Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Spitalfields inspired tapestry

I have started creating my second tapestry for my de Young residency show. Here are some images. This piece is inspired by an English silk weaving in the de Young Museum collection. The piece was created in the silk weaving district of Spitalfields which has a rich history in textile production and drew in people from diverse cultures to work this trade. This district felt much of the growing pains of the Industrial Revolution. French Huguenots escaping persecution in France settled here and brought their silk production skills. Later on lower paid Irish workers came and clashed with their supervising French tradesmen. Riots occurred as silk began to be exported from China and India and the price and demand for home spun silk declined. Angry works would roam about in bands and slash the garments of women wearing imported fabrics. There will be silk fragments dangling in the back to represent this violence.

In this piece I am teasing out elements of the tapestry and creating a new pattern with them. I want to visually explore how emphasizing certain exiting elements can create a new tone and rhythm. This altering of the pattern reflects the changes in the social texture of the Spitalfields district by
new peoples and shifting economic winds. I will be using recycled materials that echo the cultural mix that impacted this district: English and Irish tea bags, Chinese wrappers, French wrappers, and Chinese and Indian silks.

This is where I am with this piece now. It will be viewable from both sides.

Above is the original sketch and the reference fabric .I have changed the color scheme a bit.
Below are some images of the early stages of building this piece. All my cardboard was donated to
me by Chain Reaction Bicycle Shop in Los Altos. Thanks Chain Reaction!

I created a tile in Illustrator from a section of Spitalfields tapestry in the de Young Museum's
collection. I move this about on the cardboard to try to created an even pattern.

Here I have started to cover the sections in wrappers. These wrappers are the under layer. They will be covered in different colored papers.

Below is a leaf motif I abstracted from the Spitalfields tapestry. I created this in Illustrator, printed it out and used it as a template to build these elements.

Here are the leaf elements. They are covered in Chinese food wrappers, de Young Museum entry ticket stubs, English tea bag wrappers and scrap silk from Colleen Quen.

Below is a flower motif pulled and abstracted from the Spitalfields tapestry.

Below is the wire form of the flower. I will be making three of these to go on the tapestry.

Here is the flower papered in the first layer of wrappers and beginning layer of silk.

Here is the flower covered in silk and fragments of French candy wrappers.

Here is the back side of the completed flower. I used scarps of gold paper I had left over from another project.

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