Getting immersed in color
Why do we choose to work with specific media?
It’s a question that often crosses my mind when I think longingly of how much more quickly my work would progress with the swoop of a brush. But once I get the needle and thread in hand, I keep coming back to how much I enjoy the detailed processes I use, and the fact that there is something in the finished visual and textural effects of dye and hand-stitching that grab hold of my imagination and won’t let go.
Between the saturated pigments of dye and my vast collection of threads, it is a joy to be immersed in so much color. As I work, I feel as though I am floating through the dyed silk ground, each stitch punctuated by the comfortable rhythm of “needle-up, needle-down”. I have always been most attracted to art where the artist has, in a sense, left a trail. I love what might be considered visual footprints – splashes of paint or the hide-and-seek of a drawn line as it traces in and out of the contours of a figure. Unpolished marks allow a viewer to follow along with the artist and vicariously share in her process. So, as I finish a day’s work and look back over the fields of texture and color created by innumerable hand-stitches, I feel as though the journey of the piece, as it is coming into being, is laid out as clearly as a map.
My process combines stitched-resist dye with embroidered imagery, bringing together color and texture with the organization and arrangement of shapes. My practice also includes drawing daily, so it has been a natural progression to look for ways to create overlap between the two disciplines, allowing them to challenge and to complement each other. I want to capitalize on the qualities that make working with textiles unique by shifting one’s focus between the surface of the work and the image portrayed, valuing the rich detail of handstitching for the intimacy it coveys. Along the way, I have learned to become comfortable with the fact that no part of the process is entirely predictable; the final piece will evolve as it does and this is often the best generator of new discoveries.
As artists, we are often interpreters, so it is our responsibility to pay very close attention. My drawings and stitched work speak to unsung moments and circumstances, acknowledging that their influence is often greater than we would ever guess. I am interested in finding beauty in the ordinary, recognizing it as one of our most elemental and reliable sources of joy. An artist’s job is to challenge and to provide prospective. With social and political turbulence making each news cycle potentially more overwhelming, that directive is as relevant today as it has ever been. As a result, my work examines universal ideas and narratives, based in humble observations, that serve as a portal to our shared humanity.
To learn more please visit www.elizabethfram.com.