Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Silk Carving - The Longing

The silk carving technique derived from quilting techniques and my wood carving. Well - the word "carving" should not be taken literally in this case, it is rather sculpting. I just was looking for a description of this technique which indicated some 3d effect on the resulting work.

While working on a different material such as wood I thought about the possibilities of sculpting silk. The combination of different techniques or using materials in a completely different environment as they were supposed to be used has always intrigued me. Other than cutting away material in order to create a bas-relief or even a fully sculptured piece in wood or stone I had to work vice versa – adding material. But this should happen invisibly for the viewer. Also I wanted the surface to be untouched i.e. it should be ONE single piece of silk no matter how deep the relief was going to be.

So the term "silk carving©" was born, inspired by the trapunto techniques (quilting) using multiple layers. The surface of the fiber was transformed completely into a relief. The upper layer of a silk carving piece was made from one single piece of silk - nothing was sewn on top to add depth.

The Longing is such a painted and stitched silk carving©.

"The Longing"
39" x 35"
silk, stitched

There is quite a strange story connected with this work:
Quite a few years ago I worked on a silk carving and “finished” it. It even went into a juried exhibition in the USA at the Zonta Club of Cincinnati, OH, USA, in 2004 but I knew there was something wrong with the piece. It was false. The original title was wrong and even more – the colour was wrong. I was totally dissatisfied although it took me quite some time to produce it, there was a lot of emotion in this piece and it should have been one of my best – but the final result wasn’t. It came back to me after a couple of months and I stored it away not knowing what to do with it. I knew there was something else in it but I had no clue what to change.

But suddenly I knew!

I changed the colour into a kind of bronze – that at least was the result. Now it looks like a bas-relief of cast-bronze. A very happy serendipity.
Originally I wanted to change this piece into a pitch black piece but it did not let me! The silk refused to turn black no matter how often I applied black silk dyes but changed into that lovely bronze colour. Funny how an artwork seems to have its own "plan" sometimes. I am quite happy with the results now… This even gives me some thoughts to create more pieces in this colour in order to mock the material as it was the original intention about working on silk carvings.
I also changed the title to The Longing – which appeared to me much more apropriate than the original.
The title leaves room to various interpretations – the viewer can decide what he feels about this piece. I have my own feeling about it.

As you can see from the details – there is quite a depth to those bas-reliefs.
The gestures are driven by the extremes of emotions: from absolute anger and rage, to helplessness and despair, begging without hope. The light seems to be out of reach for any of these hands. A metaphor for so many people on this planet.


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