A Powerful Series Can Begin With a Box of Chocolates

I was trawling the Internet with my own net of inquiry, when Lucinda Carlstrom‘s site swam in like a sleek and shining fish.

This is one of the statements that reeled me in for further investigation. Lucinda says:

I am probably one of the few artists you will ever see who used thrift store dresses (silk only) and pure gold in their artwork. Few people sew any longer and the good fabric stores are about all out of business. Silk is hard to find and when you do it is expensive. The beauty of my work is the combination of all the parts. The paper, silk and gold leaf piecework constructions are uniquely my work. I take great pride in my craftsmanship and of being able to re-invent a traditional craft tradition. It is tedious and exacting work and I am not interested in, nor am I able to, mass-produce it.

Lucinda cherishes “objects which come from the hands and hearts of artists and craftsmen as I feel their uniqueness gives them the ability to visually sing.”

Does her work sings for you? My eyes are singing, and quite enjoying the sea change from their customary perceptual mode. (My eyebrows are raised though, as if to ask, “What is going on here ?”)

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a Power of Gold Series Quilt ~ by Lucinda Carlstrom (used with permission)
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a Leaf Series Quilt ~ by Lucinda Carlstrom (used with permission)

Lucinda offers some fascinating details about these quilts. The Power of Gold quilts began with a gift of Godiva Chocolates:

As I unwrapped and ate each piece I noticed that the foils were different shades of golds and the outer box was pure gold.  I said to myself, “I wonder what would happen if I sewed all these different shades of gold together?” It would either be wonderful or awful.  The “Power of Gold” series was created and has to be one of the most striking, powerful examples of my work.  One of the most popular, too.

This story illustrates beautifully how you never know where, when or how your next source of information is going to arrive on your studio “doorstep.” A wide open door will assure that you are visited by every opportunity for inspiration and growth.

The Leaf Series quilts employ:

Japanese papers, and new and re-cycled silk sewn in Victorian “crazy quilt” patterns in the white center. The leaves are cut out of paper and then painted. Embellishments, like the veins in real leaves, are added by sewing to enhance the reality of the leaf. The surrounding areas are sewn paste papers, which is made out of starch thickened paint with designs inscribed into the paper by tools.

Miriam Perlman, of the Miriam Perlman Gallery in Chicago, is in tune with the music of Carlstrom’s quilts:

Lucinda’s work is unique, timeless and exquisitely executed.  Her new pieces are so rich and harmonious in all of their elements that they just sing with beauty.  I can tell that so much thought goes into each section of each piece.  Each section alone can be studied for its composition, color and texture.  The result is an overall complex, aesthetically outstanding work of art.

Carlstrom’s use of paper is of special interest to me, and she offers fascinating facts about “decorated papers” in the Papermaking section of her website. The commonly used term “rice paper,” for instance, is a misnomer. “Nearly 80% of the paper made in Japan is of kozo, a fiber derived from the mulberry plant.”

I completely concur with Lucinda’s final statement of that section:

Virtually any technique commonly applied to fabric – from batik to tie-dye – can be used to decorate paper, providing it is strong enough to undergo the wetting and manipulating involved.

I call that a challenge ~ a tremendously stimulating challenge that grabbed my  imagination some time ago and which I  intend to keep exploring for the foreseeable future.

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About CarolWiebe

Art entices, inspires, and delights me. Art is a vehicle for laughter, tears, wonder, enlightenment--taking me on a constant path of discovery. You can't say that about housework (except, perhaps, for the crying part).
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2 Responses to A Powerful Series Can Begin With a Box of Chocolates

  1. Deb Sims says:

    Something fun always starts with chocolate! These are beautiful. As a silversmith I love the idea of combining metal with a traditional fabric technique!

  2. carolwiebe says:

    Amen! Now if we could just get the actual chocolate into our works of art . . .

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