Keeping the Faith: Inspired by the Storied Quilts of Faith Ringgold

Keeping the Faith: Inspired by the Storied Quilts of Faith Ringgold

WEB2I recently led elementary school-aged students through a project inspired by the storied artist Faith Ringgold, progenitor of the art of the “Story Quilt

WEB9Students used pieces of “eco-fi” (made of recycled plastic bottles) felt, upon which they built their “story”, using pieces of cloth/fabric/textiles, ribbon, more felt, “pom poms“, feathers, fabric tape and so forth. All materials soft fabric or adornment materials.

WEB7Some young artists glued two to three pieces of felt together, some used a single sheet.

WEB1Students learned about gluing different sorts of materials together. How does one glue down feathers to a surface, while retaining their “feather-like” quality?

WEB3Students worked in close proximity at the cafeteria tables where our class is held, interacting and sharing about their pieces as they went along.

WEB4The color and texture of the materials seemed to affect the makers. The young girl above in the flowered dress put her piece to her cheek a number of times, enjoying its softness.

WEB6This young artist displayed incredible patience, cutting and gluing multitudes of repeating shapes onto the felt, bordering them with fabric tape, and even backing the piece with black felt.

WEB8All of the makers displayed relish and joy in the materials, and unbounded creativity. Whether working abstractly or figuratively, the students shared their stories with shapes, color, texture and imagery!

What a JOY!

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Inspired by Faith and her Storied Quilts

Inspired by Faith and her Storied Quilts

Teaching a class for the C.R.E.S.T. Enrichment program of Santa Monica entitled, “Making Art Inspired By Great Artists” allows for many exciting possibilities.

The artist Faith Ringgold is a natural for children, as she has written and illustrated for them herself. She created a unique “hybrid” art form she calls the “Story Quilt”, which combines quilting and painting, with a focus on cloth.

WEBjStudents aged 5-9 worked with pre-cut pieces of Eco-fi “felt (made from recycled plastic bottles), and developed their scenes or stories by adding cloth,pom poms, ribbon, leather, textiles, feathers and fabric tape.

WEBiMany of the students chose to glue pieces of the felt together, to create larger works.

WEBdAlthough some look abstract, each holds a story that expresses aspects of the maker’s experience. The piece above holds an ice cream cone, and later pizza was added!

WEBbWhen I asked the talented young artist why she put a dollar sign on the piece above, she shrugged and said simply, “I don’t know.” Somewhere in there, is a story!

WEBaThis young artist kept putting her piece up to her cheek, enjoying its tactile softness.  She said it depicted a “state”.  Did she mean flag?

WEBfWEBgWEBe1It was fascinating to see how several students used pieces of the same textile or cloth.

WEBhThe piece above is actually backed in black felt, and the six-year-old artist framed it with a border , hallmarks of Ringgold’s “Story Quilts”. This first grader’s old’s patience in piecing together all of the felt rectangles, (which she also cut out), is stunning, as is the finished piece!

As all of the “Story Quilts” are.  Inspired, and inspiring!

Books: unZIPPED

Books: unZIPPED

It can be fascinating, fun…and sometimes startling  to add elements to books that compel, or at least encourage engagement by giving the viewer, or, “handler”, (peruser?)  something to do. Books by their nature are most often opened and closed…but in what other ways can they move, or be moved?

WEB4WEB5This humble structure is informed by the Japanese concept of “Wabi-sabi“, an aesthetic of imperfection, impermanence, and even incompleteness. Repurposed cloth is sewn to thin, repurposed cardboard with jute cord, with other strips glued on inside. Repurposed paper passed to me by a colleague is sewn with jute to the cardboard spine in a single signature with a five-hole pamphlet stitch, to create the pages.

WEBcWEBhWEBnInspired by the cheesecake box from which it’s covers and spine are made, this piece was covered first in hand-me-down newsprint strips, then repurposed muslin fragments, then appliquéd (in the strict sense of the term) with repurposed lace and a zipper. It’s pages are five single folded sheet signatures, or bifolium , sewn to the spine with unwaxed linen thread.

WEB2WEB1This multiple signature (technically “section“) book is made from repurposed cardboard, acid-free drawing paper, hemp cord, a zipper, and Eco-fi felt. The signatures technically bifolium, are sewn onto a strip of the “felt”, which is then centered and glued over the spine. The book is covered, or “wrapped” in Eco-fi felt, which is used to decorative effect, and gives it a “cozy” feel. The zipper is glued to the spine.

web1web3This book is constructed in the same way as the one above, except that the pages are created from a  single signature, and three zippers are applied, making sound effects when engaged.

Participation encouraged. Books are made to interact with.

That Ribbon of…3

That Ribbon of…3

It is fascinating to explore ways of integrating ribbon and tying mechanisms into book structures. An integrated tie mechanism encourages the user to engage with the object…opening and closing, tying and untying.

WEB4In an ongoing process of attempting to meld bookmaking, decorative painting, conceptual, and “fine” art into the mysterious form of the “artist’s book“, I am exploring the use of tissue paper and the like combined with adhesives to create a textured, tactile surface, and incorporating the ribbon or tie as an integral part of the piece.

