A recent UN report warns that one million species are at risk of extinction. The landmark global assessment warns that the window is closing to safeguard biodiversity and a healthy planet. We might think this is a faraway problem. Polar bears, elephants, and tigers are glamorous and examples of animals in danger. But right here in my little neck of the woods, Sonoma County California, we have endangered species too. The ones here may not be as photogenic or charismatic but their place in the chain of species is no less significant. I am highlighting the endangered species in my area through my fabric art. So far, I completed the diminutive Myrtle’s Silverspot Butterfly and the pint-sized Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse. I now add the slightly awkward but surprisingly cute California Tiger Salamander to the list of completed art pieces. This little critter is endangered because of habitat loss (the top reason for all on my Sonoma county list) and climate change issues as well since this amphibian is dependent on vernal pools created during the rainy season for reproduction –In short, if the rains are small there are no pools to reproduce in.
I am thoroughly enjoying my process. I decide on which animal to feature next, research on the internet about the critter, find resource photos and begin creating digital paintings of the animal using the photos I found in my research as my jumping off point (thanks this time to the very extensive CaliforniaHerps.com website for really great information and lots of photos too). Once I have the images completed, I print them out on cotton fabric. These images are the basis for the supporting fabrics I create for the rest of the art quilt. In this case I created gelli prints and marbled fabric in purples, blacks and contrasting gold. With my salamander images, info page and printed fabrics ready I begin the composition process. I want all the endangered species art to connect with each other in size and format, but I want each one to have to colors and content that the animal itself dictate.
Now on to the next endangered species…. perhaps I’ll do the Red-legged frog or the Western Pond Turtle or the charming Western Snowy Plover is tempting…. I’ll let you know when I complete the next one!
May 23, 2019 | Categories: Art, Art Quilting, craft, Endangered Species, fabric art, fabric arts, gelli printing, Inspiration, monoprinting, quilting, The Bishop's Ranch | Tags: California Tiger Salamander, design, endangered species of Sonoma, fabric art, fabric collage, fabric marbling, fabric printing, gelliprint fabric | Leave a comment
I’m a problem solver. That’s who I am. If someone asks me if I can do something I usually say yes even if I don’t know how – yet…figuring it out is half the fun. For me art is like that. That’s why I’m forever trying out new mediums and materials, I want to figure it out and make it my own. When I have an idea to convey or a feeling to share I have to find a way to create it in physical, visual form. After my series of bird collages (see my last post), I was invigorated to set a new challenge. I have decided to do a series of 24×36” fabric collages depicting endangered species of Sonoma County. FUN! I have a new problem to solve. First, I had to do my research, make a list of endangered species in my area, then decide which to start with. I chose the diminutive Mrytle’s Silverspot Butterfly found only on the Sonoma/Marin coast. I wanted my work to be informative but not completely literal and of course it has to be visually pleasing. I also decided I only wanted to use fabrics that I have dyed, printed or stamped myself. My butterfly subject helped me choose the color scheme. Orange, rust and black from the butterfly and tans, and lavender and blue for the coastal bluff where they make their home. I got to work marbling, stamping a dying fabric. For the butterfly images I used my iPad to create a digital watercolor that I printed out on cotton from my home printer. Once I had all my fabric, I began to lay out my composition. This is what I came up with.
I had so much fun with myself imposed problem I have started on my next subject – the very charming Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse – now I’m thinking green, grey, brown and blue thoughts while I puzzle over this next riddle. I promise to show you when I’m done.
I’m teaching several surface design and mixed media workshops in the coming weeks, check out my website to see if you can join it the fun! Upcoming creative workshops
March 12, 2019 | Categories: Art, collage, fabric arts, gelli printing, Inspiration, joy, monoprinting, quilting, The Bishop's Ranch | Tags: design, endangered species of Sonoma, fabric art, fabric collage, fabric dyeing, fabric marbling, Myrtle' Silverspot Butterfly, problem solving, quilting | 3 Comments