Piecing Our Story

Piecing Our Story

FAITH_art2Faith Ringgold

Inspired by the “Story Quilts” of Faith Ringgold…I incorporated fabric collages into some classes and programs I  had the privilege of  teaching and leading.

WEB1The idea was to piece together elements of fabric…cloth…to express or depict aspects  of the maker’s life story. To “fabricate’ one’s story…to “cloth” one’s story in visual details…the definition can be rather loose.  Above, my sample expresses something of house and home…a broad theme that could encompass almost anything.

WEB1This fun and evocative piece created by a 17 year old makes beautiful use of aqua-blue wool…at least I think it is wool. As I get many of supplies at a place called “Trash for Teaching” , where companies’ left-overs or overstock is donated to be resold to teachers and others at very low cost,  I am not always sure of their origin. This artist did use paper for the face…extrapolating from a previous lesson on how to draw the face in proper proportion. She is also interested in becoming a make-up professional, so this piece may have played into that ambition and interest as well.

WEB2_2Totally different, but just as evocative is this piece that functions almost like a banner, celebrating the maker’s daughter. Balanced through the elements of color, shape and composition,  the use of the symbols of heart and arrow are  arranged to create the strong center of a radial design which continues and expands the motif of the arrow.  Arrow pointing to directly the heart? Seems like a rather clear story there.

WEB5These brilliantly colored feathers almost appear to emit light against the dark background.  Arranged in a repeating color pattern, the artist is careful to begin and end with pink,  containing the composition within that color horizontally, while flanking it vertically with luminous green, and thus employing the tension of opposites. Pink is a permutation of red, “light” red, (red plus white) which is the compliment, or opposite of green. The color story expresses the human story as a whole.

WEB3Two uses of the heart motif, one created through stitching, and another through the cutting and gluing of material define these two pieces.  Both hearts are tilted to the left, which gives them a dynamic feel of being on movement, and which in turn adds movement to the composition. Above  the deceptively simple composition of white and red on black belies the powerful associations of those colors. Below, warm hues of the  cool color of blue are offset by the soft pinkish-purple (which contains blue) in the center of the color scheme.  The piece is further enlivened by sharp dashes of back in the corners which radiate outwards, and black letters in the center set off by white, another system of opposites.

WEB4The use of the heart shape / symbol, as a central motif, the combination of different kinds of cloth/textile/fabric media, and employment of framing as a compositional device characterize the works above. Bows, pom poms, a scattering of smaller hearts and butterflies, and imaginative color choices are all at play, adding a layer of magic and whimsey to the feelings of hope and longing expressed in these pieces.

Web1AA Mom of two created this piece, which depicts her two children who also attended. Although she came in towards the end of the project, she was able to put together vibrant colors, and strong shapes which speak volumes about her commitment to her family, and tell at least a piece of her story. One strip of patterned ribbon is added which reflects the flowers, and ties the composition together by adding complexity and interest right in the center of the piece. This artist was very specific about which  ribbon she was going to use to achieve this, and with good reason, as the results are stunning.

 

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Material Girl 3: Many Parts Create The Whole

Material Girl 3: Many Parts Create The Whole…FLAG BOOKS!

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The fun and innovative Flag Book  structure can be a powerful  form to express thought, feeling and idea through word and image.

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Within the flag book…there can be a

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We all know that…

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Above are Flag Book front and back covers..with a “found writing” title..which employs  text,  color, the font/typeface, the design, composition, and space between the words for cognitive and emotional impact.

WEBn2A single word or phrase can pack the proverbial punch, when paired with color and placement.

WEBn3Putting together “found” words and phrases can yield unexpected poetry…the poetic power of  Found Writing.

Found Writing can help us define our vision (or one of them…)

WEBoWEBo2and give us a hitherto unknown directive of sorts.  We  find that we can advise ourselves…

WEBo4within the context of numerous ideas.

WEBo9The layering of words, colors, shapes and text

WEBo3creates new meanings,

WEBpand may tell us something important…

WEBp3about something we want,

WEBp2or need

WEBp6to know…

WEBp5or experience…

WEBp1or try….

WEBp7You may find that you make a promise…to yourself…

WEBp8That must be kept.

Something new…has been born.

Wave those flags!!!!

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Material Girl 2: Many Parts Create The Whole

 

Material Girl 2: Many Parts Create The Whole

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Preparing for bookmaking programs at the West Hollywood Library, the Diamond Bar Library, the Fairview Library, and the Montana Avenue Library isn’t just a labor of love…it can be pure joy.

WEbaWEbbThe spread of papers of just the right thickness, ready to be folded into the versatile accordion/concertina spine.

