Recently, I was assigned the task of writing about my artistic influences. I haven’t given my influences much conscious thoughts lately, but let’s give it a try now…
Well, clearly I have admired the SURREALISTS in my teenage years and still do today, particularly Dalì. Then, I also was introduced to ART BRUT by one of my college teachers (who was not an art teacher!). I especially like the pastoral patterns by Wölfli but also the graphic style of Tschirtner. Furthermore, I love BOTANICAL DRAWINGS, for example the scientific ones by Haeckel but also the illustrations by Lore Hummel. Also, I really like allegorical FANTASY PAINTING or photo compositions, especially the ones more on the dark side (not horror, but aesthetically transcribed emotive subjects).
To sum it up, it seems that I prefer art that reflects melancholic momenti.
Stefanie Seiler of Sastekunst is a very creative, openminded and proactive artist and art educator. In her creative lab “Art in open RoomZ” she develops ideas how to showcase art in unusual places and how to inspire passers-by. During the years 2015 to 2018, she time and again posted art calls to participate in creating “Begegnungsstühle” (“meeting chairs”) to be installed all over the Glattpark area in Zurich. Above is my small work submission for this project.
In 2018, she launched the ESA SOS Flag project. On the project’s site, Sherell wrote: <<The Endangered Species Act SOS Flag is a community arts quilt project that started as a reaction to the Trump administration’s attacks on the Endangered Species Act. The idea for a flag came from Kierán Suckling, the executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity. Artists from all over the world came together and contributed. There are 50 stars for 50 states and 50 species on a tattered embattled flag. The quote on the stripes is from Black Elk “One should pay attention to even the smallest crawling creature for these too may have a valuable lesson to teach us.”>>
My contribution to the project is the Colorado Jumping Mouse, a tribute to my sabbatical in Colorado.
Anne Kelly is a well known textile artist and writer of art books. She launched her Travel Tag project in 2018 and asked other textile artists to submit travel tags discussing the subject of migration and what it means to the people concerned. The travel tags were displayed in the Knitting & Stitching Show in London.
My personal challenge project for this year (2019) was: create 50 mandalas on fabric squares 10 x 10 cm. I started off diligently and efficiently in February while I was on skiing vacations with my family. I could not ski due to a foot injury, so I figured I would have plenty of time to embroider.
Turns out that after having my foot fixed, I also lost interest in my mandalas… (maybe creating mandalas is forever linked to hurting in my brain now…) 😉
Now: what to do with 16 mandalas? Too little for a wall hanging or some wearable art or home decor, but also too many to just throw away… So I ended up putting them on cards!
Here is some eye candy (meaning my failed effort of creating 50 mandalas – I still like some though):
When it comes to the sewing machine, I am certainly NOT an advanced user. I can sew straight lines, shorten some curtains or mend jeans – but I am not good with interpreting sewing patterns or creating intricate wearables… I am more of a “try and error” gal. So making a quilt was definitely not on my mind!
But that is what I finally chose to create: a freestyle art quilt. But first of all, while I have been visiting Venice last year, I admired the decorated windows of the houses and took some pictures for inspiration. Back home, I edited the photographs and had them printed on fabric. Then, I began to stitch onto the pictures, emphasizeing elements and adding further items as I went along. After three pictures were worked on, I realised that the heart symbol was a recurring object and thus decided to incorporate it into all window portraits. The heart and other symbols turn the pictures surreal; and each window opens the way to another allegory…
Let me explain the individual works a bit:
“Snake bite” is an allegory of temptation. The heart is tempted and failed to resist. Thus it was bitten by the seducer.
“The catch” is an allegory of possession. The heart is possessed by a hunter, probably someone with power (the bait arsenal).
“Flying the tightrope” is an allegory of frivolity. The heart is ready to take great risks. This mentality can give the mind wings. But it can as well shatter the heart.
“Growing pain” is an allegory of growth and – more universal – evolution. Tiny heart-buds are blooming. The balcony is entered through the window of youth and left through the window of seniority. All development comes with growing pain.
“Aerating” is an allegory of self-care. Not only the outer layers are to be held clean and fresh, also emotions (good AND bad) need to be cared for and not neglected. Only thus can the heart recharge.
“Ying and Yang” is an allegory of opposites and commonalities. Sun and moon, heart and brain – they compete against AND complete each other. They often stand opposite yet still on the same balcony.
“Escape” is an allegory of emotionality. When windows are closed by reasoning, emotion has it’s own life and can still escape the rationality.
“Freed” is an allegory of salvation. The body might be tortured, but the soul is freed.
Back to the process of creating the quilt: After having finished the eight window portraits, I machine sewed fabric scraps losely together for the background of the piece. I then handquilted them properly in Boro style. This took hours, I can tell you! But it is a very calming work and I like doing it. The fabric scraps are all upcycled; I collected them as leftovers from other projects, as pieces of once loved clothing or I was given them by friends. In this particular piece, I wanted to include all the colors of the color wheel to show the rainbow of all possible emotions and situations life holds.
The next step was fixing the window portraits on the background. And then I watched a bunch of Youtube tutorials to learn how to batt and bind a quilt. My result is rather crippled (don’t look at the backside of the quilt…) but at least I could use up some old cloth and random pieces of batting for it! 😉
I am fairly pleased with the final piece; it speaks to me in many ways. I like symbolism and surrealism, and I like the colors, and I think my work transports the messages I wanted it to transport.