Sunday, February 10, 2019

Red Lace

One of the wedding dresses I found at my local thrift store turned out to be 100% silk and its beautiful lace train was custom-made.  
I dyed the dress and lace red, and completed one book, Geometry.  I am working on the second book, Red Lace.
It has truly turned out to be one of my favorites! It is hard to move onto another dress.


**Please see my October 9, 2018 post about my wedding project:
https://suzannecoley.blogspot.com/2018/10/wedding-gown-book-project.html


Friday, February 8, 2019

Silkscreen Printing on Textiles

Silkscreening is very versatile and allows me to create all types of designs and patterns on fabric.

Sometimes I print designs on my fabric books before I bind them and sometimes I print after I bind them.  
Whichever way I print, silkscreening always gives me a print that is perfect for the story I want to tell.
Making and recycling my silkscreens are a huge part of my personal practice.  Yes, it is time consuming!  However the benefits are great -- both economical and environmental (zero-waste).  When I'm finished with a project, I clean the screens and prepare them for new designs/projects.
This week the weather was nice and I finally got a chance to clean some of my older silkscreens.  I like to work outside and allow the screens to dry naturally.


Monday, December 31, 2018

High and Not Too High

This year I talked more about my art than I've talked in sixteen years.  What a journey!  I am thankful to all the scientists and researchers who allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and experiment with new ideas!

I am especially thankful to Dr. Laura Sinnott who first commissioned me, when she was a PhD candidate, to do the visual component of her interactive music work on Franz Schubert's 1827 Winterreise song cycle. 
Today, Laura informed me that one of the artworks, pictured in these two photographs, was missing after a move.  Yes, this was a year of highs and "not too highs."

Wishing all a very happy and blessed 2019!

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Why I Make Books

I love books!  I love reading them.  I love touching them.  I love the sound of turning pages.  I love the smell of cotton fiber pages.


For thousands of years, prior to Guttenberg's invention of moveable type in Germany during the mid 1400's, each and every book was made by hand.  Books were expensive, highly coveted  possessions of the wealthy, royalty, aristocracy, and monasteries.   If you were somebody, you owned a beautiful, well crafted book.


Maintaining the high quality traditions of handmade books of the past is important to me.  In recent years, I 've replaced handmade paper with handwoven and luxury textiles.  These textiles are innately tactile and relatable: Fabric pages are not flat and completely blank.
Each stitch adds texture, memory and dimension.  The fabric moves and molds itself in the hands of the reader.
Even people who never or rarely work with textile will recognize the textures of fabric from their own experiences.


Friday, December 21, 2018

Is BOOK ARTS an art form?

For years I've been asked, "Is Book Arts art?" or "I've never heard of Book Arts, what is it?"  Recently, I've been asked to define Book Arts and classify it among other art forms.  Researching the history of artists' books, I found a wide range of definitions.  None sufficiently described what I've been doing.

Therefore, to better explain the types of books I create, I needed to delve deeper into the concept, idea, structure, and language of Book Arts. The next few blog posts will be dedicated to how I define Book Arts as a book artist.

Well, first of all, I am using Book Arts as a singular "uncountable noun."  


Uncountable (also non-count) nouns are used to describe a quality, concept, action, or substance that cannot be divided into separate elements.   Non-Count nouns also refer to a whole category made up of different varieties or a whole group of things that is made of many individual parts.


I have always thought of Book Arts as falling under this category -- "whole group of things that is made of many individual parts."




Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Let There be Light!


I haven't been posting because I've been hard at work trying to find a way to light up my fabric pages.

I've always envisioned my books with lights.  When I received the wedding dresses, I became obsessed with finding a way to insert and sew the connections that would blend with my designs.

It has taken me more time and lots of re-sewing, re-printing and re-imagining -- but I finally got it!
My lighting designs are specific to my books, and I look forward to showing you more in 2019 when I begin working with the wedding dresses.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Vintage Wedding Gowns

1870 - 1940

This summer we visited several museums in the NYC and Baltimore area to view wedding gowns.  We were fascinated by the intricate tailoring and construction of vintage wedding gowns, especially those created before 1940.  (Yes, the wedding gown below is decorated with lace and feathers!)
One of best textile collections we visited was at Towson University Historic Clothing Collection.
They allowed us to examine the textiles and wedding gowns not only with our eyes, but with our hands.  It was truly an amazing experience to touch and feel handmade silk and lace dresses from 1870 - 1940. 

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