It is so hard to figure out where my quilts start and stop- what part of the creative am I responsible for, and what part comes from the beauty of the fabric. It is a dilemma that I sometimes struggle with.
That's hard to understand if you only think of fabric as solid colors or think about the cottons you might find at Hancock Fabrics. That cloth is rather impersonal. But I don't work with impersonal fabrics. The fabrics that Annette creates for me ooze personality and really speak to me.
The great thing about Annette is that she is willing to experiment. She was doing some rusted fabrics for me- fabric that's dyed, metal objects are laid on the fabric, wet down, and then nature takes its course and leaves rusted imprints on the cotton. The result is absolutely wonderful. She started out by rusting washers and nails, I think, but then, this almost magical texture appeared- very fibrous - very much like very kinky hair or some kind of parasite or cell- very organic. I looked at it for a while until I realized that she had used steel wool to create the most amazing rusted cottons.
The same thing goes for her dextrin dyes. I can't even explain how she does what she does- but the first pieces were so beautiful that I kept them folded up for an entire year and a half- afraid to cut into them- and frankly confused about where Annette's art stops and where mine starts. I kept one very dramatic piece taped to my workspace for a year, before I had the courage to cut into it, and even then- I used almost the entire piece- with no scraps left over.
The rusted and dextrin dyes are very evocative and really took on a differnt life when I looked at them again right after my father's cancer reappeared last year. All of a sudden I saw the fibrous textures as a visual metaphor to cancer. They are emotional fabrics that really symbolize to me how stealthy cancer is- how it can be masked and invisible- unless you look very closely.
It's funny having a friendship with someone you have never met. But I feel like I know Annette through her cloth- and, if I forgot to mention it, every time that she sends fabric it comes with a plastic goody bag of dark chocolate and tea.... as if her fabric is not enough!