Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sunday Search for Inspiration: Fiber, Brancusi, and Fold Forming

When I was a child I had this strange compulsion to touch the clothes in department stores as I walked by. Didn't matter if I liked the style, fabric, or pattern, I just had to touch it. Then, I would have to touch the same fabric or a very similar fabric with the opposite hand. Thankfully, I seem to be beyond this compulsion these days, but when I'm in a fabric or yarn store, I am definitely hands on. This week, Erin House and I covered a wall in fabric for the North Coast Metal Arts Guilds upcoming craft fair. We were going to go with a black canvas, but ended up with a fun pattern that will work well with the brown table cloths and green rug the guild already uses.

The real challenge with design in any medium is creating contrasting and complementary forms, layers and palletes that bring depth and movement to a piece or a room or a craft fair booth.  For jewelry, texture and surface detail can be employed to create the layers and dimension in a piece. For me, texture and surface detail is something I've always struggled with in my work. I think I often viewed the unmarred surface as symbolic for perfection, and there is much to be said for the mirror finish and simplification of form, just look at Brancusi's "Bird in Space".  Brancusi's simplified form evokes not the literal form of a bird, but the perfection that is a bird in flight: sleek, smooth, free.

Brancusi's Bird in Space

Marring a perfectly smooth and shiny piece of metal was often difficult for me and the hesitation could be seen in the texture I laid down. Fold Forming is certainly helping me move past the hesitation, as is the new texturing hammer I recently added to my collection.  Hesitation in fold forming only leads to folds that are not as crisp as one might like and hesitation with a texturing hammer often ends in patterns that are disconnected.  I'm no surface detail master by any means, but my work is beginning to move in a direction that embraces a multitude of textures and layers that better describe the natural forms I enjoy working with and encourage the same tactile experience as that of fabric.

My Little Friend

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