16 Feb

I’m in a fallow period now, just humming under my breath, wondering and wandering, finding the next work to do. The “success” of the “failed” ecoprint made beautiful has me rethinking some of my own methods, and wanting to return to past possibilities in design. I have ( like you probably do too if you’ve been “textiling” for years) piles of notebooks with things that never gelled. Sometimes it was a lack of confidence, oft-times for me it was the wrong skill set or one not learned yet. And sometimes too many things got in the mix and muddied things up!!! I’m going to look upon this opportunity as a collaboration with my younger, less skilled but more enthusiastic self  and me now, the old cynical hand.🙂

One of the FAN shows slated for this year has a collaborative approach: we are paired, agree upon a subject, then one artist does representational and the other an abstraction of the same subject. Since no one in the group really “knows” me, Marianne Parsons agreed to be my other for this project, brave soul! Her representational work is wonderful, and she has a more experimental view as well in terms of fabric use and technique, so it could work🙂

We went through a long list of subjects and finally settled on “milkweed”. Our only rules are size (18×45″) and that elements of the representational piece: colour, line, and/or design are “repeated” in some sense in the abstracted one. While the flowers of the milkweed (asclepias) are gorgeous, both of us are more interested in the pods: with their wonderful shapes, burstingness and the fluff explosion of seeds, they are a natural for design explorations.

There actually are ideas in my old sketch/workbooks that can be used for this–jottings of technique ideas, colour use and specific design elements. Paring down my library made me look through some of them and be reminded “Hey i can do this! I made notes!”

And the venue? The La Conner Quilt and Textile Museum in La Conner, Washington!


15 responses to “collaborating

  1. Sharron Begg

    February 16, 2013 at 10:21 am

    Lol … I, too, have been looking over some old workshop notes and wonder why I didn’t proceed with the techniques … too busy for one thing ! …getting too set in my ways ?! … mostly, at the time, concentrating on developing my own style, I think. But there is some exciting work back there that could be up-dated for sure and brought into this century.
    Hey, congrats on the collaborative and new show !!!! Love the theme !


    • arlee

      February 16, 2013 at 4:13 pm

      I shudder at some of my old work, sketch and finished alike, and others are “WHOA! That’s awesome”🙂


  2. Leia Scotton

    February 16, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    I spent a lot of time thinking about milkweek last summer: it really is a jewel among weeds🙂. I want to try using the fluff in wet felting one of these days, it seems like the two textures would be interesting mixed together. Also, in Machias, ME (part of my adolescent stomping grounds) there is a little known historical museum called the Burnham Tavern. It’s set up like a house from the 1700s. One of the articles of clothing they have there is a little jacket of sorts with what looks at first glance like white fur sewn around the collar, but it’s actually milkweed fluff! Think of how careful that seamstress must have been, can you imagine! I look forward to seeing what you come up with. Have fun!


    • arlee

      February 16, 2013 at 4:14 pm

      Oh’ i’d love to see that! I’ve wondered too if papermakers use it ever–just such beautiful stuff, like silk filaments


      • arlee

        February 16, 2013 at 4:15 pm

        which reminds me, i actually have some in a bag somewhere that was sent by a friend in Ontario..must dig it out now and see if i can incorporate it in this piece!


      • marginmirror

        February 16, 2013 at 6:41 pm

        I think I’ve seen milkweed — or at least, musings about it — over on Velma Bolyard’s site. She’s a paper-maker, does shifu…


        • arlee

          February 17, 2013 at 8:06 am

          ooo, i did check out her site–and there are milkweed papers–lovely! When Eveline and Romy showed us theirs at the SDA meeting, i wanted to ask them if they had used any. It’s not as prevalent here though as in the East. I know it grows around Lethbridge, and i have my eye on one patch near the railyards.


  3. marginmirror

    February 16, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    P.S. La Conner, eh? Big time! 🙂 Bravo!


  4. Mo Crow

    February 17, 2013 at 11:33 am

    the monarch butterflies need milkweed to feed their caterpillars… am reading an amazing book called Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver about climate change, belief systems, human foibles, monarch butterflies and milkweed (I know you’re getting rid of books but I got it out of the local library)


    • arlee

      February 17, 2013 at 5:19 pm

      they have the most gorgeous chrysalis–green and gold with little bumps of what look like pure gold–Mother Nature is amazing


      • Mo Crow

        February 20, 2013 at 11:12 am

        I can imagine you doing a brilliant abstracted monarch chrysalis for this piece looking at your 3D work in the past!
        NB Just finished & sadly can’t recommend the reading of Flight Behaviour after all… it reminds me of Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood… the well known authors of the world are using their clout to preach about our dire responsibilities concerning the effects of global warming unfortunately leaving us with flat 2 dimensional characters to carry their messages into the world… a worthy cause indeed but not at the expense of well wrought characters and dialogue!


  5. freestyle3

    February 17, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    I have to confess to knowing zero about milkweed (I will do a google in a minute) but it sounds a bit like our dandelions. Congratulations on La Conner, even I have heard of that so I figure it is pretty prestigious. Good for you, especially right now, it’s a great public affirmation of your talent.


  6. freestyle3

    February 17, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    OK, I just checked out the milkweed courtesy of google, and it is nothing at all like dandelions. But, it is a lot like budleia or butterfly bush. Does anyone know whether there is any connection or not? It is very pretty.


    • arlee

      February 17, 2013 at 10:34 pm

      Buddleia is known as butterfly bush and milkweed as butterfly weed, but they aren’t related


  7. MA

    February 19, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    Washington? Oooooh – perhaps a trip might be in the offing???


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