Saturday, November 22, 2014

Adventures in Thread-Painting

Ever since I took a course in the art of thread painting at Snow Farm, a Massachusetts art center, on Columbus Day weekend 2014, I've been eager to try out my newly-acquired, and still raw, skill.

I decided to use it on my fabric image of these hands, an amazing photo that came my way that same Columbus Day weekend when each of the teachers at Snow Farm presented a slide show demonstrating her work and its development.  The basketry teacher, Jackie Abrams, showed this image of her hands teaching basketry in Namibia.  Jackie's daughter Dani, who was serving there in the Peace Corps at that time, took the photo.  I knew this stunning image would be perfect for an upcoming quilt show to be presented by the Connecticut Fiber Arts Collective, of my quilting groups, at the Hartford Public Library.  The show will take civil rights as one of its themes.  I asked Jackie, and through her, Dani, for permission to use it, and gratefully received that permission.

I set out to reproduce these hands in a collage quilt style taught by quilt artist Susan Carlson

After one false start, this was the result of my efforts.  Once the hands were put together, I intended to thread paint the images because I had just learned the skill, and because I thought that the thread-painting might highlight the lights and darks and thus enhance dimensionality..

Here are some before and after images.

Have I done this image any favors by adding the thread painting?  In some cases it eases the transition between pieces of different colors.  In others, it accentuates shadows or highlights. It certainly enhances the dark outlines where the fingers come together.

Has the thread painting enhanced this one?  I admit my photo isn't the best. but at least you can see how I tried to enhance the shadow on the lower right part of the hand.  What did it add?

Did I do this one any favors by covering up those batiks with thread painting?  I wanted to enhance the darkness of the skin. 

This hand, I can say, was enhanced by the thread painting, because it enabled me to show the wrinkles in the skin:

This shows all four hands, after thread painting. 

The thread painting is done, and I'm not proposing to pull it out.  But I'm not sure of its effectiveness in all cases.

Next: what kind of background?

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