Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday Inspiration - Complex Cloth

What is complex cloth?  A few different things.  Complex cloth is layering different methods of fabric design in a way that gives you a beautiful, complex design with depth, texture, and interest.  While it can be broken down into the separate techniques used, it becomes bigger than the sum of its parts.  Complex cloth can be a piece of art that stands on its own or the material for another piece of art - art quilts, wearable art clothing, books, .....

The processes used are often simple in themselves - putting dye on, taking dye off, printing, stamping, stenciling, resists, painting, and often cutting apart and reconstructing.  Somehow all these simple processes used together give amazing results, much as collage processes can.

Joy Lavrencik, Testing Again

There are many good examples on different fabric artists' websites.  Joy Lavrencik created Testing Again on cotton by dying, overdying, discharging, printing, and painting in multiple layers.  The Art Cloth Network has more wonderful examples of her work.

Marie-Therese Wisnioski, Cultural Graffiti VI

Australian artist Marie-Therese Wisnioski has an in depth website showing many of her techniques and chronicling the many classes she teaches.  In creating Cultural Graffiti VI, she used disperse dyes, pigments, transfer techniques and silkscreening on satin.

Complex Cloth is also the name of a book by fabric artist Jane Dunnewold that, with her most recent book, Art Cloth, instructs in fabric surface design techniques.  Jane is an avid supporter of complex art cloth who regularly exhibits and blogs (here) about it.

Her Art Cloth Challenge blog is a fascinating record of how 12 different fabric artists were sent a basically identical piece of cloth and created 12 completely different pieces of complex cloth from it.

And here is a piece of complex cloth by Jane. 

I've been surface designing fabric for years and have sometimes done a little bit with layering two and sometimes three techniques, but in limited ways.  Now I've decided to try complex cloth and see what I can come up with!  Monday, I'll show you how I added my first layer to the cloths I'm working on.  I have no idea how these will turn out, so I'm going to work on several at the same time in the hopes I'll get at least one that I love!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

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