Thursday, March 3, 2011

Nature's Aquarian Keyhole

Nature's Aquarian Keyhole (Detail View)

Nature's Aquarian Keyhole (Full View)

This waterscape with an underwater cave scene is a piece I have been wanting to do for a couple of years but up until now, I had not felt I could convey the texture in a satisfactory manner. In place of the more traditional colors, I have chosen to work in an analogous color scheme using blue, blue violet, violet and red violet. How to portray the rocky jagged feeling of stalactites and stalagmites has truly been a challenge! After more than a year of thoughts percolating through my mind, I have finally arrived at a very textured and tactile piece. Beginning with a hand dyed raw silk background, the ceiling and floor of the cave were collaged with dyed cotton, silk and acrylic felt to reinforce the main colors of the composition working from dark to light colors.The stalactites and stalagmites were texturized and "painted" with wool roving and dyed cheesecloth to illustrate the calcite formations. The larger freestanding stalagmites seen below are formed from heat distressed interfacing, a technique I learned in a workshop taught by Laura Beehler ( . Here, the idea is more subtle in comparison with heat distressed tyvek or lutradur but still offers a slightly upraised textural feel reminiscent of rock formations. Also shown are heat distressed, painted lutradur. Machine appliqued and quilted, the bottom section shows stalagmites in the midground with water depicted in and around the surrounding area. Here, I have used bright fluorescent Highlights trilobal polyester thread made by Superior Thread. The divers seen in the foreground were inked on a silk/cotton blend to provide sheen that is normally seen on spandex like diving suits. The edges of the quilt were completed with a facing.
This piece measures 36.5" X 48.5" and speaks of the many caves found in the Bahamas and Mayan areas. Often referred to as wondrous castles, these caves represent uncharted territories. Approximately 20% of known underwater caves have actually been recorded and scientifically documented. They provide a keyhole to learning about anoxic, oxygen free environments that date back tens of thousands of years ago. Primarily inhabited by crustaceans, scientists have also found numerous microbial populations, jellies and other fish that are mostly translucent and very small in size. To date, over 300 species have been confirmed. Considered to be the last frontier, these caves are very dangerous to explore and many lives have been claimed yet the allure of discovering new life remains. This piece has been very challenging but in the end, I am happy with the tactile and visual appearance. Still, sometimes, after working on a project like this for so long, I can't help asking myself, "What was I thinking?" LOL 


Jan said...

This is so beautiful - you are truly gifted

Barb Forrister said...

Thank You for your kind words and stopping by, Jan.