Saturday, August 22, 2009

Ugly is in the Eye of the Beholder

At my last art quilt group meeting, we tried out Pentel dye sticks on freezer paper and transferred it to muslin by burnishing with a utensil of choice. I was aiming for a cave art style and reproduced it a second time by recovering the original after the first transfer. The top of the photo is the freezer paper version I drew and beneath it is the transfer. One member of the group had asked us to bring an ugly fabric which we are to transform for the better. Mine is the grey one. Of course, some people's 'uglies' were attractive to me. This is proving to be interesting - I've been thinking about how to mute ugliness in general - covering it up, amplifying beauty near by, altering in some way - or - exploring and potentially changing my perceptions. I wanted to try things new to me, so I went with a more traditional approach (measuring and quarter inch seams) - first choosing the Japanese yellow, grey and white fabric because I like it, then adding lighter and darker values for contrast, cutting all into 4 inch squares, then cutting further and repiecing. I still find that grey fabric terribly ugly, but it's at least muted by the addition of other fabrics and a decrease in size. When I was recently buying supplies for an upcoming class on making placemats that my quilt guild is offering, I started by trying to match a tablecloth that I have, and was successful in finding a potential border, base and backing. But the more I looked at them, imagining working with them, the more my energy dropped and I knew I had to instead choose fabrics that I love, so I did. When I brought them home, I saw they match a different tablecloth that I have, so that is a bonus. I've also found new storage space for my silks by combining the contents of two drawers into one.

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