Decay, Disintegration, Distortion

Charity Janisse recently posted a picture of rusted metal on Twitter, which got me thinking about decay. I realized that I tend to focus on themes of vitality in my work and working on the flip side could be interesting.

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Flame taken by Charity Janisse and posted in this online article.

 

Then Lorie McCown came and gave a talk about her work to my quilt guild. She uses a lot of textiles in her work with frayed edges. Boy did she get me thinking about disintegration (as well as making your mark). You can find some great detail shots of her work on her Instagram account here.

And I’ve been talking to people who do computerized generative art. I think it was Anders Hoff who got me thinking about distortion when he posted these.

 

So, when I found myself with a week with one kid who was going to be gone from 9-4:30 every day, I jumped on the chance to work on a series of 5 panels which I dubbed “Obsessive Stitching 1-5”.  My initial idea was to work with all over patterns, as I had done in the Trajectory: Escape Velocity initial and final panels, but after two days of that, I got bored.

Here is day 1 and day 2.

 

I had hoped that the above finished panel would be more buckled (as it was promising to do below and like the panel from day 1), but it smoothed itself out in one dimension, while warping the shape!

Day 3. Here’s what happens when I do the same thing over and over. I have to change it up. This one needs more quilting, but I wasn’t able to finish it in one day.

 

Day 4 I decided to go back to the all over pattern and not worry about distorting the fabric. I was focused more on accentuating the pattern that the dye had created and adding texture. I used two metallic threads (black and red) in one needle (one eye, not two). Here is the result. It’s very subtle. I am quite pleased with how this turned out and think I might add some beads before I call it completely done.

By Day 5, I was exhausted, had run out of food, and had other things to attend to, so I only had a couple hours in the studio. I decided if I worked small(er), I might be able to get something substantial done. Initially I was going to make coccolithophores in space, but that seemed too daunting by Friday afternoon, so I switched to jellies instead. This picture is a bit of a cheat because I only made three jellies the first day. Also, the tweet is misleading. There are 12 jellies on that panel.

All in all, I have to say it was an interesting week. I rarely get concentrated time like that to work, and certainly never 5 days in a row. Working only with hand dyed panels felt very different to me. It is certainly a way to more easily incorporate organic patterns into my work. I also don’t usually focus on the stitching. That has typically been a way to just hold the thing together and add color. Using stitching as way to get to texture was very satisfying, especially as I think of my work more and more as 3d.

I look forward to playing more with stitching and themes of decay, disintegration, and distortion.

 

Not too late to buy an original Artcollisions’ artwork

Now that my two shows of the season are over, your opportunity to acquire one of my pieces in person is gone, but thanks to the internet, you can still get one or more through the magic of electrons.

I’m going to list all the available pieces here, under a cut.  At the moment, I do not have an online store setup, but I can easily email an invoice.

I have edited the post to include dimensions and prices. If you click on a small picture, it will take you to a bigger one.

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Another synapse quilt and a blood brain barrier too!

I have neglected to announce here that I will be in the Art of Neuroscience Exhibit at the annual Neuroscience Convention in Washington, DC from Nov 15-19.  Greg DunnLia Cook, Megan McGlynnMichele Banks, and Kathleen Childress will also be there. There are two sessions open to the public, the first is on Saturday, the 15th, from 11 am to 1 pm and the second is Tues, Nov 18 from 3-5pm (I believe).

One of the things I love about creating art in the neuroscience field is how wide open it is.  I can choose any number of things to focus on, from experimental subjects (like jellyfish and octopuses) to data (as in the action potential graph I did) down to the matter on a microscopic level.  These two quilts were inspired by images that were taken under a microscope. If the green one looks familiar, it should. It was inspired by the same image that I used for the black and white synapses.  The second picture is my rendition of a blood brain barrier inspired by this image by Ben Brahim Mohammed.

If you are looking for more pictures, I have posted a bunch on Twitter. (note that not quite all the pictures/videos here are my quilts, but most of them are.) Please feel free to ask me questions!

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Storytime

One of the goals I have with my art quilts is to try to convey a sense of story. With that in mind, I want to show you the path my mind took to get to this quilt.

One of the images I came across when looking at pictures of neurons was a picture comparing galaxies to neurons.  I am pretty sure I saw that after I saw a picture of city lights compared to neurons. I thought, wow, that is awesome and tucked the thoughts and images away.

A few months later, I was at the Hayden Planetarium listening to the dulcet tones of  Neil deGrasse Tyson croon about the universe. Relaxed, I let his words wash over and through me as I watched pictures of stars, galaxies, and planets move overhead.  And then I thought “what if the universe were a brain? and what if galaxies were neurons?” And, “what if the ocean was a brain? and jellyfish were neurons?” I almost leapt out of my seat, ready to go play, but stayed tethered to watch the rest of the show.

Life got hold of me. It took me away from the sewing machine for a bit. But still I noodled with this idea of stars and galaxies being neurons.  Then I saw a picture of neurons that seemed like they could be shooting stars and I knew I had to make shooting neuron stars, but how?  One day, I walked into a sewing store and there before my eyes was this iron-on thread. I had found it! I knew how I was going to make my shooting neuron stars.

 

Shooting Neuron Stars

Neuroscience themed quilts

I have been working on some neuroscience themed quilts and thought I’d post them all here, rather than making a separate post for each one.

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This one was inspired by this image of Josephson Junctions neurons.  I used angelina fibers for the fuzzy parts of the neurons as well as the blue sparkly background and then I stitched over the neurons with a shiny non-metallic green thread to give them form.

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This wild woman was inspired by work on facial recognition. I can’t wait to play with more “faces”! She has a novelty yarn for hair that is just stitched in a few places so it hangs freely.

The next two were attempts at visual metaphor. I’ll put them behind a cut.

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