WEBaSimple cardboard is covered with crinkled tissue once used to separate sheets of metallic leaf. This tissue, for lack of a better term, is thin, fine, ultra flexible, crushable, porous, adherable and absorbent. Perfect for texturing, and when combined with adhesive, becomes almost like a glue itself. The textured surface can create a compelling, intriguing, and in some instances, incredibly satisfying object to gaze upon, to touch, to hold, and to use.

WEB1Here the actual packing of the metallic leaf become folded book pages, each one unfolded, then refolded into a signature, (technically a “section”).  These signatures are then sewn together with hemp cord using  the pamphlet stitch  to create a “multi-signature” binding.  Half of the first and last pages are then glued to the inside of the front and back covers so that the pages unfold.

WEB2Thus each folded page opens up into four two-sided sections. many possibilities here…both for developing the book by adding content to the pages, and for user engagement with the pages…unfolding and folding them.

WEB3The pages can become sculptural and create different shapes. One of the magical things about the form of “the book”, is that it can be nearly flat or two-dimensional, or three-dimensional. Books are transformational…in many ways.

WEB5The exposed points of contact where the signatures are sewn together become the spine of the book.

WEB6Eventually, I integrated this brilliant orange ribbon into the design of the book. it adds a bit of shimmer, dimension, and contrasting texture, and a tone-on-tone quality that I find irresistible.

I will have to get some images of the finished piece. It is fun to play with, opening and closing the book,  folding and unfolding the pages, seeing how many shapes can be created. The user has to engage with this book, if they don’t want to miss out!

 

 

 

 

That Ribbon of…2

That Ribbon of…2WEB1It is fascinating to explore ways of integrating ribbon and tying mechanisms into book structures. An integrated tie mechanism encourages the user to engage with the object…opening and closing, tying and untying.

WEB4In an ongoing process of attempting to meld bookmaking, decorative painting, conceptual, and “fine” art into the mysterious form of the “artist’s book“, I am exploring the use of tissue paper and the like combined with adhesives to create a textured, tactile surface, and incorporating the ribbon or tie as an integral part of the piece. Simple cardboard is covered with crinkled tissue once used to separate sheets of metallic leaf.

WEBa This tissue, for lack of a better term, is thin, fine, ultra flexible, crushable, porous, adherable and absorbent. Perfect for texturing, and when combined with adhesive, becomes almost like a glue itself.

WEB5The textured surface combined with the ribbon or tie, can create a compelling, intriguing, and in some instances, incredibly satisfying object to gaze upon, to touch, to hold, and to use. Here the brown gauze ribbon and found object sewn to the front cover complete the piece.

WEB6The ribbon is slipped under the signature stitches, and one of a line of stitches keeping the strip of cloth (in this case brown felt) to which the signatures are sewn, in place.

WEB7 The polka-dotted ribbon adds an element of pattern and lightness and creates a striped effect when laid down next to the brown felt.

WEB9WEB8WEB90Oranges and browns are set off by the brilliant, saturated colors of the pages.

WEB2  The ribbon add sensuality and languidness, and has a life of its own. Depending on how it lays, the completed book can look demure, like an attentive, obedient student,

WEB3  or, even like a Buddha.

 We have to turn each page…in turn…if we don’t want to miss the in-between. Which might be the most interesting part of the story…

T.B.C.

That Ribbon of…1

That Ribbon of…1

WEBa

It is fascinating to explore ways of integrating ribbon and tying mechanisms into book structures. An integrated tie mechanism encourages the user to engage with the object…opening and closing, tying and untying.

WEBb

In an ongoing process of attempting to meld bookmaking, decorative painting, conceptual, and “fine” art into the mysterious form known as the “artist’s book“, I am exploring the use of tissue paper and the like combined with adhesives to create a tactile, textured surface, and incorporating the ribbon or tie as an integral part of the piece.

WEBc

The textured surface combined with the ribbon or tie, can create a compelling, intriguing, and , incredibly satisfying object to gaze upon, to touch, to hold, and to use.

WEBdHere simple cardboard is covered with crinkled tissue once used to separate sheets of metallic leaf.

WEBaThis tissue, for lack of a better term, is thin, fine, ultra flexible, crushable, porous, adherable and absorbent. Perfect for texturing, which, when combined with adhesive, becomes almost like a glue itself.

WEBeHere, one ribbon defines the spine of the structure, while another is embedded between layers of tissue and glue, with tieable ends emerging.

WEBfHere gold cord is sandwiched between layers of adhesive-saturated tissue, connecting the two covers and creating a built-in tying mechanism.

WEBgThe thin tissue takes on the shape of the cord underneath it, creating a sculptural relief  or raised effect.

WEBjjpgA similar technique was used for this piece, with the ribbon is adhered to the surface, creating a strong graphic element.

WEBijpgEnds are left loose to tie the book closed.

WEBhWhat will go inside?

One step at a time.  We have to turn each page…in turn…if we don’t want to miss the in-between.

Which might be the most interesting part of the story…

T.B.C.