I asked fellow artist Lorie Hancock McCown where she finds her inspiration. Lorie's art is primarily focused on hand stitching and storytelling. The layers of meaning and content stitched together form a story. She explores family dynamics, connections and text. When working in plien air Lorie feels a sense of urgency and it helps her be in the moment of creation. Lorie works with household textile castoffs, paint, gouache (which is opaque water colors), yarn, and thread.
She describes her outdoor creative space as anywhere her easel is or if she is dyeing or working small Lorie is out on her deck. She typically has her camera and sketch book nearby. Lorie believes the cross pollination between her painting and textile work is better when she has some sort of documentation to recall.Similar to other plien air artists Lorie doesn't have a large designated outdoor creative space. As I was snuggled up in my outdoor nook I was curious about how tiny a space was needed to have a productive surface design session. I decided If an artist has room to hang a length of fabric they can re-imagine fabric painting, dyeing and even discharging fabrics! The 3 mediums I chose were bleach, procion dyes and Setacolor fabric paints.
The first order of bushiness is to find a place to hang a clothesline. The discharge technique is designed to remove color from the fabric. We'll use a solution of 50% bleach and 50% water - so be prepared to get messy! Pour the solution into any bottle with a tip that allows you to drip or squeeze the solution onto the fabric. Hang the fabric and begin to drip the solution from top to bottom.
It's up to you to decide how much or how little solution is dripped - what appeals to you?
You can rotate the fabric during the process to come up with different designs! The bleaching process needs to be stopped once you are satisfied with the design otherwise the fabric could degrade over time. I use a product called, Anti-Clor. The fabric is dropped into a mixture of anti-clor and warm water for 15 minutes and then tossed into the washing machine.
The next challenge is to drip dye onto the fabric! Mix procion dye as you would for any low immersion project, (always wear a mask when mixing dyes). Pour the dye into the bottles, hang the damp fabric and get busy dripping. Use any color combination that excites you.The colors will mix and blend freely creating delightful surprises. If you place another piece of fabric under the hanging fabric it will catch the excess dye and give you a bonus piece!
The final technique I tried was pouring fabric paint into the bottles. I began by splattering some paint onto the fabric surface while it was laying flat. My thought was to have some paint on the fabric to get the process started more quickly once it was hung. I also thinned the paint with water to encourage it to run fast and free down the fabric.
The fabric was dry when I started. Next time I would use damp fabric so the paint would move more quickly. I ended up folding the fabric in half and rubbing the two halves together to ensure the whole piece got it's fair share of paint.
The challenge was fun and with each new technique you try your skills grow! I like the idea of using a bottle to alter the surface of the fabric. I'm going to take the concept as a jumping off point. My next adventure will be to keep the fabric on a flat surface and repeat the steps. I'd like to use the same mediums and squirt it onto the fabric haphazardly to see what a "Jackson Pollack" style creates!
Don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a pack of fat quarters for each technique discussed in June, (Ice Cube Painting, Cyanotype & Heliographic Printing, & Rusting Fabric!). The winner will be announced June 30th!
Only one more post before the Working in Plein Air Series is over and The Printed Fabric Bee moves onto our next member's inspirations and techniques for the month of July!
I'd like to thank Lorie Hancock McCown for sharing her thoughts and creative inspiration with us! July 7th Lorie will be part of a SAQA webinar panel speaking about working in a series. Click for more information: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/c235f8eeae30932266858a512be5123a.
To learn more about Lorie's art please click here: www.loriemccown.com