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Denman Island, British Columbia, Canada
Jean Cockburn retired from her professional career as an academic librarian in 2008 to become a textile artist living on Denman Island, British Columbia. She draws, quilts, embroiders, knits and crochets, makes wearable art, weaves baskets, dyes fabric, and paints watercolours. Her work has been exhibited locally in juried and group shows on Denman Island, in Courtenay, Comox, and Duncan on Vancouver Island, in West Vancouver, and across Canada with the Surface Design Association.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Surface Design Association submission, "Storylines"

I have submitted a piece for the upcoming Surface Design Association exhibit, Transgressing Traditions. The deadline for submission was today, March 4. I will know by April 8 if my piece was accepted. The piece is called "Storylines".

In the spirit of the show,

"EXHIBITION: Members of the Surface Design Association are invited to submit work for the 2nd International Juried Members’ exhibition, Transgressing Traditions: Contemporary Textiles by the Surface Design Association. The exhibition will be held at Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center, Auburn, NY, June 3–August 21, 2016 and includes artwork awards. Entries may be submitted online January 1 – March 4, 2016.
GOAL: The goal of the exhibition is to showcase national and international contemporary fiber art that expands upon traditional media and meaning. Makers are encouraged to submit work that pushes the boundaries and/or traditions of textile/fiber media, as perceived by the individual artist. Any textile technique or material is acceptable, including the use of nontraditional materials and time arts, such as video and sound. Works must have been completed on or after January 1, 2014. SDA encourages emerging, mid-career, and established artists to apply."

I made a textile art piece that used alternative materials. I tore pages from old paperback books, gessoed the back sides and applied matte gel medium to the fronts, leaving the edges ragged and allowing the gesso to leak onto the front sides. I then wrote on the pages with a nib pen and India ink. I stitched the pages onto a piece of quilting cotton that was printed with faint handwriting imagery. I used a pure cotton batting for its solidity, but it was heavy and hard to hand stitch later in the process.
I used some artist trading cards that I had made a number of years ago with images from an illustrated paperback of Moll Flanders, and in these cards I made edge holes in with an awl and stitched them down the centre of the piece with gold metallic DMC embroidery thread.
The piece was amazingly heavy and awkward to create, and the pages began to tear as I tried to manoeuvre the piece. I backed it with a heavy cream coloured silk twill fabric to give it substance, but this only increased the weight of the piece and the difficulty of hand stitching.
I hand quilted in big stitches around each page, using #8 grey perle cotton, to hold the front to the back and to define the shapes of the pages.
I bound the piece with a very narrow black binding made from black cotton batiste. I created a QR code of an audio file of my voice describing the theme of the piece: that all our lives are stories, that stories about lives, and although paper may be be ephemeral, the stories live forever.
The piece is signed in the lower right corner with the QR code which I hand stitched on at the end. I also couched a line of gold thread along the bottom of the piece, a "story line".
I do not know if this piece will be accepted. It is outside my usual style, and my husband does not think it is my best piece, but then he really enjoys my colourful embroidered works. I have to say that it was not very enjoyable to make, as it was so heavy and yet fragile. It it is accepted, it will cost a fortune to safely ship it to New York state. However, cross that bridge when we come to it, etc. 
I conceived this piece quickly and created it quickly. That in itself was gratifying.

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