Wanted: Constructive Critique

Today I am sharing some fabric collages that I’ve been working on lately in hopes to get some responses from my readers.  So if anyone is out there, please have a look and respond with your thoughts with a comment.

The following tells a meandering tale of how it is that I came to make fabric collages, so please bare with me.

It all started when I was accepted to participate in another indie craft fair organized by the Cleveland Craft Coalition.  Though the show is called Spring Showers and has a loose shower theme (think baby and bridal), they also excepted me as an “other” vendor, meaning that although I didn’t fit into those categories they’d let me participate anyway.

I haven’t really found my niche yet, so I’ve been trying to play around with a lot of different materials and mediums, mostly trying to incorporate materials that I already have on hand while trying to come up with a somewhat cohesive collection of products.

Thinking spring, I started crocheting a bunch of brightly colored flowers then added fun buttons and made them into hair clips.

While thinking about how I could display them at a craft fair I came across a small stash of old, wooden picture frames.  I grabbed one of the frames, attached some strips of bedsheet  fabric and vola!  A hair clip display!

I propped the display frame against the window on my work table so that I could look at it and decide what to do next.  The hair clips were fun to make, but at the last CCC craft bazaar a few other vendors where also selling hair clips (all of which were super cute!).  Though mine aren’t like the ones being sold at Bella Dubby last month, I thought it was probably best to focus my attention on making something other than hair accessories.  So, it was back to the drawing board…

Looking at the flower hair clip display gave me an idea though.  I really liked the way they looked with the frame and started to ponder how I could make some visual art incorporating the crochet flowers.

Of course this lead me to pull out all my fabric…

Playing around with materials, I came up with the following four pieces.  All of the following four pieces are intended to be put in frames, though only some of them are photographed that way. Also, keep in mind that I intend that the frames be painted white (something that I need to do on Tuesday when it will be a bit warmer I hope).  The first two pieces are 8″ x 10″ and the other three are 11″ x 14″.  These aren’t the best photos, but they give you an idea of what I’m talking about…

To create these fabric collages I was stitching the layers together both by hand and with my sewing machine. In some parts I was also using some really old (and extremely wrinkled) stitch witchery to adhere some of the layers together, mostly to help with the sewing.

Soon I ran out of the little stitch witchery that I had so I went to Pat Catans to see if I could buy some more. What I found was something that was similar in concept, but this stuff came on a role and had a piece of paper on one side that you peel off so as to adhere one fabric to the other. It was a lot more controlled and precise than what I had been using, but on the packaging (which I had failed to read throughly before buying) said not to use if sewing was needed. Hmmm…

Since I was half way through a design I was working on already, I decided to give it a try. Here’s the result:

Above; moose antlers, 11″ x 14″

Interesting, but not exactly what I had in mind.

The new fabric adhesive product gave me an idea for making smaller projects though.  Up until this point I was limited to how much detail I could get with the fabric pieces.  Make them too small and the pieces would lose their definition if they frayed at all.  This fabric adhesive, however, made my cutting precise and kept the cut fabric looking sharp.  That made me think that it would lend itself to more of a graphic look.  My original idea was to use mat board in conjunction with painting stretchers.  I have several reclaimed modular stretcher segments but the lengths are pretty long.  I wanted to work with a smaller, more intimate scale, at least for now.  I’m much happier with the way these last two came out yesterday.  They are both roughly 5″ x 7″ and mounted on some scrap double thick mat board and remind me of post cards (hmm…this sounds like another idea…).   I like the way that the base fabric wraps around the board, giving a nice, finished look.  I can attach a small piece of hardware to the back for easy hanging; making a frame unnecessary (ironic, since the frames are what lead me to make hangable art in the first place).

Please leave me a comment and tell me what you think about this direction that I’m headed.  That’s one thing I miss the most about being in art school, the  constant access to peers and professors ready and willing to give their opinions about your work.



Filed under Critique

4 responses to “Wanted: Constructive Critique

  1. I love this idea! These pictures are so neat! I love the idea of combining your crafts like this! One idea I had while looking at these is that you could add some dimension by “filling” some of your material on different elements of your pictures with cotton batting, making them more than two dimensional! For example, on your Moose Antlers, if you think about the base that actually holds antler mounts…they’re often some kind of velvet and are stuffed with foam or some other material. Filling the mount with cotton to make it “puff” off the scene could be neat. Or stuffing the bodies of your owls to puff them up some. Anyway, just an idea. Good luck!

    • Tatha, thank you so much for your ideas and suggestions! I do like the idea of making them more 3-d. I’ve been playing around with the idea making high resolution scans of the smaller ones to make them into greeting cards or post cards, so for those I’d probably keep things flat, but I do like the idea of playing with the textures and dimensionality of the larger ones.

  2. Crochet Geek

    I like the patten and colour of the last two pieces but they seem a little flat compared to the rest. My favourites are the crochet owl, blue bird under it and the flowers on hills. they have so much going on – fabric, crochet, beads, buttons, embroidery – they make me want to look closer and closer and study the work that has gone into them. they all look nice but the ones with many different textures and techniques really make me want to own them. The stitching just adds an extra dimension that turns something on in my brain!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s