When I was 13 just 50.5 short years ago, I learned batik from my most favorite art teacher of all time. Mrs. Pond was a Bohemian in every sense of the word. And she allowed an art craving teenager the ability to participate in independent study as part of my junior high school art class credit.
I spent the years since then painting on every surface I could find until the 80s when I found Procion MX dyes and fabric. I was ecstatic.
My first truly mine quilt was made from my hand-dyed fabric in indigo, fuchsia and purple. It was unbelievable. I hand-quilted it and unfortunately used a cotton batting which like to killed my hands. I will always blame that quilt for my need to wear a wrist wrap in order to keep sewing …… no matter …… I sold that quilt to a family in Grosse Pointe for their wall. They had a home with an open two-story foyer and the quilt hung on the second floor balcony visible from the foyer. It looked incredible placed against an all white wall and it was huge – 90 x 90 inches. I went on to dye fabrics for numerous wall quilts, including The Wall seen here which incorporates 3D pockets in the stones. At the gallery showing of this, attendees were encouraged to put prayers into the pockets. The curator removed them each evening and faxed the prayers to Jerusalem where someone took them and placed them in the Wall. It was magical.
I spent many years participating in juried quilt shows, selling my work, explaining to people that no, I can’t make something in colors to match your sofa because I will never finish it …….. I had to get them to understand that my inspiration came from inside, not out.
At one point, every wall in my home was covered with either art or a wall quilt. Now I again have room to hang my work and I have the inspiration to begin again.
For some reason I cannot yet fathom, I do want to work with fabric I create from the blank cloth. I may also incorporate some fabric as I find it if it appeals and suits the application. But creating the cloth is what I am inspired to do. And now comes the hard part.
I have a large home. Thank god. I have one room that is now empty – actually two rooms if I get to the old spinning room and clean out some of the textile junk left over – but one room on the first floor close to the kitchen for necessary water, etc.
I only need a few things to make my studio work for me. A table that’s at least 5′ long, 2′ deep and 35″ high, an indoor outdoor rug of some kind (cheap) to cover the hardwood floor, an electric griddle to melt wax, metal mini loaf pans to put wax/dye mixtures in and of course dyes. I have the dyes.
In the meantime, while I accumulate all the stuff needed for the studio, I will be working in the kitchen, dyeing cloth, using soy wax as a resist, coming up with strange bright colors to convey what I want to convey ……..
I begin again, where I started ……….