Monday, October 30, 2006

Fantasy of Silken Enchantment

A Fantasy of Silken Enchantment Hand-dyed Scarves by Crawfordsville Artist Lorraine Swift

Lorraine Swift's interest in all things artistic began well before she can even remember, and eventually led her to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Southern Illinois University, where she specialized in metalsmithing, but also explored carving, sculpture, drawing and painting. Her adventuresome multi-media explorations continue today as she experiments with silk painting, dyeing and several other artistic endeavors. Lately, Lorraine's imagination has been captured by the nuances of hand-dyeing and painting on silk; "a delightful medium to work in," she says, because it is strong, yet light as a butterfly wing, flows smoothly and drapes elegantly with a shimmering brilliance and luxurious inner glow that adds depth and richness to the colored dyes. How did Lorraine's interest in silk evolve? A few years back, while her husband was vacationing in Europe, he was shown a method of silk painting called the "gutta-serti" technique. He instantly recognized that Lorraine
would enjoy this technique, so he bought, and brought home, enough supplies to demonstrate the process to her. It turns out to be one of her favorite techniques in the creation of a painterly piece. The origins of "gutta serti" are somewhat mysterious, but its enormous appeal is certainly not. Gutta serti is a barrier-resist technique employing the use of a rubbery resist (gutta) drawn by hand in a line from a pointy-tipped squeeze bottle onto the surface of silk stretched taut in a frame. The artist uses this line to delineate a shape or space in which she can control dye flow. The technique can be precise and exacting or loose and flowing depending on the intent of the artist. The process is complete when the silk is steam-set for colorfastness, washed and rinsed to remove excess dye and gutta, resulting in a soft and lustrous silk. As with so many artistic endeavors, one technique leads to experimenting with another and another and so on. Through experimentation, Lorraine found another pressure-resist fabric dyeing method involving a precise, complex, convoluted tie-dye method that renders intricate, kaleidoscopic patterns of line, color and shape. "In spite of its complexity," Lorraine says "the pressure-resist" process, can be and is a very spontaneous, exciting method to work with. The term pressure-resist describes the dye barrier - pressure. Clamps, clips, sticks, or any number of things may be utilized to apply this pressure. The fabric is folded or pinched or puckered, then clamped and dyed, resulting in intricate and beautiful patterns. The fiber-reactive dye is set with an alum mordant. After washing the dye and mordant out, the fabric is rinsed and ironed to achieve its original luxurious drape and hand. So, a pastime begun long ago with crayons and paint-by-number pictures, has evolved into an art career for Lorraine working with silk, paints, dyes, resists and a myriad of other pursuits including carving, sun-printing, sewing, and quilting. Lorraine's scarves may be seen in the Display Cases of the Mary Bishop Memorial Art Gallery in the Crawfordsville District Public Library through November and December 2006.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Carnegie regains its steps!

After an absence of more than 30 years, the former Carnegie Library is getting its steps back. The building is being converted to become the Carnegie Museum of Montgomery County. The restoration will bring back much of the original beauty of the building that was constructed in 1902 and served as a library until 2005.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Joy of Painting

The Joy of Painting! Learn to Paint with Richard Murray. To be held the second Saturday of the month from November 11, 2006 to May 12, 2007. Cost. $35.00 for each class. Payable to Richard Murray. List of supplies to be purchased will be at Circulation Desk. Register at Circulation Desk by Thursday before class. For further information contact the library at 362-2242, Extension 2.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Quintessential Quilt Artist Exhibits Art Quilts at CDPL

Linda Gray grew up around her grandmother and aunts in an environment that embraced all types of crafts and artistic endeavors. One of her aunts was an elementary school teacher. She asked Linda to draw a series of posters on insects and flowers for her science class. Her aunt's colleagues were so impressed with her work; they asked if she would produce similar exhibits for them. This was the first external validation of Linda's creativity, and she was off and running. She learned to knit, crochet and use her grandmother's treadle sewing machine. She made doll clothes, table runners and what she then called 'blankets' for her dolls from scraps of fabric. She absolutely loved working with her hands. From 1981 through 1986, Linda lived and worked in Seoul, Korea. At the end of her stay, she asked each of her new friends to make a quilt block that depicted thoughts about their friendship. She gave each person a square of muslin fabric to use for the project and received about 50 blocks back. She sewed them together with sashing and created a quilt top. After returning to the United States, she realized that she had no idea how to complete the quilt. In 1996, (yes, a full ten years later) she took her first quilting class from Dallas Reed, and has been "hooked on quilting" ever since. Her style has evolved over the years, going from rather traditional to very contemporary. She learned that adhering to strict rules was not comfortable for her. The thought of going to "quilter's jail" for not having a perfect quarter inch seam or cutting a piece of fabric to an exact 1/32 of an inch, led her quickly to doing her own thing. She learned to create her own patterns and designs. She has done some fabric dying and fabric painting in the style of Phil Beaver. Linda uses a lot of beads and other embellishments to enhance her projects. Her subject matter changes with her mood, consequently, she has a wide variety of themes. She has a floral series, a jazz series and quite a few abstracts. She loves batiks, African fabrics, Oriental fabrics, Australian fabrics and black and white fabrics. Her most recent workshop was with Hollis Chatelain. In this setting she learned to paint with procion dye powder. The dying, along with threadwork techniques, has become Linda's 'new' favorite passion. In her first attempt at using this dye and threadwork process, Linda's chose a person as her subject. This was probably the most difficult subject matter she could have chosen to paint, but she was very proud of her finished product. As she continues to grow and looks back at the craftsmanship and fabric choices of her first attempts at quilting, she wonders 'What was I thinking'????? Linda has just begun to share her passion with the world. Recently, she was chosen as featured artist at a quilt show sponsored by the Indianapolis Quilt Guild. Several pieces of her work were displayed in the Indianapolis Museum of Art's exhibit in the Cultural Pavilion at Indianapolis Black Expo. From that experience, Linda was chosen to work on the IMA Community quilt, which will be on exhibit at IMA as part of its permanent collection. Linda hopes you will enjoy her work as much as she has enjoyed creating it.