I dearly LOVE music. I was in the choir in high school and enjoyed it very much. In college, I spent time with guitar players, and even bought my own guitar in Barcelona, Spain, and tried to learn to play. My husband also enjoys music, and has introduced me to some that I was unfamiliar with. As a high school art teacher, I played music for my students as much as possible, and when I needed to be uplifted during my planning time, I would head for the choir room for a good listening session.
I started out on this piece by trying to show the sound of a song, or of a violin, or a saxophone VISUALLY. A difficult challenge. I continued to listen to songs and think about how to show drumbeats, or the glorious rumble of harmonies. I ended up with a true mélange of symbols, shapes, lines and marks.
I started with some fabric that was given to me by an artist friend, Wendy Smith Wood. One was a black and white print of stems and leaves, with big circular swishes of yellow – just scraps.
Another was a sheer blue green fabric that she had dyed, then drizzled and dotted with a white resist. I thought this would look nice over the black, white and yellow shapes. I liked it at this stage, but wanted more.
I played with adding patterned shapes and black dots, and stripes. The stripes resemble musical staffs, and the dots and ‘flowers’ refer to notes or rhythmic beats. Aiming for variety (yet unity), I added the larger circular shapes, (which my hearing aid doctor interpreted as CD’s – which I hadn’t even thought of!) I placed those at the bottom for the LOW sounds, and hung some small feather shapes near the top for the high notes. The zigzag shapes add some vibration. I’m pretty sure I should have stopped way before I finally did, but I suppose I had a lot to say about sound, so I continued on.
When I first began wearing my recently purchased hearing aids, it was a bit oppressive because I could hear everything that I have been blissfully unaware of. All kinds of sounds, all at once. This work represents that feeling – with many sounds overlapping one another.
30 x 20”
Commercial, upcycled and hand dyed fabrics, laces.
Raw edge applique, hand quilting
After finishing this piece, I continued to puzzle over the challenge of interpreting sound visually. Along came Hurricane Irma, blowing natural materials like branches, pinecones, sticks and leaves all over our property. I began a second sound piece, this time incorporating shapes from trees, and other natural objects that we spent days raking and removing from our yard. The second artwork has as many shapes, but is more harmonious and organized.