Mary Pal Designs

Element of Surprise - Part 6 (Putting it all Together)

What to use as a substrate?  How about an old vinyl window shade?  It could be mounted on stretcher bars (surprise! another trip to the art store). Paint it a mottled gray to represent the smoke from the hydrogen bomb explosion from whence einsteinium was born.

And on it, mount a piece of packing foam painted with gesso and phosphorescent paint.    

And on it, mount a piece of packing foam painted with gesso and phosphorescent paint.  

 

Could I buy a black light to be used in exhibitions to show the eerie glow? Off to the local Rona to buy a black light.  But no, turns out each gallery has a different lighting system and not all bulbs fit each system.  Surprise! The only person likely to see the eerie glow is the custodian at the gallery at night when everyone has gone home.  Oh well, good try.

With all the bits and pieces completed, it was time to put everything together.  First I appliquéd the sculpted face to the Lutradur (yes, I had to use thread or it might come off at some point! I just don’t trust glue!) I had intended to glue the Lutradur backdrop to the glowing foam, but surprise! it wouldn’t stick!  So I stitched that down, too.  There is just no getting away from the techniques that are tried and true.

Auditioning the face on Lutradur.  Nope.  Needs more black.

Auditioning the face on Lutradur.  Nope.  Needs more black.

The appliqué stage, where the sculpted face is stitched to Lutradur.

The appliqué stage, where the sculpted face is stitched to Lutradur.

From the back of the glowing piece, you can see where the Lutradur is stitched down.

From the back of the glowing piece, you can see where the Lutradur is stitched down.

Audition the lettering and placement of sticks and stones...

Audition the lettering and placement of sticks and stones...

 Done? 

Not quite.  Remember how I hadn’t bothered with gesso when painting the second batch of stones?  Well, acrylic paint flakes right off packing foam.  SURPRISE!

Time to scrape off … prime … and repaint … every...single...stone.

  

CONCLUSION:

 An art quilt is defined by SAQA is

“a creative visual work that is layered and stitched or that references this form of stitched layered structure.”

But this fiber artist knows fibers, how they work, how to make them work for her. So this radical departure from familiar techniques and materials, while an interesting challenge, has confirmed my devotion to the elements I most enjoy in my artmaking and my motto going forward? 

Give me fabric

and let me stitch!

The Radical Elements exhibition will premiere next month at the Cafritz Foundation Arts Center, Silver Spring, Maryland, April 3 - May 9, 2014. Just in time for the SAQA 25th anniversary conference.  After that time, I will be free to display the entire completed piece here for public viewing.