My gift certificate was burning a hole in my pocket, so Monday morning Jer and I headed out to the Audubon Center on NW Cornell Road. We timed it so we could do our daily walk in the network of trails behind the sanctuary and then have lunch at the Skyline Restaurant, just a couple of miles down the road. Look at that man balancing a huge tree trunk on his head:
We walked the Jay Trail, a .9 mile sort-of-loop, and were amused and amazed by the bizarre tree specimens we encountered along the way. It was as if some Eftian theme park crew had installed weirdly shaped formations for our entertainment pleasure. I've posted a few examples on Flickr; they're at the top of my Photostream as of today, but they're all searchable via "Jay Trail" or "Forest Park" or "Audubon Center," in case you're reading this in, y'know, posterity or something.
Here's a merely arty shot. I've entitled it Lichen It a Lot:
The Jay Trail itself is beautiful, and connects with the Wildwood Trail, which leads deeper into Forest Park. Another whole region to explore someday.
We ended our walk at the Audubon store, where I redeemed my gift certificate on one of those freestanding metal posts with a graceful curve and a hook at the top, designed to hold a bird feeder. When we got home we found a place for it in the back yard. I'd been thinking about getting one for a while, so: perfect.
I was conflicted that morning about going on an expedition; I had so much fabric from the workshop to steam, wash, iron and photograph. But I got to all that later in the day. Here are a few (last, I promise) details that I thought were particularly cool. Can I start calling it "art cloth" yet?
This mysterioso red and black fabric turned out to be a lot more interesting than I thought at first. It has very deep, almost photographic, shading and a lot of subtle movement when you look at it closely. This represents just a few square inches of a much larger piece:
The organza scarf to which I'd applied potato dextrin, then brushed with green Procion dye, is subtle, as pictured below. But as I was folding it to put away, I noticed that the combination of crackles and underlying indigo, when layered, was spectacular in spots. So this is just a placeholder to remind me to try to capture an image or two of the piece, folded over once or twice:
Years ago, in my old guild in California, I took a workshop with Velda Newman. She does some beautiful work, but it was one of those experiences from which you emerge thinking "Well, now I know I don't want to do that again," thus justifying the price of admission. We made giant fruit and vegetables out of quilters' cotton, which we painted and shaded realistically. The canteloupe with cheesecloth overlay, simulating the netting on the surface of the melon, still resides in my UnFinished Objects bin. My takeaway from that workshop, though, was permission to paint fabric with acrylics, or anything else for that matter. Here's a small wipecloth, about eight inches square, that I did toward the end of that class, just vertical brushstrokes in leftover colors. It was insipid, but I kept it because I keep everything. It's been in my stash for almost four years. Last week I did the potato dextrin resist number on it, then overdyed it with a dark olive-y green. My husband thinks it's a finished piece in itself, which is one reason why I love him:
Finally, here's the piece de resistance of serendipity. This is a detail of a rectangular piece about 15 x 18" that I first tried brush painting, in orange. My attempt to channel my inner Japanese calligrapher proved unsuccessful, so I did a Jackson Pollock number all over it in black. (The whole cloth is here, top center.) But when I applied that first downward brushstroke on the right, the folds of the dropcloth underneath produced these perfect bamboo-like markings. Spooky, huh?