Sunday, July 27, 2008

Southwest Ramblings

Thoughts on Making and Living Art
Losing Your Art

I worked on a two-year-old piece of fiber yesterday and today...and it was WONDERFUL!! When things aren't going well, when life gets in the way, we can forget just how fantastic the "art zone" can be. But when we finally get back - we've found everything we need, we've found the old settings on the machines, there's nothing to stop us any longer....

I sat at the machine, Josh Groban blaring in the studio, and became one with the machine. Oh my, how I have missed that feeling! The creative juices were flowing, the brain was in gear, and I hummed along with the machine.

I wen through two years of not being able to actually marble fabric any more - paint formulas had changed, our designs were washing off the fabric, the chemistry of the water was different...if it could go wrong, it did. There were two advantages: the first was the realization that my husband and I really missed this art form. We had considered ourselves fiber artists, and all of a sudden we thought we wouldn't be able to make another piece of fabric. This was really devastating, because after sixteen years, we couldn't imagine not marbling anymore.

We asked another marbler, and after many tries, we discovered we were making new problems while we tried to fix original ones. Finally we settled on fabric that worked, particular paints, a pre-treating process, and we were back making fabric. But it was lonesome without that marbling tray set up each weekend. I despaired of ever creating another large piece of marbled fabric, so the ones we kept became even more precious.

The second advantage was the move in another direction to use the existing pieces of fabric we had, so we moved to digital marbling. This is taking a piece of marbled fabric and working with Photoshop to create something entirely different. There are some great new pieces of art coming out of my head now, but I still missed the sewing machine and the manipulation of the fabric.

Thus the success yesterday and today - sewing along to great music, realizing how calm and wonderful the process is, finishing some strips, and getting ready for the beading. This piece that has been in my head for over two years is now nearly complete. I attached some of the embellishment, and then I headed to the drawer that holds other pieces ready to go - it should be a great week - 'cause it's good to be back!

Linda Moran is a fiber artist working with hand-created marbled fabrics. This centuries-old art form originally limited to paper takes on new life when used on fabric. Join her for musings on the fiber field, art in the Southwest, and the challenges of creating fiber art. See her work and contact her at The Art of Fabric,, or reading her art musings on her blog,

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