Posts Tagged ‘textile painting’

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


The Next Best Thing to Playing in the Mud

August 5, 2011

Eco dyeing with natural plant materials!

Eco Dyeing supplies: plant material, string, cotton and silk fabric, metal pieces.

My friend Diedre Adams attended an India Flint workshop at this year’s SDA conference in Minneapolis, and shared her experience in 2 great blog posts.   Who knew you could make cool art cloth by picking up stuff on the ground in your environment, wrapping it in fabric, and boiling it in water?  No toxic chemicals involved, and no special supplies to buy.  After reading her first post, I was off and running – I just had to try this.

Really having no idea what I was doing (other than having read Diedre’s first blog post and having previously done some dyeing with procion MX dyes), yet trusting my process-intensive background in printmaking, I dove in.  We had had a pretty intense hail storm and I have lots of trees/plants/greenery in my yard, so there were lots of healthy green leaves, stems, and petals laying about for easy gathering.  I also had a big collection of dried wildflowers that I had harvested years ago and still had preserved between layers of newsprint, knowing I’d find a use for them some day.  I laid out my fabric and like a burrito, filled it with plant materials and in some cases, wire and metal pieces, and then folded and rolled it up into tight bundles:

I tore some strips of PFD cotton fabric and also decided to try dyeing some silk (which I have never worked with before but had recently bought some yardage to try out).  I didn’t know this at the time, but when using protein fibers such as silk, it is necessary to add some type of mordant agent to the boiling water pot to “fix” the natural plant dye colors to the fabric.  There are several things that can be used for mordant – metal, milk, and soy milk are some options.

Wrapping up the "burrito" of plant materials. In this case, I used a hollow metal rod to roll up the bundle around and then tied it with string.

I had seen some pictures in Diedre’s post where they had used metal clamps and flat metal pieces as “supports” when preparing the fabric bundles.  Lucky for me, my Partner uses wire and metal in some of her work, so I was able to pilfer some great rusty metal pieces from her stash for my bundling.  I used these metal pieces as embellishments on the fabric bundles and to help provide some structure as I rolled, folded and wrapped the plant materials up in the fabric, tying them into tight bundles with string and rubber bands:

Plant filled bundles all tied up and ready for boiling.

Backside of the 3 bundles with more metal pieces tied on.

Then it was bundle boiling time.  All those leaves, needles, petals, sticks, and pieces of metal made for an interesting aroma in the house.  It was my very own backyard brew!

Bundles in the water pot.

After boiling, I let the bundles sit overnight in the brew pot before opening up the first one.

Bundles after boiling in the water pot and "steeping" for a couple of days.

The magical part of the process – revealing the results:

Above photos are 1 piece of cotton, and below, are photos of another piece of cotton:

After heat setting the color and then washing the fabrics out, these 2 pieces of cotton looked like this:

2 pieces of eco-dyed cotton fabric, dyed with plant materials from my own backyard.

The colors that the plant materials created in each fabric are very subtle yet beautiful (hard to see in the photos), and I love the dark shapes and marks that the metal pieces and string resist contributed.  These 2 pieces of fabric really seemed to need to be together and so, over the next 3 days, I created a new textile painting using these fabrics along with some other cotton that I had hand-dyed earlier this year:

"The Vagaries of Recall" ©Ayn Hanna, 46"x28", Textile Painting (cotton fabrics, eco-dyed and hand-dyed by the artist, cotton batting, cotton threads)

I’ll post more of the results of this first eco-dyeing session, as well as photos from a follow-on 2nd dyeing session in a follow-up post.

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.

Start Where You Are

May 6, 2011

"Along The Way" (detail) ©Ayn Hanna 45"x18", Textile painting (discharged whole cloth cotton, cotton batting, cotton thread)

It’s been over a month since my last post, a rather long unplanned blog break.  Huge changes taking place, and I’ve been thinking a lot – about cycles and circles and changes, completion and initiation, deadlines and milestones, and resistance.  So much happening and yet, I’ve had no words, no way to approach blogging about any of it.

Every time I’ve thought about writing a post, I didn’t know where to start.  With too much going on, I’ve been  stymied with trying to find an entry point to talk about it all.  I finally realized I don’t need to cover it all.  And – with credit to Pema Chodron’s words/book – I got up the gumption to just start where I am.

Working on "Along the Way"

So, I’ve been swimming in thought, and working long hours, juggling yet another change in role and manager in my day job (4th one in less than a year now), and cherishing the time I get in my studio, where I have several pieces in progress.  Feeling a need for some resolution/completion (and needing to meet some show deadlines), I’ve finished a couple pieces (Along the Way, detail above, is one of them).

Circles and cycles and change.  No beginnings and endings, rather an unfoldment of new desires.  In this past month, 2 important souls in my life have made their transitions.  A Patriarch and a Matriarch, 99 and 102 years young respectively, both such kind, loving, and wonderful artists, loved and missed by many.  And mostly there is stillness, words seem  so insignificant.

Me at work in the studio, along with some of the works I have in progress.

And so I’ve been working.  April marked my 1 year anniversary for my blog, and my completion of my SHIFT-IT Graphic Coaching Certification.  Major milestones achieved. And now the unfoldment continues, as I launch and align with new desires.  The beauty of this circle of life – there is no end, and we’re never done becoming.


January 19, 2011

"Play Date" ©2010 Ayn Hanna, 10.5"x11", Textile Painting (cotton fabrics mostly hand-dyed by the artist, cotton threads machine and hand stitched)

Up until a few hours ago, I thought my word for the year was going to be BREATHE.  In fact, I have a draft blog post almost completed about why I was choosing that word.

And then it hit me smack in the face during an encounter with a colleague at my day job today, my word for 2011 really needs to be BOUNDARIES.


Because I need to start developing better ones across multiple areas of my life to be able to spend my time and energy on that which truly matters.  And there’s so much attached that’s connected to or an output of having good boundaries.

Developing healthy boundaries, and then honoring them when they are challenged, is not only being adult and professional, it’s acknowledging to myself that I matter.  It’s a confidence builder to set and honor boundaries.

Setting boundaries at my day job (where i’m aghast at times how far some will push across them) can be tough, but oh so necessary.  It also creates conflict (makes others uncomfortable) to go against the status-quo, stand up for oneself, and be the voice of what needs to be said, in a room where there is no air because the elephants are everywhere and no one’s acknowledging them.  But when I stop and think about how NOT having good boundaries here impacts so many of the other important aspects of my life (like time for family, my art, my exercise & health, my stress level), it’s much easier to re-assert myself and re-draw those lines that get trampled so often.

It’s also not just about the day job.  It’s acknowledging that little voice inside, that burn in the gut, each time a boundary gets breached.  The first part of that is awareness, and then being able to respond appropriately (ok, tactfully) in the moment  comes next.  I’m getting better at this, but increasing my focus on this word will help me keep developing this skill.

My ultimate goal for choosing BOUNDARIES as my word for 2011 is to be able to have more FUN, spending more time on the things that really matter to me.  So, it’s not a major shift from my FIERCE JOY focus of 2010, rather an evolution of it.  And during those times of conflict, when I’m having to address a line being crossed, I’m also going to keep my other word, BREATHE, close at hand.

(By the way, the image above is a new textile painting I just made for the SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Association) organization’s traveling trunk show, “This is a Quilt”.  This is to be an exhibition of small pieces that will be used for educational purposes, traveling by request, to help teach about how broad the definition of contemporary quilts can be.  The first place these will be displayed will be at the SAQA annual convention, which will be in Denver this year, May 19-21 at the Brown Palace Hotel.)

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