Archive for the ‘textile paintings’ Category

My Fabric Stack(s)

October 11, 2011

My hand-dyed fabric stacks

An Informal Fabric Stack Project

Last week on her blog, artist Lisa Call had a fun idea – have each of us that has stacks of fabric take photos of our stacks and post them on our blogs and then add a comment on her blog, so that we can all go enjoy looking at each other’s colorful stacks.

This idea sprung as a tangent of another similar project – the Paper Stack Challenge – that Seth Apter of The Altered Page posted on his blog.

The idea in either case is that multiple artists will post photos of their own “stacks” on their own blogs, and then add a link in the comments section of either Lisa’s post (if fabric artist) or Seth’s post (if paper artist), so that everyone can check out all the cool “stacks” we’ve all got.

One of my racks of fabric.

Yes, I’m a Fabric Junkie!

But really, what textile artist isn’t?  Ok, some of us are worse than others.  I currently have a (spouse-imposed!) limit of 4 (oops, make that 3) racks of fabric.  Actually, the limit is for my own good and I need these boundaries, otherwise, well, my studio would likely become over run with fabric and I’d be so overwhelmed I’d never get anything done.

Another of my fabric racks.

I’ve acquired quite a stash in the few years I’ve been working in textiles and I do weed through it on occasion and donate some of it to charitable causes.  I’m working mostly with my own hand-dyed fabrics these days, so some of those commercial fabrics I found at thrift stores don’t quite have the same appeal now that they did back when I first acquired them and I know others will put them to good use.

A mini stack - a textile painting waiting to happen.

And sometimes it’s just necessary to let go of the old to make room for the new!

If you have a stack you’d like to share, please do join in the Informal Fabric Stack Project on Lisa’s blog.

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Along the Way in Deep Spaces

September 7, 2011

Deep Spaces Show Postcard

One of my textile paintings, Along the Way, is included in the  “Deep Spaces”  exhibit which opened this week at the Latimer Quilt and Textile Center in Tillamook, OR.

"Along the Way" (detail) ©Ayn Hanna, 45"x18", Textile Painting

The Curator/Juror of the show, Larkin Jean Van Horn, has assembled 50 artworks, and created a stunning catalog of the exhibit, available for purchase with all proceeds going to support Doctors without Borders.

Deep Spaces

From the show’s catalog:

Curator Larkin Jean Van Horn selected the theme “Deep Spaces” following a conversation with friends about the limits of space and the photography from the Hubble telescope. While it was clear that textile art dealing with the cosmos would be an appealing exhibit, the title implied so much more. Artists interested in participating in the exhibit were encouraged to interpret the theme in any manner that suited them, and the entries were outstanding.

The artists went deep into space, deep underground, deep under water, deep into the woods, canyons, and prairies, and deep into the mysteries of the heart. Each artist worked in her own style, whether photorealism or pure abstraction or something in between. Holding all this wide variety together is a common size: 18 inches wide by 45 inches long.

The Making of Along the Way

This piece is the second in a series of discharged wholecloth black cotton fabric textile paintings.  Making marks by using various drawing techniques to apply color removal agents, these artworks evolve intuitively, through quiet meditative drawing and wordless conversation with the work itself.  This way of working aligned nicely with the theme of this exhibit, giving me good opportunity to spend some much needed creative meditative time going inward to the deep spaces within.

"Along the Way" ©Ayn Hanna, 45"x18", Textile Painting

I began by drawing with discharge paste, which after steamed to remove the color, created the “lighter/white” areas.  Next I drew with a bleach pen, which created the orange marks.  Once the drawing was finished, I quilted this top layer together with batting and a backing layer of fabric on my long arm quilting machine.

My artist’s statement for Along the Way

An inward journey, intuitive drawing, mapping of a mind, lost in thought, problem-solving, the time ticks away.

"Along the Way" (detail) ©Ayn Hanna, 45"x18", Textile Painting

Deep Spaces Exhibit Logistics

Latimer Quilt and Textile Center, Tillamook, OR – Sept 5 through Nov 6, 2011.

Sam Houston Memorial Museum, Huntsville, TX – Jan 10 through March 12, 2012.

