I am working on a series of art quilts about my relationship with nature. I do this to explore my identity as an African American woman and how the natural world is part of that identity. This idea stems from my mother's focus on being part of nature, through gardening, bird watching and environmental activism, and making her children take part in these activities. I wasn't always enthusiastic about gardening or birdwatching, and the whiteness of Audubon and Sierra Club meetings often made me uncomfortable. In retrospect, I am glad I took part. I think my mother would have been interested in this series and where it is taking me.
These images are part of the series - "New Growth" is a finished art quilt and "Plant thoughts" is a sketch/collage that may become a finished quilt or a card to send to someone. I have many sketchbooks filled with drawings, doodles, grocery lists and writings. I have saved sketchbooks for about 15 years. My project now is to look through these books to pull out drawings I can use as collages - mining the past for artistic 'minerals.'
Here you can see the evolution from sketch to collage to quilt. Evolution of ideas to art is not always linear - sometimes I rework the same idea indifferent ways both on paper and in fabric. Leaves as hair and leaves in hair are themes I work again in different ways.
The leaves in "Our Lady of leaves" are made from a silk screen of photos of my sister in law's collection of leaves. I enhanced the images in Photoshop and made a silk screen. I then printed them on white fabric with the help/advice and guidance of Armando Rodriguez at Black Swan Screen printing Studio in Houston. I then dyed and painted the individual leaves and added them to the quilt.
Yes, its labor intensive. I like that. I hope you like it, too!