One aspect of art that fascinates me is adding personal symbols to my work. I think Lascaux–except the cave paintings are my own, and they are on cloth instead of a wall of stone. Jane Dunnewold has something inspiring to say about this:
Determining archetypes that have meaning for you is a springboard to a personal visual language. Creating work with your own visual language is the foundation for works roaming a very broad and artful terrain.
And, of course, you can explore Jane’s own website. She has rich offerings for anyone interested in art cloth, and many resources to aid you in your creative pursuits.
One of Jane’s students, Martha K. Grant, has taken symbolism to quite lofty heights in her own work:
I have created a design library of over 50 silkscreens and add to it regularly as the Spirit suggests a new theme or what I have come to see as a new dialect in the language of this interfaith dialog I am currently exploring. Later the Spirit of the fabric might suggest a particular garment that it wishes to “live” in, but at the beginning of the process the task (and the joy) is to create a piece of art on this particular length of cloth. It is similar to working on a very large canvas, for the entire surface must be integrated, decorated (even if the “decoration” is the blank quiet spaces), connected. The eye flows through the entire piece as it does across a painted canvas.
The idea of dialoguing with Spirit to create art resonates very deeply with me. I have always talked about art passing the “tingle test.” Martha expresses this much more eloquently:
I am often asked how I know which color, design, text or pattern to use, and how I know when a piece is finished. I reply that my body has become the barometer. It is a felt knowing, even a shudder.
The French have a wonderful word for it–frisson–which I have come to define as the Spirit passing through.
Don’t miss perusing Grant’s exciting body of work.