LaConner Quilt and Textile Museum, LaConner, WA – March 28 through June 24, 2012

Virtual Tour of my Taft Canyon Art Studio

August 8, 2011

Thanks to my brother Paul, here is a video virtual tour of my studio as it was set up for the Fort Collins Studio Tour in June:

In the part of the studio where my long arm quilting machine lives, I hung several newly completed textile paintings, including several small kitschy cowgirl pieces on one wall.  I also devoted one entire wall to work in progress.  Since we were asked to provide demos of how we make our work, I thought it would be fun for visitors to see some of the pieces I’m working on, in their various stages of completion, which revealed a bit of my working process.

On the printmaking side of the studio where my etching press lives, I included a “demo” area with some of the tools used for the various kinds of prints such as linocuts, woodcuts, and etchings as well as examples of different printmaking blocks/plates and the prints that were made from each, so visitors could see the range of mark-making possibilities in hand-pulled prints.

I also had my artist book of etchings displayed accordian-style, with the actual copper plates the prints were made from lined up in front of it, again so visitors could see both the prints and the plates they were made from.

My Process

I like to work on multiple pieces at a time, moving back and forth between the several pieces in progress.  This allows me most efficient use of my time and endless variety, as depending on what I’m interested in doing during a creative session (dyeing, drawing, stitching, composing, etc), or if I only have a small window of time to work with, I have lots of options of how to spend my time.

There is also a downside to working this way as well; at times I get too many new things started (because of new ideas being spawned from a piece I’m working on, or answers not appearing for resolving some of the existing pieces in progress) and then I get overwhelmed with all of the work I’ve got started.

It’s a kind of expansion and contraction process, the exploration of beginning a new idea/new work, expanding into new territory, and then needing to have the discipline to to resolve and complete the work, a sort of contraction, bringing it to a close.

This is why artists make good project managers!  Artists have to be able to come up with an idea worth doing, and then plan/figure out how best to do it, and then implement/deliver the goods, hopefully achieving a great result in the finished piece.

Anyway, back to the tour….  There were 36 studios participating in this year’s tour and visitors had 2 days to get around to as many as they could.  For my first time participating, I think the event was a success.  My goal was to introduce my studio and artwork to the local public and meet more people involved in local art scene.  I achieved that and I also sold some work.  And, best of all, I got some great feedback about my studio, hearing that some visitors thought it was the highlight of their tour – and in the end, that made it all worthwhile.

5th Floor Reflections – Drawing in My Textile Art

July 27, 2011

I made this drawing one morning when I was staying in a downtown Denver high rise hotel.  Upon opening the curtains, I was so taken by the abstract images I saw in the reflections of the windows in the building across the street, I sat down and started recording them on a small piece of card stock that I found in the room.

"5th Floor Reflections" ©Ayn Hanna, Ink Drawing on Paper

Drawing – The Artist’s act of thinking

Michael Gormley, Editor Director of American Artist Group, shares some interesting thoughts about drawing in an article he wrote:

“Practiced frequently and without inhibition, drawing represents the graphic remains of a thought or idea-hence its evolution ultimately aims to record not just the gesture of the hand but the inspired movement of the mind.  Drawing is thus a powerful tool for recording the stages and end products of our imaginative thought processes; it is associated with the highest levels of human consciousness.  In a sense, drawing is an artist’s act of thinking.”

I resonate with Michael’s statement, as well as with this one, from Cate Prato, Online Editor, Cloth Paper Scissor Today:

“Knowing ‘how to draw’ is not just about putting down an organized series of lines to create an image we recognize, it’s a way to organize and express our thoughts.”

So true.  This is why drawing is such an important component within every artwork I make, whether that artwork is a hand-pulled print, piece of sculpture, or textile painting.  It’s the inherent drawing within a piece that gives the viewer the most insight to the artist maker.

I am fascinated by other artists’ drawing qualities in their work.  It’s the first thing I notice and most appreciate in other artists’ work because it reveals so much to me about the person who did the work, without them even being there to tell me about it in words.  It takes courage to put your honest drawing in your work, because it is so revealing, and “speaks” for you visually.

