An Artist's Quest

Collecting Clouds

This is my Grandpa's Cloud Catalog and the fabric I designed using his photos

This is my Grandpa’s Cloud Catalog and the fabric I designed using his photos

Recently my mom gave me a slim photo album that had been her fathers, my grandfather. In photo album are pictures of clouds. The camera is aimed up, the trees have no purpose, there are no people, the clouds were the objects of desire. My grandpa died when I was six so I don’t have detailed memories of him. What I have is more memories of photographs and stories. He was an educated man who had studied meteorology in college but had ended up a postman to support his family. So in retirement he had started this cloud catalog. The dates on the photos range from ’62 (the year of my birth) to ‘6???. The type of cloud isn’t labeled anywhere I guess he really didn’t need it labeled; he knew what kind of cloud each one was. I have no way of knowing but I guess it was more of a hunt for him like birders to witness and record a sighting. This album was for him a quest a challenge. When I received the album I wasn’t sure what I would do with it but I was definitely drawn to the idea and the images. I decided to scan them all so I could use them in multiple ways. The first way is in a fabric design; you can see the swatches I got from printer on the right. I haven’t made anything yet but when I do you’ll be the first to see it. More art will come from this collection of clouds, thank your to my far off grandpa for reaching to me from the past and inspiring the small child he held in his lap 45 years in the future.

This is me wearing a dress I made from my Circle Collection of photos

This is me wearing a dress I made from my Circle Collection of photos

I’ve done a bit of photo colleting of my own. There is something wonderful about setting your sites and intentions on something and searching it – out for my grandpa it was clouds – but for me the inspiration can come from lots of places. The fabric in this dress is from photos I took of old round things… this photo scavenger hunt took me to old barns and under bridges, and behind old tractors what a fun day of seeking.

You’ve seen some of my other photo collections; there are my NY and SF fabrics that focus on signs and graffiti the beauty in the everyday things. I have my barn wood fabric that is just what it sounds like. During my recent trip to Philly I took loads of photos of glass sided buildings, hands, feet and faces from old bronze statues that somehow will come together in a photo montage that summarizes my visit. Giving myself a mission when I’m traveling prompts me to look deeply, and search for surprises as well as find some commonality in a place some thread that speaks of the place. So I recommend creating a collection even just a temporal observational collection, have fun with the hunt.

Here is a link to Spoonflower where I have a whole collection of fabrics for sale including Cloud Catalog . http://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/lisathorpe

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4 responses

  1. molmsteado

    I love the circle dress…and how smart to have the link to your fabrics. What a treasure to have the cloud album…..

    September 5, 2014 at 11:26 am

  2. Jeanette Bernard

    Tim, Lisa has interesting activities and develops them in unique ways, and apparently develops them into money-makers….a fun read.

    Love you, Mom

    September 5, 2014 at 11:37 am

  3. wanna make one in a size 0?

    September 5, 2014 at 5:35 pm

  4. Love the cloud fabric!! And the SF city one, too…

    September 5, 2014 at 5:37 pm

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