Sunday, 13 May 2007
Postcard from the Heartland 3/14 6in x 4in
I was talking to Carol today about these pieces, so I decided to share them here. They are quite old now, as I made them in 2005. The postcard above was for a swap with friends, so I used it to try out ideas for the Up Over Down Under piece. Up Over Down Under was a joint exhibition between ATASDA and the Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh. The remit was to make a textile art piece that was no bigger than 12in x 12in (x 12in deep). One Square Foot of Heartland didn't make the cut for Pittsburgh, but was shown here in Australia in the Overflow exhibition. It was inspired by photos I took in the background of my parents' house in Broken Hill, during my dad's last illness.
One Square Foot of Heartland 12in x 12in
They are both really hard to photograph because the organza overlay reflects the light. I painted fusible webbing with acrylic paints in the vivid orange-brown that is typical of the red soil country. I adhered it to a cotton background fabric that had some texture and shading, which appeared in places through the fusible webbing. I added the rocks in cotton fabric, and gently adhered a layer of organza over the top. I stitched the rocks very heavily, often using two top threads of different colours to get the speckled effects on some rocks. Then I burnt and cut back the organza over the rocks and in some other places with a soldering iron, which bonded some parts and left others free. I frayed the cut organza edges, to give the effect of fine grass in between the rocks. Finally, for the UODU piece, I constructed small plants like the ones in my photos. This was what interested me originally - the contrast of these tiny vivid green plants against the orange of the soil. They were stitched freehand onto Romeo, which was then washed away, and attached by hand stitching to the background.
When I look at these pieces now, I can see obvious problems with composition. But One Square Foot of Heartland was the first art piece I ever made specifically for an exhibition, and of course it's important to me because of the personal history attached too.