WEbc1Pages are attached to each fold of the spine. More folds = more page possibilities!

WEbe1A rainbow of front and back covers cut to the same height as the spines.

WEbe3Mottled” book pages.

WEbdHigh contrast, and “grey on grey” spine-cover color designs. The effect can be elegant!

WEbgWEbg2The glory of your basic colored construction paper…not just for kids.

WEbfAssorted papers…Japanese patterns, parchment, and ‘plain brown wrapper” card stock. Variety is the spice of life…and bookmaking!

WEbf1Let’s take a closer look at those papers!  Now…what can we do with them?

WEBmFront cover design…

WEBm1Use of paper heart found at “Trash for Teaching” in Los Angeles, on inside front cover.

WEBm2“Fan” page designs! The pages will be attached to each fold of the spine, and will “fan” out when the book is opened by pulling the back and front covers away from each other.  The “fan” book can also be opened ‘traditionally”,by turning the cover, and moving through the pages by turning them consecutively.

WEbiPutting it all together….a family theme.

WEbi1“Doors” and Windows” can be cut in pages and covers, to reveal the unexpected beneath and behind!

WEbj“Fan” pages are attached to the accordion /concertina spine, seen here in a variety of colors.

WEBkWEBk1WEBk2 WEBk3“Heart” openings on the “fan” pages  (“Windows/Doors”) reveal surprises behind and beneath…which can deepen and expand the theme of the book.

WEBl1WEBlCardboard shapes, another treasure found at Trash for Teaching, create a slight three-dimensional (“relief“) effect, and can be used to create visual frames for photos or other treasures added to the book.

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Don’t we all?!!

Material Girl: Many Pieces Create the Whole

Material Girl: Many Pieces Create the Whole

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Preparing for bookmaking programs at the West Hollywood Library, the Fairview Library, and the Montana Avenue Library isn’t just a labor of love…it can be pure joy.

Web_p.Prepping for any kind of teaching can be a wonderfully creative and stimulating experience…but preparing the materials for bookmaking can be especially inspiring: sifting through a plethora of colors and textures, cutting an array of papers and boards into a variety of sizes and shapes, and marveling at just how versatile a ribbon can be!

ribbonWEBFor fellow ribbon-obsessed souls…check out “Michaels” dollar a roll ribbon collection…you may just get lucky! I try to keep it limited to one-three rolls each time I visit.

Web_c.The “accordion” or “concertina” fan-folded book spine  is incredibly useful, integral  and applicable to numerous handmade book structures. Here is a “found” accordion spine…meaning it came to me without me looking for it, in the form a brochure for designer tile!

Web_d.Here we have studio “spine-o-copia”…accordion, stitched…and spiral bound handmade and repurposed book spines, vibrating with creative potential…which is what a studio should do, in my book. (!).

Web_aBlicks Art Materials is one of my “team partners.  I love their West LA store, filled with helpful folk, and beguiling materials.  Above is a colorful collection of acid-free tag boards cut to size, ready to be folded into accordion spines.

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For the fun and innovative “Flag Book ” structure,”flag” pages will be attached in a pattern to each fold of the accordion spine.

Web_n.Front and back book covers  in bright colors, and natural “tan” are cut to the same height as the brightly-hued spine pieces.

Web_k.Also prepared are cover pieces in softer, mottled pastel, grey and cream tones…to appeal to a variety of  color palettes.

Web_i.The result is a  cover color cascade…

Web_h.A gray “tone-on-tone” (gray on gray)  spine and cover sample will help participants understand how the spine is attached to the covers, and what the design options are.

Web_o.The paper cutter is a tool critical for both accuracy (and peace of mind) and avoiding the aching eyes and muscles that can result from  the hand-held cutter and straight-edge method.

Web_m.Flack jack stacks? No…Flag page stacks…the satisfaction of seeing the flag pages cut and ready to go. Don’t they just shimmer with bookish potential?!

Web_l.Various sized flags an be used in one project…the trick is arranging and attaching them in a consistent pattern to the spine, to avoid a flag page traffic jam and collision.

Web_g.View from the drafting table drawer: materials prepped and safely stowed. We don’t want paint splatter on any of them…yet!


Web_e.Material row…UHU glue sticks, hemp cord for sewing, and covered Japanese paper boxes. Tools of the trade for future projects.

Yes…I will answer the question You may not even know You are formulating…

Yes…you do have to love it!!!

I do…do YOU???!!!

Special thanks to Barbara Meltzer, and the Friends of the West Hollywood Library, for their heartfelt support of creative bookmaking programs at the West Hollywood Library!!!