Bonnie G. Venable's Profile

About

I am a mixed-media artist who works with various types of fabric, paper, and natural and “found” materials.

Please find my work at http://www.facebook.com/TwigsandTextures

Several trips to Japan have influenced my use of Japanese shibori (shaped resist) dye techniques to simulate patterns found in nature. The myriad techniques to stitch, shape and dye cloth are very labor intensive, and the results are always a pleasure to see.

Shibori techniques involve sewing, folding, clamping, binding, pleating and other forms of physical resist. The effects can be clear and crisp or soft and out of focus and usually are done on natural fabrics of silk, wool, cotton, and linen. These techniques are influenced by the artist’s tension of stitches on the fabric, the amount of…

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  • Female
  • Joined July 31, 2011

Favorite materials

handmade paper, textiles, natural dyes, shibori, silk, wool, cotton, fiber, twigs, seeds, buttons, stones, found objects

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About

I am a mixed-media artist who works with various types of fabric, paper, and natural and “found” materials.

Please find my work at http://www.facebook.com/TwigsandTextures

Several trips to Japan have influenced my use of Japanese shibori (shaped resist) dye techniques to simulate patterns found in nature. The myriad techniques to stitch, shape and dye cloth are very labor intensive, and the results are always a pleasure to see.

Shibori techniques involve sewing, folding, clamping, binding, pleating and other forms of physical resist. The effects can be clear and crisp or soft and out of focus and usually are done on natural fabrics of silk, wool, cotton, and linen. These techniques are influenced by the artist’s tension of stitches on the fabric, the amount of compression of the stitches or bindings, the type of dye, the reaction of the dyes, and the heat and humidity the day the work is dyed. All of these factors influence the visual image that is left on the textile or paper. The technique I most often use is called arashi (storm driven). The fine pleats and patterns resemble rain driven by the strong Japanese winds; this pleating is done by wrapping and compressing fabric and thread around a cylinder. The other techniques I enjoy are itajime (clamped resist) and sewn mokume (wood grain); after the mokume threads are removed, the stitched lines remain visible on the surface of the fabrics. Chance and accident give life to the shibori process – it cannot be totally controlled.

My interests in fiber art are varied, and my work in both fabric and paper utilizes many of the same techniques, including hand and machine stitching, resist, batik, discharge, distressing, dyeing / painting, over-dyeing, soft sculpture, mono-printing and many other forms of surface design and manipulation. I also make my own paper. My techniques in working with fabric and paper are both traditional and contemporary. I have hand-dyed many of the fabrics and paper I use. I love color and texture, from exotic Japanese fabrics to the humble, random debris found in nature, and I enjoy mimicking the natural world in my work. Cloth and paper are at once both durable and destructible, and I enjoy the interaction of both of these opposite characteristics. My paper and natural sculptures have a fragile-seeming vulnerability.

Natural objects, in some state of nature’s rhythm of ebb and flow ~ the concept of time passing through the seasons ~ are used in my work. I am an avid collector of found and natural objects. I am also fascinated by the development of languages, both ancient and personal; this interest is exemplified in my Twig series and Language series. The twigs, seeds, thorns, and natural materials are timeless images that can be “read” in many ways. Nature and creativity work together in producing my works of art.

The natural and found materials I use suggest the direction of my work. The initial idea evolves into something very different as methods and materials are “auditioned” and are chosen or discarded. The act of exploring, experimenting, and sometimes making a “leap into the dark” is unnerving at times, but wonderful surprises can also be discovered in this process. Every piece of art is individual and unique and is a step in my growth as an artist. All artwork is individually created and no two pieces are identical, even if they are part of a series. I feel it is important to stay open to new ideas and be willing to be adaptable and spontaneous to achieve the desired results.

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