Saturday, March 10, 2012

My Voice using Disperse Dyes on Cloth
ArtCloth

Guest Artist: Jennifer Libby Fay

Preamble
This blogspot has a number of posts that highlight the artwork of invited artists. For you convenience I have listed them below:
Lesley Turner
Flora Fascinator
Shirley McKernan


Introduction
I first met Jennifer in 2011 at the Surface Design Association's "Confluence" conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota (USA). Since then I have been delighted to experience her distinctive artistic voice using disperse dyes on cloth.

Jennifer Libby Fay - Guest Artist - at work in her studio lifting cloth.
Kansas City, Missouri (USA).

I love her artwork and so I was pleased that she agreed to be a Guest Artist on this blog spot. To see more of her artwork go to her web site - Jennifer’s Web site - or email her: Jennifer’s Email


Guest Artist: Jennifer Libby Fay
Artist’s Statement

My work is about transformation, imagination and symbol. Beyond the obvious and immediate meaning of a composition, I am interested in exploring the relationship between art, nature and spirituality. Despite the complexity of my subject matter, my goal is to find peace in a confusing and precarious world; to project a calm, contemplative atmosphere in my work. I enjoy exploring the deeper meaning - the source. I hope to engage your eyes, inspire your passion, and take you on a visual expedition into new territory.

Process
As a small child I received a box of silk brocade fabric swatches from my grandmother—multicolored iridescent squares, pinked around the edges. I suppose it was part of her mission to teach me to sew. Girls were expected to do that in her day. Little did she know the spell she had cast. I sorted, stacked and arranged those jewel-like bits every day, captivated by their beauty.

Although I could not have articulated it then, I was experiencing a strange and powerful phenomenon—the capacity that textiles have to stir our souls and capture our hearts. Don’t believe me? I have two words for you: fashion industry. Oh, and don’t forget bedsheets, kitchen towels and throw pillows. Or maybe you would prefer kilims, tapestries and kente cloth.

Cloth, sensuous silk, crisp linen, warm wool, is part of what makes being a human being pleasurable, like delicious food or great sex.

Or maybe it’s just me?

I make art on fabric because it pleases me, speaks to me, but ultimately fabric is the substrate and not the art itself.

I use many surface design techniques to achieve the marks on the fabric, and primarily disperse dyes, but these techniques are not the art itself.

For me making art is about exploring and expressing. I begin with an idea and then build on it by both thinking and doing. If I am working on a body of work for an exhibition, the process starts with a theme. I can’t honestly say where the first thought comes from. It feels like a nudge from the universe, from God, from my unconscious, even the collective unconscious? I don’t know. What I do know is that if I listen for the clues they will guide me.

Then, I research. I read what I can find on the subject. If I know someone who has expertise or experience in a related area I will seek them out. I journal, watch movies, do whatever I can to immerse myself in the concept. I try to remain open and nonjudgmental during this process. I believe in “take what you need and leave the rest.” That means I give myself permission to retain only what is meaningful to me.

This is a highly personal process, which can feel self-indulgent at times, but because I believe that art explores the deeper meaning of life and then symbolizes the essence on a personal and universal level, I think it is important to remain true to oneself. I find my work resonates with others more readily if I am working on a deeper level. I know that sounds strange, the more personal I get, the more others relate, but I think this is true in all the arts. Like when a musician writes a song about breaking up with her boyfriend and then thousands of individuals listen to it and are moved. Personal and universal.

Simultaneously I am working in the studio. Each day before I begin, I concentrate on my theme by journaling or meditation, I hold the intention (theme) in my mind, and then I start working by slowly exploring where it takes me. Using this process it is my hope to create a cohesive body of work—each piece a reflection on the overall theme.

Currently I am developing work for a solo exhibition, Rubicon, May 2nd - June 1st, at the Arts Center of the Ozarks in Springdale Arkansas. Rubicon, Wikipedia will tell you, is a shallow river in northeastern Italy whose name comes from the Latin word rubico, which comes from the adjective rubeus, which means red. You may have heard the figure of speech, “Crossing the Rubicon” —it means to pass a point of no return.

So these days you will find me in my studio, up to my elbows in red dye and wondering if I’ve passed the point of no return.


My ArtCloth

Autumn Etude
Medium: Cloth, dye.
Size: 21 x 14 inches.

Bloom, Where Are You Planted.
Medium: Cloth, dye.
Size: 22 x 23 inches.

Sunshine, Sunshine.
Medium: Cloth, dye.
Size: 22 x 23 inches.

Winds Of Change.
Medium: Cloth, dye.
Size: 20.5 x 20.5 inches.

Petal Love.
Medium: Cloth, dye.
Size: 12 x 12 inches.

Sunday Blessing.
Medium: Cloth, dye.
Size: 15 x 15 inches.

Tender Truth.
Medium: Cloth, dye.
Size: 22.5 x 22.5 inches.

Tumbling Vine No. 1.
Medium: Cloth, dye.
Size: 22.5 x 22.5 inches.

Tumbling Vine No. 2.
Medium: Cloth, dye.
Size: 22.5 x 22.5 inches.

Elemental.
Medium: Cloth, dye.
Size: 22.5 x 22.5 inches.


Biography
Jennifer Libby Fay worked as a graphic and product design entrepreneur on the West Coast, applying her aesthetic sensibility to create effective visual communications and useful objects for the home. An accomplished handweaver and fiber artist, Fay now focuses primarily on textile surface design and multiple dying techniques, embellishment and fabric manipulation. Fay's work has been shown in select exhibitions in California, Washington State and Arkansas. She was recently named an “Arkansas Women to Watch” artist by the National Museum of Women in the Arts Arkansas State Committee. Fay’s colorful abstract and modern textiles have been well received, winning several awards and finding homes with many new collectors.

Jennifer’s Links
Rubicon
National Museum of Women in the Arts
ACNM Women in the Arts

1 comment:

Donna Iona Drozda said...

Thank you for this beautiful post with the bonus of the interview...it's wonderful to hear Jennifer speak to her process. I love 'anything Jennifer' that I have ever seen and many of these pieces are new to my eye so...we're happy!
I'm currently working with a group of women... not necessarily artists...on a public art project and when we come togther tomorrow I will share these eloquent 'Jennifer words' on the creative process:

"I believe that art explores the deeper meaning of life and then symbolizes the essence on a personal and universal level, I think it is important to remain true to oneself. I find my work resonates with others more readily if I am working on a deeper level. I know that sounds strange, the more personal I get, the more others relate, but I think this is true in all the arts. Like when a musician writes a song about breaking up with her boyfriend and then thousands of individuals listen to it and are moved. Personal and universal.

Simultaneously I am working in the studio. Each day before I begin, I concentrate on my theme by journaling or meditation, I hold the intention (theme) in my mind, and then I start working by slowly exploring where it takes me. Using this process it is my hope to create a cohesive body of work—each piece a reflection on the overall theme."

Thanks so much for sharing the beauty and the wisdom.