Driveway Messages – Resolved – for now

Remember that I did not like the work I had done the week before. It did not have the layeredness that I wanted. That idea of receiving messages while pursuing messages. So I took all the etched plates, inked them up and tried different fabrics and papers.

The tiny plates of asphalt patches went onto several types of cloth and paper. I liked the cotton ones made from rusted bits from here at home. There also was this sheer fabric in a pale blue and soft burnt sienna. I have had that cloth for years thinking it would make nice overlays in books. It was one of those lovely things you touch because it was rolled up and tied with a pretty ribbon and popped out of a barrel in a shop called Pettygrew or something like that. All very charming and successfully staged toward purchasing something….anything.

The etchings of tree shadows and my own shadow were printed on more odd bits of cloth and paper. On the right are the scraps of an Egyptian cotton that I made pajamas out of. On the left is just plain tracing paper. Center is more of that rusted cloth. I even found some cotton cloth that I demonstrated earth pigment coloring on using soils from here….actually the driveway… very appropriate.

And after they had all dried on the print line I took them down and began cutting them up and piecing them together to get the layers of mixed messages. And in the middle of putting bits and pieces together, especially the shadows of leaves, I remembered the samples of contact printing done in workshops as demonstrations of documenting place. These too were added into the piecing.

At first I tried hand stitching overlaps of the pieces with black thread. It looked way too “loving hand look.” So I had gone from the coldness of using just scanned images of etchings overlaying shadow photos to fabric with hand stitching. They were one hundred and eighty degrees from each other and neither one was looking like what I wanted to say.

But because it was a day for mending and the machine was sitting there waiting for something else to do, I started stitching the paper and cloth together like I was a piece quilter.

I ended up with four finished pieces that now have newly delivered frames. Here is one of them.

I like them. They are the messages of leaves, shadows and marks that I step over daily on my way to find other correspondences in my mailbox.

The challenge of working with a limited palette on such a variety of materials was good for me. Then how to finish the backs and mount them….more challenges.

It was surprising how quickly I went through most of the etched cloth that hung on the line just to get these four. I would like to do more work like this. But in a book form? I think that will have to be made of something else.

For now I have cleaned the studio and just plan on stitching into the dementia shawl. Funny how those same stitches look fine on the cloth shawl and perfectly lousy on these little pieced Driveway Messages.

Til next week.