The tubing was fun, but I'm whipped.
Continuing the story about Peters Valley...I've done screen printing in the past and, while I like the control it can provide when it's done well, I can't say that I've ever really done it well. For the last year a lot of my work has involved fairly simple cloth manipulation (I can hardly call it shibori), low-water immersion dying/over-dying, followed by discharge and/or paint applied by stamp, stencil, and brush. I've also done some reasonably successful work with thermofax screens.
The stuff that I was doing in Kerr and Rayna's workshop has taken me to a new level, opened a lot of design possibilities, and really loosened me up. Up to now I've worked on large quilt tops that used my hand-dyed cloth, but most of those pieces of cloth were prepared as strips or as full widths of less than 1 yard. Last week in the studio I didn't touch a piece of fabric under a yard. You'd think that much empty white space would be intimidating, but it was actually liberating.
Certainly the screen allows you to deposit dye quickly over a large area, but the object isn't to just gob on dye--or at least usually it's not. What I found though was that when I looked at the screen as a dynamic mark-maker, rather than as an intimidating, technically precise stencil, I embraced a tool that allowed me to work large enough and quickly enough to force my brain into improvisational mode--if there is such a thing. No, I wasn't just grabbing any old scoop of dye paste and throwing it in the screen. I was a little more intentional than that. What I mean is that the ever-changing pattern produced by the deconstructing screen contributed enough texture and life to the finished product to allow me to to focus on color and pattern. You might say that invited or accepted the screen's participation in the process. OK, now look at the name of my BLOG and listen as I ask the essential question, "Does any of this make sense?" I've got a long way to go, but I feel like I've got a good new start.
Here are a couple of samples of pieces from the workshop that might help illustrate the point. I'll post more over the next few days.