Friday, 28 January 2011

Dusty answer

Portrait of myself as a child, made from washing machine fluff...
I had to laugh when I read Kitsch and Curious Elaine's post about Illustration Friday. Illustration Friday is a lovely website that I hadn't come across before where people can upload a picture illustrating a weekly theme. This week's theme is 'Dusty'. I smiled at Elaine's interpretation of this as a command to draw Dusty Springfield (brilliant!), but also because I have a piece of artwork from the Foundation course I did a couple of years ago that also fits the bill. Yes, it's made of dust! To be more accurate, it's made from the 'felt' of dust you can peel off the filter in your tumble dryer.
     On the course I got quite into the idea of autobiographical art and how objects or substances could signify experiences. This led to various pieces, including this one, using scraps of fabric from my mum's material bag.
You might not be able to see them very well, but it has 'names' for each design of fabric that go counter to the 'happy' feelings that such spriggy fabric usually invokes -- things like 'No one picked me' and 'Dad was angry'. Tragic!
     But I was quite intrigued by the idea of making pictures with the detritus of the body itself -- because there must be a fair amount of skin and stuff in that tumbledryer felt. I know, I know... not very nice, but I was very caught up in my project at that point. In fact I collected a huge number of sheets of fluff, some of which varied in shade depending on the type of washing being done (ie slightly pink, darker or lighter grey), and I still harbour a desire to do something with them. One day.


Lisa said...

I love the autobiographical quilt. Great idea; the labels are well chosen.

menopausalmusing said...

This may sound disgusting, but there is something very "wantable" about the fluff you peel from the filter in tumble driers. I personally don't own one, but I peel it off in other people's houses and it always seems such a shame to throw it into a bin! Loved your ingenious use of it.....

Unknown said...

Jane both works are very special. The dust washing machine idea is phantastic and I also love your combination of fabric and words on it, to give it a hole new meaning, that is really brilliant.

Kitsch and Curious said...

I always want to keep tumble dryer fluff! Particularly when you leave it in for a couple of goes and get different colour layers. Your artwork is great. I have a feeling there was a quilt in the V&A show last year that was examining female roles and housework that was padded with tumble dryer fluff. I also like the idea of a huge fluffy sculpture!

I've always assumed that it was all fabric fibres, but if it has got bits of skin in it (like normal dust), then it makes a self-portrait even more apt. In the same autobiographical vein, I've seen embroideries done with hair.

I think the patchwork is wonderful, although very sad.

I'm so pleased you decided to participate in IF! It's taking me in new directions, I think!
Not sure if I'll put the latest one on my blog, but I did put it on flickr

Jane Housham said...

Lisa -- thanks for the nice comment. It isn't a quilt, just a collaged piece. A quilt would be great, though!

Cathy -- yes, the tumbledryer 'felt' is strangely appealing, isn't it. I'll have to get my stash out and see if I can do something better with it.

Barbara -- Hi! Thanks so much.

Elaine -- Hi to you too. Wish I'd seen that V&A quilt show. I don't know why I didn't go -- maybe felt I'd seen all quilts had to offer but I know I was wrong. There was an amazing one with a photo in the middle that I saw everywhere.

I looked at your IF pic - sweet. So many people post on IF, though, it's crazy!