Note: This is a proposal submitted for the first part of a Printing on Fabric course. Stay tuned for results and further explorations…

Artwork Title: My Autobiographical Pattern

Opening Statement: Isolation and limited access to materials due to pandemic protocols have presented the perfect opportunity to explore sustainability objectives in the practice of making art. Choosing a focus on aesthetic challenges related to reusing and up-cycling old decor items; printing on fabrics introduces additional options to be used in refurbishing furniture and elevating decoration to art works. This period of isolation also allows us to reflect on ourselves and our art practices.

Objectives: For this project I will create printing plates and stencils that can be used on fabrics and paper. The initial swatch of fabric will be use a guerrilla-graffiti approach to make a random pattern of connected and repeating panels that will eventually be used on furniture refurbishing projects. 

Methodology: The hand-printed fabric swatch is material practice that fits into my own art practice and aesthetic vision. My research and planning consists of : 1) Identifying images I’ve seen in past research to explain their connection to this project, 2) understanding the symbolism of my chosen icons and how they relate to my autobiography, 3) understanding the physical qualities and flaws of the materials being used in this process, 4) exploring the tension between qualities and flaws how that adds to my vision, 5) creating hand-made tools to produce my design, and 6) printing a multipurpose swatch of canvas (approximately 150cm x 180cm). 

Significance: The guiding message of this project it to demonstrate the possibilities for using commonplace and discarded materials in novel ways to create personal expressions and interesting art. Borrowing from personal interpretations of certain Pop Art iconography and ubiquitous graphic designs, the outcome becomes a portrait of my artistic practice. It raises questions about the designer and how they combine popular symbolism with a dedication to the beauty of imperfection. It asks the question: “How can the commonplace and discarded be transformed into something meaningful and useful? With this question in mind, I will endeavour to produce swatches of material from reclaimed fabrics and use them to transform various decor items. 

Results: The methodology of exploration and reuse will be extended to future refurbishing projects and help me develop additional tools, options, and solutions for using reclaimed materials in the expression of sustainable art. 

Timeline:

  • Note on my practice: I tend to visualize all I’m going to do. This feels like an ongoing practice in my head that lasts the entire duration of a project. In this case, weeks. I’m not factoring that into my timeline. 
  • Research ideas – 1 hour
  • Make printing table – 1 hour
  • Draw possible panel & stencil designs – 3 hours
  • Photograph & digitally play with possible design patterns – 6 hours
  • Transfer chosen designs to carving / stencilling materials – 1 hour
  • Carve / cut-out printing plates – 2 hours
  • Make printing samples – About 6 hours over several days
  • Print large swatch of pattern (on canvas material or white sheet): approx. 60cm x 180cm – 3 hours
  • Possible prep for final project: make a series of panels on paper to start collage process of final pieces.

Resources / References / Pictures:

Jim Dine’s Hearts – design sketch (1935): https://www.masterworksfineart.com/artists/jim-dine/artwork/hearts/id/w-4112 

Richman-Abdou, K. (2019) “The Surprisingly Heart-Wrenching History of Robert Indiana’s ‘Love’ Sculptures”. Retrieved from https://mymodernmet.com/love-sculpture-robert-indiana/ 

Bamboo Prints: https://www.shutterstock.com/search/bamboo+prints 

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