The title/theme for my next piece hit me this afternoon on the way back from the quilt show: Phoenix Rising. It all started at the Voices in Cloth 2012 quilt show, when I stopped to chat with the fine folks at Golden Thread Silks, who specialize in handwoven fabrics from Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. They had approached me a few years back asking if they could use some of my photos in their website, and I thought it would be great to actually meet them (and check out their wares!).
Anyway, I left the booth (full of marvelous fabrics) with this gorgeous piece of iridescent silk organza, handwoven in Cambodia:
The photo more or less totally fails to capture the beautiful iridescence, but maybe this photo, of a blue/purple version of the same organza, will help:
The orange organza is just as iridescent, but harder to photograph!
Anyway, I purchased it “on spec”, with no particular intended purpose – which I had promised myself I wasn’t going to do, but it was just gorgeous. I am a real sucker for flame-colored fabrics, especially iridescent orange/gold ones, and I’d never seen my favorite color combination in organza!
On the way home, I was thinking of what to do with it, and thought it might make marvelous ruffles on a fancy garment. But what would the garment be? Of course it would have to be the many colors of flame, but what would the garment look like?
Then I remembered my favorite T-shirt from my tie-dye and screen printing sessions last month:
and this phoenix design, from another favorite:
and suddenly it hit me: a phoenix rising from the flames of its rebirth: Phoenix Rising.
After that, of course, the ideas came flooding in:
- devore – flame colored handwoven fabric interspersed with gold (or multi-flame colored) machine embroidery thread, with the fabric burned away in places to reveal the metallic gold mesh
- a katazome image of a phoenix, either applied before weaving the fabric or afterwards
- weaving a flame pattern into the fabric
- cross-dyeing the fabric (woven with a cellulose and a protein fiber, dyed in two separate applications) to make the woven pattern appear and disappear where desired
- low-water immersion dyeing (as in the two T-shirt designs above) to give the look of crackling flames
- a flowing gown with the “flames” rising from the bottom
- or, how about a kimono with a giant phoenix rising on the back panel?
Yes, yes, yes! This will work. This is interesting enough, and rife with enough possibilities, to base my next piece on. Given the complexity of what I’m envisioning, this is a project that will take a year or more, so it’s a good thing I’m starting now.
I’m still in the concept stages, though, so meanwhile, I will continue with the surface design experiments. But I may try weaving some ideas with the warp currently on the loom.