Rust meets textiles

Pentecost this year was very creative for me!

I was able to attend a 3-days-workshop at the art studio of Arti Lemon (artbylemon.com) about oxidation processes in painting. Arti is a painting artist specialising in rust, ink, marble flour, bitumen and some more techniques.

In Arti’s workshop, I learned how to initiate and moderate oxidation processes for mixed media art pieces. Iron becomes rust, other metal particles become patina. The shading depends on many factors such as temperature, humidity and – of course – the sort of chemical you apply to the metals.

As I am primarily a textile artist, I was experimenting with fusing textiles and rust.

These are my “results” so far:

rusted5_a
Rusted 1 (2018)
  • wallpaper and vintage lace on mdf board
  • oxidated silver, copper and iron
  • 15 x 15 cm
rusted3_a
Rusted 4 (2018)
  • vintage lace on mdf board
  • oxidated iron, copper
  • hand embroidery
  • 15 x 15 cm
rusted4_a
Rusted 3 (2018)
  • pressed dried physalis petals and cloth stripes on mdf board
  • acrylic paint, oxidated copper, graphite
  • hand embroidery
  • 15 x 15 cm
rusted2_a
Rusted 2 (2018)
  • vintage lace and synthetic gauze on mdf board
  • oxidated capper and silver, acrylic ink and acrylic paint
  • linocut stamp
  • freestyle goldwork
  • 15 x 15 cm

 

rusted1_a
Rusted 5 (2018)
  • background mdf-board: Chinese paper and acrylic paint
  • foreground mdf-board: oxidated iron, acrylic paint and seed pod
  • 20 x 20 cm

Le perle di vetro a lume da Murano

Bead work has a millenia old relationship with textile arts. I remember visiting an exhibition in Zurich a few months ago about the Nasca culture (200 a.c. to 650 p.c.) where I saw beautifully stitched textiles with handmade ceramic beads. –

During my third visit to Venice this spring, I learned more about the famous “perle di vetro a lume da Murano”: the Murano glass beads.

Glass making is an ancient handicraft that originated in the Arabic area in the times of the Ancient Greeks. It is said that the Syrians perfected this craft during the following centuries.

So in the late Middle Ages, glass products were in very high demand in Europe. They were a treasured merchandise good. Clever Venetian craftsmen from the isle of Murano decided to try to follow along and started experimenting with glass making themselves. What started with copying Syrian glass making evolved into an experienced and widely recognized craft over the centuries. And with the downfall of the Osmanian Empire, Murano glass definitely conquered the world trade.

Glass is made of silica sand and salt acid. For color, various mineral acids are added.

colored silica sand
mineral acids and colored glass samples

The famous and also for textile arts and crafts often used Murano glass beads are made of colored glass bars, fused into a thicker bar and finally cut into small pieces that are then further processed and molded.

a bead worker’s bench
glass bars

In the local Museo del Vetro (glass museum), old sample cards of glass beads are on display, such as the two below, fabricated by glass artist G. B. Francini 1820-1861:

I am totally inspired by this beautiful collection! I love the variegation, don’t you too?

All pictures taken by me in Museo del Vetro in Murano.

Upcycled

Whereas a painter buys (or fabricates) a canvas and creates his piece on it, for a textile artist, the canvas is his piece (or at least a part of his piece). This can well be seen as causally determined as canvas is fabric. –

“Waste not, want not!” is a motto often used within the upcycling community. I am not specifically an “upcyclist”, but as a textile artist, re-using fabric, upcycling fibers and re-modelling cloth comes with the job. Of course I also buy new fabric from time to time. But I also like to manipulate spare fabrics I already have or have been gifted.

So I decided to focus an this upcycling theme and create a new series.

tracesofthought1
Traces of thought (2017)

Above is the first piece of this series. It is a “crazy patchwork freestyle quilt” kind of thing, sewn on painted canvas. The background is made of snippets of an older summer dress of mine which I upcycled into a skirt, so there was plenty of spare fabric!

mapofpassions1
Map of passions (2017)

No. 2 of the Upcycled Series is “Map of passions”. It is made of left over fabric of pants that were tailored for a ballett show of my dance class (we performed Cinderella). Dancing is another passion of mine, therefore the title. 😉

proofofwaste1
Proof of waste (2017)

“Proof of waste” entirely made of thread and clothing labels. Some plastic waste and glass beads added for adornment.

 

evidenceofinjuries1
Evidende of injuries (2017)

This is the most elaborate piece of the series. The background is made of left over gauze bandages (some with tea stains), machine sewn together. Then stitching was added. I grouped the stitches and deliberately left some space between them untouched. The gauze symbolizes the body and the stitching cared for injuries on various body parts. The gauze background was then sewn onto a white fabric with “surgical stitches”. The white fabric was sewn and padded and left un-ironed to resemble a used hospital cushion. Finally, I sewed the whole piece on a white canvas.

With “Evidence of injuries”, I was nominated Palm Art Award Nominee 2018.

 

cycleoflife1
Cycle of life (2018)

“Cycle of life” consists of dried leaves my son had collected for me once, silk ribbons and glass beads. This paraphernalia is stitched onto a canvas made of used tea bags, machine sewn together. The stitching style is Sashiko (or Boro if you want).

 

rhythmofdays1
Rhythm of days (2018)

This is the last piece of the Upcycled Series. When I was working on this piece, I also created a few art cards and art patches or brooches to sell at crafts fairs. I wanted to experiment with using patches in a more “artful” way. 😉

The piece is made of old jeans and an old scarf of mine. The colors of the embellishments are contrasting nicely with the subdued colors of the background. It is a delightful piece I think.

Alpine Flowers: pdf patterns Vol. 1

enzian
pattern sample

Dear fellow embroidery enthusiasts, here’s the good news for the new year: I worked through my sketchbooks and decided to share some of my patterns suitable for embroidery beginners.

I am very grateful for all the inspiration, tutorials and patterns one can find online and wanted to share something in return.

So here you go: the first downloadable pdfs in a series of alpine flowers. Created in Switzerland for you! 🙂 You can download the files in my webshop – for the symbolic costs of 5 cents only!