Tools of the Trade
16' x 16"
Rusted and Hand Dyed fabric, paint, acrylic medium, paintstiks
Perhaps advancing age has made me more aware of how much I have taken my hands and their uses for granted. I am feeling them more and more, and not always in a good way! I really do see my hands and eyes as my most important tools- the tools I buy would be useless without them! So I chose my hands as the tool I wanted to portray in my piece.
I also wanted to experiment with something I saw in a recent issue of Quilting Arts, using mixed media materials that I have, but never done much with. And I wanted to find a way to use my rusted material without making me or my sewing machine crazy!
My rusted fabric has always reminded me of the rock art that is so prevalent in the American Southwest. I wanted to create a piece that referenced the art of those ancient peoples without duplicating it.
I used black felt as my base, and fused torn strips of rusted and hand dyed fabric. After a coat of matte gel medium, I stitched, then added paint and torn pieces from a dictionary page. I just continued to add paint, stamps, and fabric strips until I was happy with the look. The last touch was the large image of the hand, which I did with a freezer paper stencil and Shiva paintstiks. I then gave it a last coat of gel medium.
I really debated how to finish the edge. I didn't want to have a hard edge with stitching or binding. I finally figured out how to stitch on a doubled piece of tulle in a greeny-turquoise that works fantastically with the rust tones. It gives the piece the soft shadowy edge I was looking for.
It was a strange experience making this piece. It is so different than my previous work- at times I would look at it and wonder 'Where did this come from?' As I have lived with it hanging on my studio wall, however, I've come to love it and claim it as mine. I will definitely be playing more with mixed media in the future.