In 2016 I shot a dramatic series of peony images in my favorite stream. The current was running faster than usual and as I secured the delicate flowers in the rushing water, I became absorbed by the intense sense of movement and shifting light patterns. However, once home and looking at the images, I realized the photographs did not work. While I was immersed in capturing the movement, I failed to note the emotional tenor of what I had created. It is best described as “sad, drowning Ophelia”.
Composition, value, balance, color and storytelling all have to work in concert for an image to “make the cut”. Usually, I can give up on an image that doesn’t work for me or my esthetic…it is all part of the “10,000 hours” of practice Malcolm McDowell says are required to get really good at something. But damn, that feeling of sensuous and sinuous movement was hard to part with in these images.
Then it occurred to me that perhaps the digital trashcan was not the only alternative. …Maybe I could extract those visual elements of color and movement that I loved and give them a new home in a digitally created composition. I started thinking that rather than the default rectangle shape created by my camera, these fluid lines and shimmering colors needed a long free flowing format like the stream they were created in…and with that realization I had my answer - silk scarves. Wearable art. Not only a cool idea, but also an intriguing new challenge!
It was the beginning of new learning curve. For the first time, my color adjustments and choices were influenced by skin tones and fashion considerations. When creating a fine art print I pay close attention to how a viewer’s eye will move around the image. But, that image is on a flat surface. With a scarf the composition needs to work with the endless ways the scarf can be tied, draped or wrapped. (“Beware the boob blob,” said one of my fashion design colleagues…not a term or way of thinking one encounters in the fine art photography world!) While I have become proficient with the color management issues of printing on paper and aluminum, printing on silk is another world. Neutral tones are “challenging” on silk charmeuse my textile printer told me, but with persistence and diligence we found a solution.
After a long spring filled with trial and error, I am thrilled to share my first three scarf designs with you. They will be available for purchase during the Art Drive and online beginning August 12th. Please stop by, I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback.