Draped, hand dyed wool on linen, 12 1/2 x 9 inches.
A couple of months ago I had a powerful visual experience upon opening my eyes after my brief meditation practice, which I describe in this blog post. I felt as though I was seeing clearly, deeply, and tenderly, and what my eye fell on was my terry cloth bathrobe. I did some thumbnail sketches of it and put them away in my folder of textile ideas; they came out last week. Most of my body of textiles uses flat shapes in homage to the tradition of reductive painting which I dearly love, but in this case, I wanted to have an illusion of form. It is simple, to be sure, and I used a black outline which pushes the image back towards flatness.
To dye the wool in a range of values and colors I dipped it into the dye pot; first I dipped the darker end into red, raising it up and down, up and down, putting a little more of the fabric in the pot with each dip. I then turned the length of fabric around (it was 12 inches wide by around 3 feet long) and dipped the other end into a yellow; this would ensure that the lighter value would be warmer in hue. I then added some darker red to the pot and immersed the end in that until the dye was taken up. Finally, I added a little more red and submerged the entire piece of fabric so that the yellow end would be a reddish hue and all the hues would be related. It sounds complicated, but it's not, and it's fun.
In this detail you can see the slight variations in color and how they make an illusion of folds. I hooked the black background, which I chose for drama, in a random pattern in order to have it read more as background behind the regular vertical rows of folds. I so enjoyed working with this little bit of illusionism that I've done more sketches for possible projects like it, balancing form and abstraction, somewhat like my painting, but much closer to the abstract end of the scale.