Penland 08 -- Part 1
Another two terrific weeks at Penland this summer. I feel very fortunate to have this national center for art and craft virtually in my back yard. I'd been searching for training in using digital technology for surface design for a while, so when I saw this listing in Penland's catalog, I signed up in a flash. The class focused on inkjet printing on fabric, but I knew that I could adapt the techniques to paper, and I've also been interested in incorporating cloth into my book work.
Having taken a class at Penland last summer -- which, by the way, added a new dimension to the way I think about bookmaking -- I was less nervous this time about what to expect. The stars seemed to be particularly aligned: my room was in one of the more recently renovated buildings (some of the accommodations at Penland are a bit too rustic, particularly after spending a 17-hour-day working in the studio) and my dorm was across from Upper Textiles, the third-floor studio where I worked; and instead of the miserably hot mid-August weather that I'd been expecting, highs ranged from the high 70s to the low 80s, and I never used the small desktop fan that students were encouraged to bring.
Our instructor was Patricia Mink, an assistant professor in fiber at Eastern Tennessee State University, and an innovator in inkjet printing on fabric (here's an article from Fiber Arts magazine on digital quilts, which includes some of Patricia's work) . She uses her own photographs and inket printing as the base for the large-scale art quilts that she makes, working back into the fabric with sewing, embroidery, and other ways of creating layers and building texture. She's particularly interested in walls, and has been working on a series of quilts inspired by photos she's taken during her travels.
Here are a few photos to set the mood. The one to the right is of what I've come to think of as the Penland llamas, although, in fact, they don't belong to Penland, and only lodge there.