Here is my new piece, Garden at Dusk. I chose two dark values of blue/green and indigo for the final colors. I brushed these on in four layers on the open areas of the cloth (i.e. not covered with rice paste resist), drying between each layer. I then added a few accents/shadows using a very dark value of indigo and black pigments.
After about 5 days, the paste was soaked off in water. I wanted to keep this piece simple and high contrast because I think the design works pretty well with just two values–dark and light. The paste crackled a bit and so you can see lines across the surface of the background where the color got through. The pattern you can see around the edges is the pattern woven into the linen (damask).
Back to my original inspiration – The Robins, so inspiring to me this spring, left this nest under our back porch roof after only one bird fledged from their second brood. Three perfectly formed beautiful blue eggs in a home of mud, twigs, grass, and other dried plant material from the garden.
Imagining a “garden at dusk” led me to paint several layers of dusky colors in a very light value on the entire surface of the cloth, using soy milk and natural pigments. I would never have used the vintage white damask formal linen tablecloth for dining purposes. My cloth is long enough for two instances of the stencil, which was created from a full sheet of stencil paper. The finished image will be approximately 16” x 30.” Placing my stencil on the cloth before pasting allows me to see where the background colors fall within the stencil design. Before pasting the design (rice paste through the stencil), the stencil and the bamboo stretching sticks–“shinshi,”–soak in water.
Across the threshold of this new year I found time and space to bring this cloth, long in the making, near completion. Some elements that have long sought a home have found one.
Arranging squares yesterday – pure pleasure – I thought of how the strips and swatches of fabric hold memory in a tactile, visceral, yet gentle form. Maybe that is the allure of cloth for me. There is also a conversation. The cloth talks to me and to my many teachers.
I found some handkerchief weight linen that will make a nice backing for this. Before winter is over I will cover up with it and daydream.