The Flush Project

The Flush Project

Most of you know me as a clothing/surface design artist, which indeed I am. But throughout my working life I have sought fulfillment in other modalities; I did fabric for homes, clothing, explored fiber sculpture. All using and relating to fiber, fabric, color, and composition.

When my 92 year old mother, Elaine Badgley Arnoux, got hit with the inspiration to use toilets as a metaphor for what values might be flushed down with this current administration I got excited.

A couple of things. My mother is a visionary nonstop. And as she ages I keep thinking this might be her last project and wouldn’t that be nice for her to settle happily into her old age. Hah! So, when she talked about his project I thought, well if you can’t lick ‘em-join ‘em.  And also it would give me the chance to be in partnership with other artists (14 others as it turns out), plus my mom, and create something in a format that is completely foreign to me.

So I became the ad hoc secretary and organizer. Working with a group builds character! And the others stepped in to help lead and we are now moving towards completion.

A venue was found, risers are being built, our community is stepping out of the shadows into the light of day to express what angst and outrage we might feel.

Not everyone will agree. Maybe there can be discussions, maybe not. But I am hoping this creative endeavor might provoke change, raise awareness, and maybe even some laughter.

Cutting Linos

Cutting Linos

I had some friends over recently to make and play with silk screens. The daughter of Toni, Tarika, had never printed before. So while Toni and Peter were out making photocopies, I started playing with Diane Ericson son’s foam core and lino material. Which then led me to remember some old “Softoleum” that some kids had messed up and I hadn’t thrown away. I showed Tarika how to cut the lino and she had fun with that.

But later I wanted to play with those old linos. When I should have been making stock I spent the afternoon resuscitating these old linos and in fact using some of the “mistakes” as part of the pattern. The Softoleum is a marvelous product. It is thick and rubbery like a big erase, so very easy to slice. I was even successful with cutting circles. The immediacy of the process made me glow.

I kept printing and printing. Here are some of the results.

The Wheels are Turning

The Wheels are Turning

A deadline always helps! The Mountain View show is coming up-only 16 more days. What that means for me is a lot of production. But what it really means right now is having fun and doing  my process in a different way. A-real-one-of-a-kind-way. It means being moved towards a piece of fabric, seeing an image in my mind that excites me and letting that be my guide.

Some of the journey towards a finished piece starts awhile before. For example, my husband and I went to our lawyer’s office and in the lobby were these paintings. Bold and colorful they were, with wonderful markings. I took pictures and back at my studio enlarged them on my phone to highlight the graphics I loved. Then I did some sketches inspired by them, from which I made screens. The colors I mixed were enlivened by the paintings palette and bold color-blocking.

To change it up, I am using pigment on to top of my painted cloth. Previously, I would silk screen the dye, let it dry and then paint my watery ground on top. What I found happening was the printed image was getting muted and blurred. Granted, I sometimes loved the areas that would bleed. But now, especially with black, I am wanting a crisp black image as the final layer. Or printing with color as in the red dots.

I was moved the other day to print on some indigo; black dots give it a tone on tone feel,  while the white prints give it an interesting contrast. I’ll cut the pieces up for overlays.

It’s all in the details: Oscar de la Renta

It’s all in the details: Oscar de la Renta

My knowledge of Oscar de la Renta stems from the Sunday Chronicle society pages featuring the high society mavens. One in particular sported his designs faithfully with all the ruffles and frills. I was not drawn to pieces, feeling like they might be “matronly”.

My surprise, then, was to view the show at the de Young Museum, where I could see and delight in the detailing and cuts.

The styles also transported me back the heyday of the sixties: Kaftans with major beading! Dr. Zhivago look-a-likes! Pantsuits! All styles that were cutting edge at the time.

And the gowns! The gowns were what gave gravitas to the show: truly elegant and avant guard. From a fiber sculpture perspective, the layering and volume of the fabric was positively 3D, imaginative and playful: taffeta taken to the nines, tucked and ruched to our hearts content. He had a Marie Antoinette thing going, shepardess with under layers…

It is no wonder that the up and coming stars of the film and music industry are interested in dressing up in these elegant, womanly gowns. They are statement pieces. They enhance the female form, offering a new, yet old, fashioned way of being sexy.

Bravo Oscar- we will not forget you!

Style 2016 in Palo Alto/ Mountain View

Style 2016 in Palo Alto/ Mountain View

This year’s Style show went smoothly in spite of the rain. And we were happy about that. Attendance was high, I loved my neighbors. On one side was Slice lab, a couple of guys using a 3-d printer to create jewelry. Fun pieces, some necklaces looking like they were made of tiny bleached bones. And very reasonable prices. I bought one that is ivory colored looking like many rubber bands strung together. Can I just say it’s hard not to buy something from your neighbor?!

On the other side was Old House—Sandra Althouse, making ponchos and dresses from old cashmere sweaters and remnants of knits or velvet. She went on a Paris tour with Marcy Tilton and so we had to send Marcy a picture of us together. I ended up with a graphic black and white dress of unknown fiber content and a wonderful poncho gradating from dark blues to light robins egg blues. She got a terra-cotta scarf! A shout out to her son, Xander, who helped me schlepp my fabulous and very heavy mirror. I couldn’t have done it without him!

The clothes I worked so hard to make were appreciated and purchased by happy women. I am gratified when I have been at my creative edge to have the confirmation that the work is good, will be worn and give pleasure to the wearer and the observer.

And I will say again how wonderful it is to be among my peers, to be energized by what they are making and they by what I am doing. I need, and I think all of us who work in isolation, need a fertile ground to exchange ideas and gossip and love each other up. And eat fine Korean food!! We do need the audience and hopefully we will continue to have one. Thanks to Diane Master for providing the venue!

Making yardage for Catherine Bacon’s art kimonos!

Making yardage for Catherine Bacon’s art kimonos!

I make fabric for Catherine Bacon about twice a year. When I was doing yardage for her a couple of years ago, it became more full-time than I wanted. I liked having a steady paycheck, but I missed out selling at other venues ie: the Santa Fe Weaving Gallery, and at the Acqua hotel sales.

As I do love keeping my hands in many pots and in keeping with how Catherine’s business was changing, when she decided to hire surface artists to make one of a kind yardage for her Art Kimonos, I jumped at the chance.

She sends me old remnants of her double georgette, this time in “butt ugly” colors (her words). I love the challenge of painting them into something beautifully mysterious at the same time using up the old fabric from previous collections.

In the past I have planned the fabric to fit her pattern, motif-wise. This time I painted and screened a design not knowing where the pattern would lay. That was a holdover from the Diane Ericson/ Gwen Spencer way of working at the Taos Design outside the Lines 2015. Very freeing.

I would love to see how they turn out. However, Catherine doesn’t usually document each one. That’s another reminder of the fleeting connection I have to these wonderful pieces.

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