This last weekend Peter and I spent several days in the Dundee and Newberg, Oregon wine country. We had such a nice time. The days were packed with activity and so much inspiration for my Vineyards series.
I have to admit, this series has been difficult for me to nail down what it is visually. This last week however, I think I finally figured it out so I am grateful to have arrived at this creative junction.
Last weeks assignment was focused on texture. I created two works:
Both of these works were totally experimental. Our assignment was to create texture by repeating forms, layering forms or shapes. Creating visual texture through stitching, or torn edges etc. I did a little bit of everything just because I could. (Click on any of the images to enlarge.)
I was not crazy about either piece that I finished. Vineyards 7 is way too tight. Vineyards 8 was born from just that, working too tight. I had fun creating the center section of Vineyards 8. It is much looser in feel, and has a little bit more personality. The center section on both pieces are floating over a background, textured piece. They both have an inset rectangle shape towards the bottom with torn strips stitched on the surface.
Here is what does not work on both compositions: They are both too formal in their arrangement having everything so symmetrical. The inset section and torn strips don't work either. The only thing I am happy with is the center section of Vineyards 8 and the stitching that I played around with. Both works measure 12" x 18".
After I created Vineyards 7 & 8, I stopped working in my studio and we headed out for the weekend. Here are some photos from our trip:
What I was so in love with were the vertical stakes and vines. They have so much personality! We spoke to several winemakers at a handful of wineries and were able to have one on one conversations with several visits that were pre scheduled by appointment only. I think those were my favorite memories from our weekend. Talking with the owners of various wineries gave me a real essence about their passion and how they create the wine that they do.
When you see a date on a wine bottle, the winery where it came from can tell you a lot about the contents. Every year is different from one vintage to the next. What kind of weather did we have during a certain year? Was it hot or was it a cool summer? When were the grapes picked? Which vineyards or clones did the grapes come from? Were there several locations or just one? Did they age the wine in steel or oak? Was it one or the other, or was it both? Did they use new oak or old oak or.... did they use both? These were the stories that we heard and no two were the same.
Back to my series.... how does that all translate? When I look at the photos I took above I see so much personality and a living thing. I see a lot of fun! What would these vines say if they could talk? That is the essence of what I want to capture. I want to abstract this idea with fiber.
Over the next couple of months I will be developing this concept two different ways. The first will be similar to what you see in the middle section of Vineyards 8.
I created this with commercial fabrics that have a subtle graphic to them. I also did improvisational piecing. This is what I want to develop and have the viewer see the fun and creativity that goes into every bottle of wine. For the second portion of this series, I will be focusing on some fun linear works that will represent a "birds eye view" of a vineyard or field of vines. Again, I want to capture the personality that is growing in the soil. This series will be anything but serious! I want it to be playful and reflect an entire season in the vineyards.
What I discovered this last week is that the prior pieces that I created focused on both the vertical and horizontal elements in the same piece. It was confusing for me and the viewer. If you asked me to explain them I had a hard time; it was a mixed message. Now I can see clearly where this series is headed and that the two ideas, vertical and horizontal formations, needed to be separated.
I am working on a couple new pieces this week and hope to start seeing some replication in my work. It is not to say that things will or will not change or maybe something new might be added because that is what a series offers; ideas building on to the previous ideas.
I am so happy we took our field trip this weekend as it was just what I needed to move forward.
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