September 29, 2017

A short interview with me

One of my quilts is currently on display at the Wisconsin Museum of Quilt and Fiber Arts, in their exhibit "In Death."  A short interview with me is featured in the current issue of the museum's newsletter.  The exhibit is up until December 3.  I look forward to seeing the other works in the exhibit when I visit in early November.

Wisconsin Museum of Quilt & Fiber Arts
September 29, 2017

Barn Blast
Featured Artist 
of the Week ~
Penny Gold 

Each week, we give you, our Barn Blast readers, exclusive interviews with a variety of fiber artists from across the country. Although each artist is distinctly different from the other, they do have one common thread that binds them all.  They have all lived and grieved and they have all made art to express this - but more than this, they have all chosen to share their art with the world by participating in the very special WMQFA exhibit, which is currently on display at the museum. 

Penny Gold
Penny Gold bravely shares what fuels her art and the inspiration she has received from fellow artists.

WMQFA:  How did you get into working with fiber?
Gold:  I have worked with yarn and cloth since I was a child, taught by my mother. My first knitting project was a doll blanket, and my first sewing project an apron made on a treadle machine. I have continued to knit and sew over the years, adding in quilting in 2001at the request of a young friend who wanted to learn. I started with traditional quilting, changing course to quilting as a form of artistic expression after taking a workshop on design with Bill Kerr and Weeks Ringle. My vision and skills have also been developed through workshops with Dorothy Caldwell, Carol Soderlund, Claire Benn, and Paula Kovarik.
WMQFA:  What inspires you?
Gold:  My work has been fueled by despair, anguish, and guilt in the wake of my son's death in 2004. As I worked to express these emotions through color and shape, I was inspired and sustained by the abstract art I have long loved, particularly the work of Clyfford Still, Agnes Martin, Cy Twombly, and Kazimir Malevich.
WMQFA:  Why did you choose to participate in In Death?
Gold:  Although my work is deeply personal, created out of my own needs, I have found that it also resonates with others, in ways I had not expected. I have been encouraged by the response when I've shown work at Sacred Threads and at QuiltCon, so I was happy - and honored - to say yes to the invitation to show one of my quilts in In Death. 
WMQFA:  Is there anything else you would like to share with our 
Barn Blast readers?
Gold:  For photos and descriptions of the other works in my series on loss, you can visit the website documenting my 2016 exhibition.

Penny Gold's featured quilt, "Self-Portrait, Year 2: Beneath the Surface"

For more information about current and upcoming exhibits, CLICK HERE.

September 13, 2017

Back to screenprinting for cloth napkins

About a year ago, I did a surface design workshop with Claire Benn on "Lines and Rows"; I concentrated my efforts on figuring out designs that would work for cloth napkins, 18" square.  I came up with a couple of designs that I liked--squares and bowls, described here.  When I got home, I set to work on developing further designs, as I'd like to have at least four or six designs available for sets of napkins. I printed up six more designs, but wasn't satisfied with them.  I thought if I printed each one again, turning the screen 90 degrees, it was possible they would be more successful.  So I pinned the fabric back on the print table, but then left them for a while to go back to sewing.  And there they lay through the winter, spring, and summer.  A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that I had a container of thickened dye sitting on the back of my work table, and I decided to just go ahead and use it to pull the screens a second time.  Given that the dye had been unrefrigerated for nine months, I had no idea whether it would work at all, but it was so easy to use what was there, I thought I'd take a chance and experiment.  The results are above, with details below. The dark indigo-colored marks are from the first screening last October; the lighter marks are from the recent second pull of the screens, turned 90 degrees. (The detail images below are just a section of the print, not the whole 18.")  The cross-hatching image didn't work, but the other designs are not bad.  I'll probably leave them as is, though I could overdye with a very pale indigo, to take out the creamy white color of the muslin I'm using.

Torn bits of masking tape used as a resist on the screen.

Hand-drawn floral design, using matte medium as a resist.

Small plexi-glass square stamped on the screen with matte medium.

Text here is from Martin Buber: "One eats in holiness and the table becomes an altar."

I then did another batch of six napkins, some screens the same, some different.  I used a dark brown dye on this batch. The swipes of paler colors in the middle of the top and bottom rows are trials for what to use for dyeing the background; I think I'll go with one of the two palest values (top row).

Of these, here are details of my favorite four:

bowls (done from stamping the screen)


squares (same stamp as above, but a second screen, with quite a different result) 

the Martin Buber quote, written out with matte medium.

After I finish the brown napkins, I'm going take time to develop more images.  Instead of using a resist on the screen, I'm pursuing development of images using Photoshop.  I'm finishing up the last lessons of a third Photoshop Elements class with Kris Sazaki and Deb Cashatt.  (Their online classes are excellent.)  This 3rd class includes instructions on making repeat designs, so I've been playing around with making images that might be suitable for napkins.  Here are a few that I've come up with so far.  I plan to keep experimenting on the computer, to generate a set of possibilities.  In December I'll have a chance to use a new photo emulsion printing set up that's recently been purchased by the college where I worked for many years.  Making a screen through a photo emulsion process allows you to transfer a black and white image with high accuracy, and to get a screen where the drawn line will be what prints.  So, for example, on the image below, if I use this with a photo emulsion process, the lines will print black (or whatever color I want to use).  If I were to draw the same image on a silk screen with matte medium (the process I used for the floral and text images above), it's the background that would print, not the lines.

Here's what the same screen might look like if I printed with purple onto a light blue cloth.

Here's how I came up with the scribble that was used for the repeat.  I started with a photo of a yucca plant, taken on a visit to my sister in Arizona last spring.  In preparation for a class with Paula Kovarik, we had been instructed to look for lines, and I loved the curly tendrils on this plant:

Using Photoshop, I traced the tendrils, and then copied the tracing into its own image file:

I used the tracing on the right as the basis for one of the stitching exercises in Paula's class:

For an image for screen printing, I went in two directions.  First I made a scribble based loosely on the yucca tracing; this scribble then served as the basis for the repeat design above:

Next, wanting to get back closer to the original tracing, I scribbled various elements, spreading them across an 18" space:

Explorations in Photoshop will continue. . .