September 1, 2011

A New Textile: "Red Bars"

Red Bars, hand dyed wool on linen; 4 pieces, each 6 x 6 inches.

My idea for this quartet came from a photo I took this summer for my painting; a thick bar alongside a curved hose:

I liked the idea of the wide flat form interacting with a narrow curve, so I did a few thumbnails. At first I thought of using strong colors similar to the ones in the photo, but then decided to be a little silly and go with pink as the background color. I chose to make the piece of multiple panels in order to have a rhythm move from one to the next: a flowing line, a staccato bounce of dark shapes. The color of the rectangles was a little difficult: Red Bars started out as Blue Bars, but after I hooked one panel I realized that blue didn't work at all; it look saccharine sweet. So I looked through my piles of dyed fabric remnants to find another color and the grayed red looked perfect to me.

Another decision was how to make the curving line: should it be a color, or something more subtle? I liked the idea of the line being less insistent, hardly there, so...

..what I did was hook the curved line and cut the tops of the loops, which gives the appearance of a line running through a field, like the path of a deer cutting through high grass.

Philip Guston, Untitled (Light Bulb), oil on panel, 12 x 14 inches. (1969-1973)

As I was working on this piece, I kept thinking of Philip Guston, whose paintings, both the abstract and the later great figurative works, included brilliant explorations of the impossible colors red and pink. Blood and flesh=life; and thumbing the nose at "good taste".


  1. I like those lines you cut through. Sculpture.

  2. Like everyting, including the photo and how you got from there to here. "Like a deer running through high grass." Or perhaps one of many animals curving through soft snow.

  3. thanks, Helen. I always feel a bit like I'm doing low relief sculpture when I work on textiles.
    Julie, I think of deer as I see their paths through the grass, many of them weaving through the apple orchard as they come to eat the fallen apples.