The title/theme for my next piece hit me this afternoon on the way back from the quilt show: Phoenix Rising. Â It all started at the Voices in Cloth 2012 Â quilt show,Â when I stopped to chat with the fine folks at Golden Thread Silks, who specialize in handwoven fabrics from Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Â 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. Â 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. Â But what would the garment be? Â 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! Â This will work. Â This is interesting enough, and rife with enough possibilities, to base my next piece on. Â 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. Â But I may try weaving some ideas with the warp currently on the loom.