Say hello to part of a new fiber art book, which I may actually finish this year:
As I mentioned in this post last year, back in 2009 I was insane enough to decide that, yes, I could make a pop-up book out of fabric.
Most artists make pop-up or fold-out books out of paper, because paper’s qualities are so perfect for thin, intricate, stiff-yet-flexible design elements. Here’s one master at her craft, Ingrid Siliakus, showing what paper does best.
I rarely work with paper (2 books out of over 200, I think). Carved, burned, and painted wood and leather, sure. For thirty years, fiber art sculptures have been one of my enduring art obsessions. For seventeen years, I’ve been turning them into one-of-a-kind book art pieces.
Three-dimensional fiber-fold sculptures are a lot trickier than I’d guessed. There were way too many unsuccessful test runs in cardboard and tape. I had to go back to some old couture seaming techniques to get the right structure. By its nature, cloth has a thicker, softer look than paper, but that can give a richly organic feel, too.
One of the major stalls was creating just the right short poem to summarize the whole work. I managed that last night, in sixteen words. (Short, because I will hand-embroider only so many words before my hands and brain rebel. My lottery daydream isn’t a sportscar, but a programmable embroidery machine.)
‘Neighborhood’ is one fold-out portion of ‘Night Flight’, shown before backing, edging, more beadwork, and the creases steamed and sewed in place. It’s an affectionate, slightly-voyeuristic abstraction of an average American city suburb seen at dusk, from above.
The panel is approx 16.5″ x 9.5″. Materials: dark blue suit-weight cotton twill, with appliques of linen, cotton batik, orange-purple silk, decorative and structural machine seams, and hundreds of glass beads in an orange/blue/iridescent gray colorway.
The final closed dimensions of ‘Night Flight’ will probably be 10″ x 4.5″ x 1.75″ – fairly big, for my work. I’m looking forward to seeing how it turns out.