After a long vacation, I am ready to get back into my studio and have some fun. I love to go away and recharge my ‘creative batteries’ but I must say it is nice to come home and get back into the studio. I have a few of my 3D pieces in a show at Fiberworks at present. It is called ‘Beyond the Basics’ and here is the write up from the Fiberworks gallery webpage;

Beyond the Basics

Celebrating the 10th anniversary of FibreWorks Studio & Gallery in Pender Harbour, BC, Canada, 2017 provides the opportunity to showcase special events highlighting the excellence of the fibre artists who have exhibited, taught and attended workshops at FibreWorks.

One of these special events is “Beyond The Basics” – a juried exhibition of basketry, inspired by the teachings of renowned basketry artist, Jackie Abrams of Vermont. (www.jackieabrams.com). In addition to the accepted submissions, the exhibition will feature some of Jackie’s fabulous work.

Artists from Canada, United States of America and Australia have submitted their art, showcasing the influence of Jackie’s teachings.

Join us in congratulating Jackie at the opening reception of Beyond the Basics: Jackie Abrams & Friends – Saturday, June 17, 2 to 4 p.m.
The exhibition continues through to Sunday, July 23

Please check the workshops – Collect & Connect and Bias Plaited Baskets that are offered during Jackie’s time at FibreWorks in 2017.

Jackie Abrams has been a basketmaker since 1975, when she first apprenticed to an 81-year-old traditional white ash basketmaker. Since 1990, she has been exploring plaiting techniques, the use of heavy cotton paper as a material, and the possibilities of contemporary basketry. She exhibits her work at shows, galleries and museums, has been included in numerous books, and teaches throughout the US, Australia, and Canada.

Current Exhibition at Fiberworks

Finding your own voice……..

In search of my style……..

Oh what a tangled web we weave!

I have not been idle during this long absence . In fact I have had several shows…………some of which were very successful in regards to sales. However I have been struggling with that same old question again!

Is this my true voice?

I have a few people I can call upon when times like these strike me. They are honest and sincere and know me and my art well.

Here’s the problem……………as you know, textile work is slow and time demanding…..so being ready to respond to CFE’s is quite the challenge. Either you have something already completed that fits perfectly into the exhibition’s narrative or you have to ‘scramble’ to produce something in the timeline to enter the call. This latter scenario often leads to one entering work that isn’t really true to your inner voice or even up to your standards.

I keep telling myself to not let this happen and to work ahead with nothing in mind than to enjoy what I am creating. But I am still struggling with this and (I feel) still not creating what is truly in my soul.

So I took this last year to search my inner self and question what it is that I love to do………..what really excites me……….what would I do if I had a solo show in which I could choose my subject matter and not have to adhere to a narrative set by a gallery. What techniques would I use? Would I still be focused in textiles? I have found ‘some’ answers and have been creating some very different work for me, although my ‘style’ is still visible through it all. It is a slow process but a very rewarding one. I’m not ready to expose my efforts to the world yet………..still working out the details……….but I am excited to be on this path to my inner voice.

I am interested to know if others have these struggles and do they ever get resolved?………..I would love to hear what others are struggling with……

Almost done…..

So after distressing the front, I decided that I had lost a lot of the relief that the mosaic quilting stitching had produced……so I lightly brushed over a dull antique gold textile paint.

Then to give more of the narrative of ‘Women’s Work ‘ I added houses and home and children along with words alluding to the work of women in history.

The Flip Side

A contrast to the front this is light and bejeweled to depict the Empress and her attendants and show their privileged lives….being the recipients of the clothing sewn for them by the women on the other side of the piece ……..

I added gold/bronze/copper foils overall to give it some sense of richness. And hand stitching to the figures.

Onto the front of my piece

So I promised to share the process once I started on the front of my “Women’s Work” piece.

This was a start with white textile paint rolled over the mosaic quilted pattern.

I sat with it for a whole day, in a quandary about it.

Then I decided it was not what I wanted.

It looked too clean and new.

I wanted it aged and worn looking,

So yesterday after doing some trials on my practice piece I aged and distressed it.

I am much happier with this and now I want to add text to tell the narrative……

Working into the back of my piece…..

Well here is my Artists Statement for the exhibition “Women’s Work”

Which will be in September.

Artists Statement

Anni Hunt

I was honoured and enchanted to be asked to participate in this exhibition, by invitation from the Italian Cultural Centre in Vancouver.

I was, and still am, delighted to have been given the image of Empress Theodora. I visited Istanbul in 2013 and became acquainted with Theodora and learned many intriguing details about womenʼs lives in the Byzantine era.

As a result of this personal experience and connection, I felt implored to translate the image of Empress Theodora almost verbatim; elaborating on the mosaic tiles depicting Theodora and her attendants.

In addition to a translation of the mosaic, I chose to embellish Theodora as a moderately inconspicuous illustration of the female figure; an all-inclusive representation of women and our contributions to society.

As I was stitching the recurring tile pattern and the female forms, I realized that my piece could be fully reversible, and by extension, represent more than just one “side” of the story. I wanted to illustrate the range of expression and adaptability of women, in both ancient and modern times.

My process involved an initial design draft on watercolour paper, whereby I was able to iterate further and get a feel for the mosaic interpretation, and the “quilt- like” background you see in my finished artwork. I was determined to make marks that represented tools that women of the Byzantine era included in their works, such as spindle whorls, looms, needles and sewing tools.

So I have had much fun over the past week, painting into the textured surface of the back of the quilt . A blank canvas to create something completely opposite to the other side.

I have used Dynaflow dyes and textile paint, printing inks and shiva sticks. Now to add stitch to the female figures and buttons and beads to the overall surface.

Will post the reverse side once I start on it later today.

As you will soon see one side represents the rich lifestyle of Empress Theodora and the other side will depict the more mundane life of the average woman then and now.

Work in progress for an upcoming show

I have been working on a piece for the “Womens Work” show I mentioned earlier this year.

The image I have been given for my inspiration is of Empress Theodora who ruled with Emporer Justinian in 500 BC during the Byzantine era. This is the only image of her and it is a mosaic situated in Ravenna.

Empress_Theodora

I have been working my design first with pastels on watercolour paper.

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…and then loosely weaving strips of torn fabrics together and quilting this background to give me a mosaic efffect .

(1)I have then been painting back into my design with textile paints/shiva sticks/oil pastels to give my piece an antiqued look. Below is the sample piece I created to audition the paint techniques …………………

3Gosh……….so many choices for colour and texture……..which one do I choose?

And the back is a blank canvas to do another colour scheme altogether.

(3)

Will post more images once I make some decisions about the front and back!………..