in some areas (flight deck, water in lower right), to retain some white areas before painting over it with dye.  I’ve now washed out the dye and the next step with this one is that I’ll throw it on my long arm quilting machine and start stitching.

Navy Quilt #2 (in progress) ©2010 Ayn Hanna, ~40"x40", Textile Painting (dye painted on cotton fabric)

Quilt #2

This piece has started as another dye-painted whole cloth.  For this one, I made a bunch of stencils of the many different aircraft Captain Bill flew in the Navy, and started out by stenciling some of them all over the fabric with resist, so that when I painted dye over it, some areas would remain as white.  Next, I spray-painted (burnt orange) dye over the whole cloth, let it soak in and eventually dry, and then I stenciled some more planes with resist over the first color, and sprayed more dye (olive green) over the first color.  This dye mixed with the orange dye in some areas.

Spray-painting olive green dye over cloth with resist-stenciled planes and 1 layer of burnt orange dye already on it.

I let the green dye dry and stenciled some more planes and some cockpit dials with resist and then spray-painted one more layer (a dark blue/black) over the entire piece.  When washed out all of this dye and resist, I got the somewhat muddled mess below:

Navy quilt #2 (in progress) before discharging, ©2010 Ayn Hanna, 40"x40", Textile Painting

Just as in doing a painting or a print, it’s a process of addition and subtraction to reach the final image.  When I got to this point, I decided the next step was to pull back some of the lights into the piece, so I stenciled some of the planes that are barely visible in the cloth, back into it, using discharge paste.  The discharge paste worked to remove some of the dye paint, and that’s how I got the first image of this Quilt #2 above – it has more of the white/light planes back in it.

My next steps with this piece will be to bring more light back into it, with both discharge and possibly some reverse applique, and work to create more definition of shape and more interesting line quality (with stitch) and bring another color or two into it.

Stay tuned: I’ll post more images as these progress.

Panthers and Tigers and Whales, oh My!

September 8, 2010

Nose of an F-8U Crusader plane, dye painted on fabric

Since “Captain Bill” (the subject of my textile painting entry for the Navy Quilt Show) was a Naval Aviator and Test Pilot, he flew all manner of aircraft.  I have a list of at least 13 different planes he’s flown, and that’s only a partial list he put together from quick memory.  Armed with the info he’s shared with me about his Navy career and having no real prior knowledge at all about planes or the Navy, I hit the web to do some online research to start gathering design ideas for my piece.

It’s really interesting to take a fresh look at something you’ve never really looked at closely before. I discovered that while many of the aircraft are similar, there are some fun variety of shapes, markings, and names for several of the planes he flew and after all my research, I can now confidently tell the difference between an A-3 Sky Warrior “Whale”, a F-9F Panther, and an F-11 Tiger.

Brain freshly loaded with all my new airplane knowledge, I spent the holiday weekend in the garage “studio” playing with dye painting and getting a good start on a couple of textile painting design ideas for the Navy quilt show.

Dye painting an image on fabric for my Navy Quilt Show entry

Overachiever that I am, I had to start 2 different pieces for this project.  The first design is a collage of various Naval Aviation imagery, all specific to Captain Bill’s Naval career. I drew out a rough sketch of the overall composition and then started dye-painting each element of the design.  While I don’t quite completely know what the final piece will look like yet, the major design elements are in place, so this piece is more pre-planned out.

The second design is much more spontaneous, and is going to be fun to watch how it develops and see what the end result will be.  For this one, I made a bunch of airplane stencils (all planes that Captain Bill has flown) and started the piece by stenciling several planes on the fabric with resist.  Then I sprayed a layer of burnt orange dye over the resist-painted stencils.

Resist-stenciled airplanes with burnt orange dye painted on top.

Stencils of airplanes that Captain Bill flew while in the Navy.

My plan is to alternate resist stenciling with painting more colors of dye, to achieve an overall interesting abstract design, made from images that are all representative of elements of Captain Bill’s Naval Aviator career.

I’ll continue to post images as the work progresses over the next few weeks.  Deadline is Oct. 1st, so they’ll be done before then!



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