Sewing Drawings

When I go to contemporary art museums, I’m always delighted to see exhibits that push my view of art, but it seems harder to with my own work. I think there are things in my studio that I would not ordinarily consider a piece of art… but in terms of contemporary art, as explorations of media and concepts these could be interesting to share.

Something I’ve been trying to figure out how to present are what I call Infinite Drawings. Everyone has a pretty clear expectation of what a drawing should be. And yet on my computer I have drawings within drawings. I usually work from the center out, with the “final product” which is usually a color mock-up or a line pattern in the center. This is surrounded my other things I plop down anywhere on the virtual desktop — scans of sketches, photos of animals, people or things that I’ve scanned or lifted off the internet, doodles that didn’t work out but are too funny to delete. The image above is a very small and relatively simple version of one of these drawings.

When you draw on computer, there is a relative scale (meaning that I draw the size of the quilt – so my “final product = the pattern” is usually about 7′ x 5′). But there is no absolute scale, because I can enlarge or reduce the drawing at will to see the whole thing, or focus in on some teeny-tiny detail. That’s why I call them Infinite Drawings. They could go on and on. Not only could I keep adding to the sides of the drawing or zooming in indefinitely, I could also keep layering on things forever…

To show these drawings so that everyone could see all the details, I’d like them to be really big. In one area of the gallery I’m thinking about hanging a twelve-foot long drawing. I could print this out on our big Epson 10000 printer, but I’m thinking about tile printing it on a laserjet on 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheets of paper for several reasons. 1) that’s how I used to print patterns before I got the big printer 2) I like the idea of the texture of that many assembled sheets of paper 3) assembling many little pieces reinforces the idea that this is only a makeshift representation of the drawing that really only exists in the virtual space of the computer environment and 4) the structure echoes a patchwork quilt.

Here’s a test of a small portion of this drawing. It’s 16 sheets of paper that I have sewn together. At first I didn’t think I could sew papers together into a large drawing, but at our Uncommon Threads meeting this morning, Arleta was talking about sewing block quilts together. She said that it’s easier to sew the columns first, then the rows. I had been trying to do the opposite with the paper, sewing across first and then down (maybe out of habit because that’s how I read). But Arleta’s idea worked better for the paper too.

2 thoughts on “Sewing Drawings”

  1. Do you use a tablet to draw on your computer? If so, would you mind sharing a bit about the type you use and your experiences with it?


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