MUST-HAVE FIBRE ART SUPPLIES WHEN OFF GRID

Once accepted into the artist residency starting this month, I had to figure out what art supplies I would bring. This planning is critical as there is limited space to store items at art camp, and no electricity. On days we hike in to a location, everything I need has to fit into a backpack - including my lunch, water bottles, and rain gear.

I typically work by layering fabrics, machine sewing them together then slashing, deconstructing, distressing. Not knowing what colours, types and textures, threads or embellishments I would need on this trip would normally mean hauling a large variety. I won't know what I want to focus on until I get there and explore. The choices are endless: tree bark, lichen, plants, river rapids, rock formations, wildlife, ruins, even the rusted metal equipment in a local abandoned farm. My sewing machine will obviously not be coming with me, an integral part of my process, so hand stitching the layers of fabric together is the plan, a time-consuming step in the creation of fibre art.

Hence I decided making small samples on the trip would make the most sense, supplemented by sketches and photos. Larger pieces can then be made once I'm back home and based on my reference material. This means I also need to pack a sketchbook, watercolour and graphite pencils and erasers. I can add details in writing beside my sketches to record my impressions and feelings, and capture senses such as smells, touch, sound and of course, sight. All this will help me choose the right textures and colours later on as I interpret my impressions into my art.


I have now made a few samples in advance of the trip to ensure I have the right supplies and know what techniques will work with minimum fuss. 6"x6" seemed like a good size. I tested both running stitch and basting - this latter one is definitely faster, and I can supplement it with a bit of fabric glue between layers along the stitch lines for added strength. The 3 samples below are based on these methods and from photos I took recently of tree bark and wood, the first with Tyvek to represent lichen, the 2nd to capture the yellow of the wood,  and the 3rd with some fallen birch bark included - very easy to stitch through as I discovered.




I have now cut up a variety of fabric colours and weights that I'll be able to choose from, all 6x6, taking up only minimal space in my backpack. Threads, scissors, needles, embellishments all fit into a small toolbox.  Even some Tyvek, already painted, layered with organza and heat distressed, as I won't be able to use my heat gun or iron at the camp. 

I also plan to experiment more with more sun printing, foraging for local leaves and flowers. This means additional paper and fabric, plus paints and brushes. Taking rubbings of textures on rocks and trees is another item. And perhaps finding some natural mark making tools to play with. 

The list of supplies is growing. But I figure sun printing will be done at camp only and not on day trips so I won't have to haul my paints or larger papers on those days. 

Fortunately there will be generator on site, so I can charge both my camera and phone at night so I can take lots of reference photos each day. (There is no cell service at our camp).

Lastly, I also plan to journal about my experiences and impressions each day, what I am learning, experiments, what the other artists are working on, and whatever else comes up. I suspect there will be several good stories to share. 

Check back in a couple of weeks when I have returned from this artistic adventure. 


1 comment:

  1. Hi Anne, this sounds like a terrific opportunity to play and try all kinds of things. Looking forward to reading about your adventures.

    ReplyDelete

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