"5th Floor Reflections" ©Ayn Hanna, 43"x36", Textile painting (cotton fabric, cotton batting, cotton thread)

I made the textile painting above based on that quick little drawing of the window reflections.  In the drawing, I really liked the abstract compositions within each window, the graphic quality, and the repetition of the hand drawn squares.  The dual association of the repeating square format with art quilting seemed a natural segue for me to (literally) extend my drawing into a textile painting.  And so I did.

I scanned my drawing and printed it out, and to my surprise, my old scanner read the drawing as a cut-out and printed the image with a black border framing the irregular shape of it.  I realized I was looking at my mock-up for my new textile painting.

In a way, creating a textile painting of my drawing helped bring emphasis to it, objectifying it into something larger that feels like it has a better chance of being seen or noticed by others.  And I think that’s a part of why all artists make art, at least I know it’s a part of why I do – to have a voice, share my thoughts, and participate in our society’s conversations.

My Creative Process and Allowing Another Way

March 3, 2011

My Creative Process

I’m having one of those “in the flow” moments…… where words to describe my working process – at least the way it worked in creating my “Another Way” piece – seem ready to spill out.

"Another Way" ©2011, Ayn Hanna, 28"x12", Textile Painting

Allowing myself to become, following an intuitive path, comfortable and enjoying that this is what needs to be, without really knowing what comes next.  Something wonderful about the easy-ness, good energy, warmth, and kindness toward self that helps open, relax, reduce stress, and expand breath.

Ideas flow, about learning, exploring, loving the art/mark-making, the meditative unfoldment and expansion of a thought, which evolves and becomes a thing, a real physical art object.  And this newly created artwork has come forth, through a dance, back and forth, to and fro, between my own heart and mind and this object, in it’s becoming.

"Another Way" state 1: discharge paste painted on hand-dyed fabric

The exhilaration of moving through the unknown, taking chances, risks, trying things out, listening to what it wants to become, then getting distracted and disconnected, whoops, what happened there?  Now I’m not sure, not loving this, thinking this may not even work out.  But, not ready to give up on it, I’ll keep trying, and see what happens.

We keep going, and, now I’m lost, tired, not liking this and it’s time to stop for today.  I’m really confused, unsure of where this is going or even IF it can be resolved.  Tomorrow, the struggle continues, and the day after, and the next after that.  I’ve lost track of how long it’s been, muddling about, I wonder what happened to that clarity that once was.

"Another Way" state 2: hand-dyed fabric discharged, fabric paint, applique

Knowing it may return, in a wiser form, I keep going.  And sometimes, it’s not until just before the piece is complete, that we come back together and I feel my re-attachment to the work again, finally.  And I have changed.  The world seems different.  And with some pieces, I really want to spend some time with my new creations, because we need time to debrief.  And with others, with this one, not so much.

It’s in this process of thought, drawing, visual play, struggle, unknown, searching, wondering, finding, becoming, resolving, and learning that the magic of making art happens.  This is my drug.  I’m hooked on Art.

"Another Way" state 3: auditioning additional applique shapes

Allowing “Another Way”

My creative process for completing “Another Way” was a  struggle, a battle of allowing.  I began with a general thought in mind, and in the end, the finished piece evolved into something very different.  I felt as if I was being spun around in a tornado and there was a large span of time during the making in which I really did not like the piece at all and seriously wondered if it was even going to be possible to resolve.

Would I ever reach a point with it where I would like it again?  I was hung up in that uncomfortable zone of not liking the way it was looking and trying things to make it better which really weren’t helping, putting more and more work into it, all the while wondering if it was going to be for a lost cause.

"Another Way" (detail) ©2011, Ayn Hanna, 28"x12", Textile Painting

It was teetering for a long time on the brink of being trashed.  Then, something I’d try would improve it, and I’d have hope again.  Then, not.  It went back and forth.  I was getting emotional about it, and a little crazy.  At one point, I had a revelation – wow, this piece is such a perfect metaphor for what I’m encountering in my day job AND my mixed up emotions about the major changes happening around the world right now.

In the end, I feel like I’ve grown up in some way.  I stuck with it, even when I wanted to trash it, and ultimately resolved it.  I actually kind of like it, but am ready to let it go.  It’s an odd piece and I have a strange relationship with it.  I’m not all that sure about it, but I think it works.


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