blackgirlart

I am an African-American fiber artist living in Shanghai, China. I make art quilts and fabric sculptures using my own hand-dyed and printed fabric, drawings and photographs to create stories and images.

Big Hair

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Nov 082015
 

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Big Hair, 2013

Dimensions: 7″ W x 10″ L

Artist dyed fabric and thread, Machine quilt drawing hand beaded and embroidered.

I love the BIG Afro.  I had one back in the day.


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Big Hair – detail

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Under the Bottle Tree

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Nov 072015
 

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Under the Bottle Tree, 2014

Dimensions: 23′ W x 28″ L

Artist dyed cotton, linen and silk.  Photo printed on silk habotai.  Hand embroidered, hand and machine quilted.

This photo is Sam and Louise Lester and their first child Gwen.  Louise was my paternal grandfather’s only sister.  I have many pictures of her from an album of my grandmother’s. You can see the original picture here.This picture is probably from the early 1920’s.  I placed pieces of blue and red silk behind the photo to give the figures color.

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Under the Bottle Tree, detail

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Under the Bottle Tree, detail

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My Bones

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Nov 072015
 

My Bones

My Bones, 2014

Dimensions: 35″ W x 25″ L

Cyanoprinting of xray and CAT scan, artist dyed fabric, Nigerian adire cloth, linoleum block printing, artist drawing printed on organza, machine quilting and quilt drawing and  hand embellishment.

This piece uses everything.  I experiment with cyanoprint and vandyke brown print developing using fabric instead of paper.  Using transparencies like an xray of when I broke my arm or a CAT scan of my pelvis – I can create pretty strange and interesting fabric.

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My Bones – detail

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My Bones – detail

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My Bones – detail

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Purple Baby Girl

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Nov 072015
 




DSC_0275_2Purple Baby Girl, 2013

Dimensions: 28.5″ W x 50″ L

Materials:  Artist dyed cotton, linen and silk.  Linoleum block printed, machine quilted and hand embroidered.

The photo is of my paternal grandmother, Jessie C Austin with my aunt Barbara as a baby.


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They Watch Him

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Nov 072015
 

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They watch him, 2013

Dimensions: 25.5 ” W x 19″L

Artist dye-painted cotton whole cloth, photo printed on habotai silk, machine quilt drawing.

I love this photo of my father’s cousin, Sammy Lester from around 1924.  I use the image often in different ways.  You can see it in another piece here.  The original photo with his sister, Gwen is here.

I used to use the whole photo and frame it with the art quilt.  That worked for a while.  I like taking the person out of the background and placing them in a landscape of my imagination.

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They watch him, detail

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Luna walks with her father’s spirits

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Nov 072015
 

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Luna walks with her father’s spirits, 2013

Dimensions: 25″ W x 18″L

Artist dye-painted cotton whole cloth with photo printed on habotai silk.  Machine quilted.

This is my cousin’s elder daughter at around 18 months old.  She was then, and continues to be surrounded by her father’s spirits.

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Not Just Him

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Nov 062015
 


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Not Just Him, 2014

Dimensions: 28″W x 36.5″ L

Materials:  artist dyed fabric, discharged fabric, machine quilting, machine quilt drawing and beading embellishment

I made this piece thinking about Nelson Mandela, and how many people demonstrated for a free South Africa.  I wanted to consider the people who did political and revolutionary work at great personal cost with no recognition.  I wanted to remember standing in the cold with a candle, feeling like the world could change.

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Not Just Him, detail.  The faces are a discharged adinkra stamp of the symbol Nyame biribi wo soro, which means “God is in the Heavens.”  I like to use it as a base for faces.  Each face in the piece is sew-drawn over the stamp.  I draw with the sewing machine.  This isn’t drawing and then sewing over the drawing!  I draw with the machine.

 

DSC_0268Not just Him detail.

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Why is Alladin the Hero?

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Nov 022015
 

 

 

Why Alladin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why is Aladdin the Hero?  2006

Dimensions: 52″W x 81″L

The story of Aladdin and the lamp has always disturbed me.  I always felt the Jinn was badly used, and even in the Disney rewrite – freedom only comes to the granter of wishes once he is no longer needed.  This is my take on the story.

The background is an antique linen table cloth dye painted with fiber reactive dyes and machine quilted.  The figure of the Jinn is also dyed linen, silk and cotton fabrics with rust dyed cotton and silk.

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Break Open the Chest and Reveal the Heart

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Nov 022015
 

 

Dream Stand-In Series: Break Open the Heart and Reveal the Chest, 2014

Dimensions: 43″W x 46″L, dye painted, machine quilted, hand embellished.

This piece represents a combination of tai chi form movement and how I visualize the concept of  qi – 气  the energy our  qi gong and taiji teachers tried to teach me.  I don’t pretend to understand it – but if I had a dream about taichi, this is what that dream would look like.

The brush strokes on the back ground are dye, thickened with sodium alginate to the consistency of paint and brushed on the treated fabric.  the result is an instant, colorfast brushstroke.  You can’t take it back.

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