The Wonderful World of Fabric Paintings (2012-2013)
This is my collection of something I call “fabric paintings”. It is my obsession with fabrics, and my love of painting combined into one.
The Beginning of my Fabric Obsession
One Christmas break, I had returned home to Regina. My mother had recently bought a couple quilts from a craft show. I examined them, and fell in-love. They were beautiful. I decided I was going to hand-sew myself a quilt.
I proudly told my grandma my plans to sew a quilt. She told me that it was going to take me years to finish one. In spite, I finished my first quilt in a month. That was the start of my fabric obsession.
I took that in progress quilt everywhere with me. All I wanted to do was work on that quilt (even in my classes where I had other projects).
My First Fabric Painting
At some point, probably during a drunken stupor, I had the idea to add fabric to my paintings. I thought that patterned fabric, and flat paint would look great together!
I had recently discovered steampunk, and wanted to make some pieces based on gears. What better time to also try fabric painting? My background was painted flat with acrylic paint. Then, I cut my fabric gears and hand-sewed them directly onto the canvas. Finally, on top I did some detail painting (the clock hands).
This version of fabric painting is pretty tame, compared to my later works. But, I think that it was a good place to start. It looks cute and easy.
Third Year University:
“Advanced Painting” aka “Fabric Paintings Galore”
From the pieces I made in my second year of university, I was very excited to go back to school and make more in my third year. I signed up for an advanced painting class, where I barely even picked up a paintbrush. Fabric was my obsession.
I had three major projects in this class.
For the first one…. I was a jackass. I enrolled in an advanced painting class, where I refused to paint.
My idea for this project, was have the shape of a canvas showing, but for everything to be made in fabric. I took a used canvas, painted over it with white, then hand-sewed little squares of fabric on it. Then I continued adding more and more fabric, spreading off the canvas and onto the wall.
This project consumed me. I became so obsessed, and this project just took on a life of its own. It started growing and growing, in every direction. It was a monster! Every time I displayed this piece, it took a different shape. It was constantly growing and changing.
I really loved making this Monster. However, I thought that I should pick up a paintbrush while taking an advanced painting class. My marks were beginning to suffer from my smart-ass conceptual painting.
For my second project, I wanted to use different kinds of fabrics with paints. I bought sheer and chiffon fabrics to allow me to play with transparency and layering.
At this time, I had an interest in lace – and stereotypical feminine things. I used both hand-painted and actual lace in this piece.
My original idea, was to build a vanity screen to stretch my fabrics over. Instead, I built two very large stretchers to display side by side. I stained the wood dark to make them more noticeable.
Next, I would layer different fabrics (both painted and not painted) on either side of the transparent fabric. They did not resemble anything in particular. I just wanted them to look nice, and organic.
These Windows really upset one of my classmates. In a critique, she told me that, “they looked like a bunch of dirty clothes piled on the ground.” She did not want or like to look at them. She really did not like messes. Honestly, cheers to her. I physically did cut up some of my shirts (probably dirty) to sew into this project.
Making these windows was a lot of fun for me though. My parents, aunt and grandma helped me decide where to place the shapes, when I brought it home one weekend. That is the magic behind these pieces to me. I think I could have done them better. But, it was a good idea and good start.
For my final pieces, I wanted to push the boundaries of fabric painting even further. This time, I wanted to include texture in my fabric paintings.
I cut up some suede fabric from a couch sample book to add to me pieces. Also, I added thick globs of oil paint into my creations. So now, my fabric paintings consisted of chiffon fabric, sheer fabric, suede fabric, acrylic paint, and oil paint. What a super sexy sounding combination!
These squares had no deeper meaning to them. Very simply, I wanted to make visually appealing abstract fabric paintings.
My After Thoughts on Fabric Paintings
I am really glad that I tried doing something different in university.
I think that these projects increased my love of textiles (which is a HUGE part of my art practice now). But…. I kind of wish that I would have done more painting as well.
Now a days, I do my paintings, and I do my textile pieces – but they are separate.
However, I have been having more ideas how to combine painting and fabrics again. Something with unicorns painted on top of floral patterned fabrics. See! That is something I would have never even dreamed of before. Thanks to this advanced painting class and my experimentation I can do that now.
Also, here’s a fun fact: I completely tore Monster apart. It is now a king size quilt, that I made for my favorite person. It looked too lonely on the wall, it needed cuddles.
Again, thank you for spending some time with me, and my fabric paintings!
As always, Much Love!
xoxox Bexx oxoxo