Friday, November 18, 2016

Getting to the Deeper Sense

For me, making art based on a particular place is a long, slow, thoughtful, enjoyable process.  I often bring objects back to the studio to think about and to work with. When I visited the Smitty Creek Watershed in October, I collected plants, along with photographs and notes made while listening to the Paul Smith's College students and faculty about the research going on there. I also do a fair amount of research, exploring related scientific literature and other writings, maps, and images.  
The plants I collected were frozen until I had was ready to begin the work. I decided to make a couple of eco prints with them, a process of wrapping the leaves tightly in fabric or paper and then processing them with heat.
I dipped each leaf in a dilute ferrous sulfate and water solution to deepen the tones of the plant pigments. A few old iron and copper nails were wrapped in the bundles as well, to add some marks representing the human influence on the landscape. The leaves were laid out on two silk panels, then wrapped tightly around pieces of pvc pipe and secured with string.
The silk, metal, and leaf bundles were then simmered in hot water for about two hours to set the leaf pigments and the nail marks on the fabric.
Above is one of the silk panels, now permanently printed with the leaves and nails, as well as with the long linear resist marks made by the string wrapped around the bundles during the heat processing. Below is a detail of the print, showing evidence of spruce, fern, red maple, aspen, and black cherry leaves.
Next, I will add maps, data, photographs, and words. Check back here to see how I do that in my next Deeper Sense post.

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