March 27, 2012

Working in Series

 Empty Center

I've just realized that much of my recent textile work has been fitting into expanding groups, variations on several themes. It's not something I set out to do, but I've become interested in the challenge of coming up with fresh solutions within specific parameters. And it's fun and engaging. When I began this textile work a few years ago, I did not work in series, except for doing a large group of 12 x 10 inch works;  I also made some multi-part pieces.


Each series brings forth quite different kinds of images.


This recent group of volumes has been a pleasure as I play with illusionism, very different from most of my other textile work and closer to my painting.


The blue and yellow piece was the first in the pattern series and was inspired by a photograph of medieval church tiles. I like the idea of paying homage to the world of design in this series, even to a play on textile design. 


The technique of rug hooking lends itself to making shapes different from the standard rectangle. 


Here's a notebook page with sketches that are a first step in thinking of a new series. I envisage them quite small, maybe 8 x 10, with backgrounds randomly hooked and dark colors for the lines. It's interesting that I can do such different kinds of compositions and yet the work holds together as that of a single artist; I think it's because the medium of hooked wool and the way I use it ties these disparate images together. 

 Hooked Wool Drawings

I've included a wall of drawings even though I don't think of these as a series, but rather as a body of work. Here we get into a problem of semantics and shadings of meaning. 

12 inch square paintings on panel, 2007-08

I've never worked in series with my paintings. They have progressed slowly along a path, moving from landscape to a sort of still life, from a more complex and realistic space to one that's more abstract. The closest I've come to a series was when I did a large group of 12 inch square paintings during 2006-08. What do you think of the use of series? For me it helps to come up with new and interesting variations on a theme. And for you?


  1. Sometimes the work in a series does not stand as a coherent whole (though I think almost all of yours does). I think that is because, for the artist, a series is about a concept, about change and variation. You're doing it for the exercise, the experience rather than the end result to a large degree. Do ten drawings of this object. Now pick one and do ten variations on it. You know the art drill when it comes to series. I think it works best in abstract work where those similarities can link what would otherwise be disparate works. I will be interested to see the calligraphic pieces as textiles. They are very exciting as drawings.

    1. For me, Linda, the exercise of doing a series is also about the end result of each piece, which I expect to be able to stand on its own as a work of art, separated from the others in the series. I'm glad you like the line sketches; I'm looking forward to trying a couple of them soonish.