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The combination of the natural fibers of the handwoven dupione silk and the fiber reactive silk dyes that I apply to the silk produce a rich and vibrant color and texture that is reflective of the nature of my subjects. In my process I use both an airbrush and traditional dry brush. Self taught in textiles and using an original process, I discovered the airbrush when living in Southern California where it was used for everything. I was intrigued with the lightness paint could be applied to the surface of the silk, as though it could breath. With the dry brushes, I work to create shade and light and detail to give life to the piece.In my process, I have eliminated the resist line. I steam the pieces and then repeat the process of layering colors and steaming until I have reached the depth of color and detail needed. Through the streaming process, the dyes bond into the silk fibers enhancing the luster of the silk as opposed to coating them with an acrylic or oil.
I raise a flock of Merino sheep on my farm in Virginia. I use the wool to hand weave blankets in my home studio. I combine the naturally colored fleece, in shades of brown, gray and white, with accents of color which I hand-dye using plants, tree bark, and sawdust. I grow many of my own dye plants. Each blanket is numbered, dated and hemmed by hand.
Initially working in oils and pastels, I painted rug "portraits" in a trompe l'oeil technique. I became interested in the structure and making of rugs, and the serendipitous discovery of an 1878 American rug making tool about 14 years ago led to my making my first rug. Mostly self taught, I learned to weave and tuft rugs, as well as to hook them with rug needles, shuttle hooks, speed needles, and other remarkable tools devised in the U.S. over the last 140 years. Starting with traditional motifs, I have since moved to new sources of design, such as fabrics, quilts and graffiti or fantasy. Mostly working in hand dyed wool yarn, I also use cotton, fabric and synthetic yarns for their interplay of texture. I often use different tools on the same rug, including hooking woven rugs. I also enjoy passing on my knowledge of American rug making tools and often demonstrate their use at arts and crafts venues, as well as teaching three rug making classes per year.
Wence and Sandra Martinez
Contemporary flatweave tapestry rooted in legacy. As a couple, the artists have forged a unique marriage of his pattern-driven weaving and her symbolist drawing practice. Handwoven on treadle floor looms in hand-spun, Oaxacan wool, the work is completely functional. A skilled colorist, he dyes the wools using vegetal and aniline dyes. Un-dyed natural colors are used to great effect and variations in the original tones bring depth to the over-dyed yarns. Whether weaving his dense patterns or her curved glyphs, he has always thrived on challenge. Advanced studies and strong mentors provided the tools he needed to rise out of anonymous production weaving in his native Oaxaca, a rare achievement. Inspired by Haitian metal work and automatic writing, her primitive drawings engage nature and spirit while referencing the use of textiles to carry myth and story. Together for nearly 30 years, they have built a life around their work in their Door County, Wisconsin studio.
I want to skew the viewers perception of art by making them become a part of art, and using art in their every day lives. I would like my viewer to connect visually and physically to the moment and make it their own. The idea and the meaning (and of course, the permission) of standing on a work of art is cunning. Moreover, to stand on something is to allow it to become your stated position; your perimeters; your jurisdiction: your sacred world and pilgrimage.