Following the recent presidential election with its hateful language and outpouring of intolerance, I felt like I needed to create a piece of art to process all of my feelings about it. My first instinct was to create a piece about my urge to huddle in a corner while the darkness closed in. I found a white fabric with a little sparkle in it and painted thick black paint in the top left corner that got thinner and lighter as it approached the bottom right (below left).
But all the posts in my Facebook feed were from friends encouraging everyone to act, to protest, make calls, to be a force for good in the world. Then I saw a call for art for the Nasty Women Art Exhibit and I knew I wanted to be among the many nasty women putting their art forward in solidarity. The idea for the piece then transformed into a woman facing the darkness, trying to bring light to the world. I took a second piece which started as a subtle black on black fabric and painted white in the bottom right corner which got thinner as it got to the center of the piece (above right).
Next, it was time to create a figure for the piece. I selected a purple batik and traced a picture of myself on tracing paper. I put the fabric with right sides together and put the tracing paper on top so I could use the outline as a guide to stitch. Once the figure was sewn (with an opening on the side so it could be turned), I carefully removed the tracing paper, cut out the figure, and used Fray Block to prevent the edges from shredding.
Once it was dry, it was time to turn the figure right side out. It was definitely a challenge to turn the tiny figure but patience, a pin, and a chopstick finally got the job done.
Once the figure was completely right side out, I stuffed it and added pipe cleaners in the arms and legs so it could be posed on the piece.
The side seam then needed stitching and there was a small tear in the arm from a turning accident. The figure needed some funky hair, so I wound yarn around my fingers, cut one edge and then sewed it to the woman’s head.
Now the woman needed something to stand on. I took the white sparkle fabric I was no longer using (a new piece without the black paint) and a piece of white foam and created a small pillowcase from the fabric for the foam.
This piece didn’t want to be quilted and I wanted it to have some depth, as well as an easy way to hang it, so I stapled the painted fabric to a 12″ x 12″ stretched canvas. Then, I used a curved needle to attach the platform.
When I sewed the woman on, the white platform was just a bit too white, so I used a black crayon and colored the platform to tone it down, trying to match the brush strokes from the paint.
Now the piece is ready to submit to the Nasty Women Exhibition! You can see it on display with all the other art by Nasty Women Jan 12-15, 2017 at The Knockdown Center in Maspeth, Queens, NYC.