The Process

I create images of the natural landscape using layers of cotton cloth which, during an entirely different process on a different day, I have hand painted myself using an acrylic water-based paint meant for fabric used in clothing and other textiles. After being set with a hot iron, the colors are extremely fade resistant, and can even be washed in a machine. I don't bother to wash the fabric for my art.

Kimberlee Ellen Brown painting fabric

Rarely do I paint with anything particular in mind. I just add it to my stash for later use. For me, satisfaction in the artistic process comes out of spontaneity and constant experimentation. 

I spend a lot of time studying my fabrics, turning them around and over, looking from different angles, allowing evocations of natural settings to reveal themselves- light streaming though a forest or the sun peeking from behind a cloud. Laying down several fabrics next to each other reveals more, though what I see here may bear little resemblance to the final artwork.

assembling layers

I then cut, in an intensely creative and active process, cutting and trimming and exchanging layers, bits and shreds of fabric everywhere. I will try many different combinations, often tossing everything aside and starting over. It can take anywhere from three days to three months before I decide an image is ready for the next step. To see some images of a work in progress and learn a little more about how I do this, check out my blog entitled, 'Artwork Transformations'.

Finally, to secure the layers, I either pin them all together onto a background cloth of muslin or light weight canvas and hand stitch them into place, turning the edges under as I go, or I will glue the layers down using a colorless acrylic medium. Stitching takes more time but gluing is tricky, especially with large or very irregularly shaped pieces of fabric, all limp with glue, that need to lie flat and line up with each other precisely as I intended. It can take an entire day to glue a very large artwork. Often, layers will need to be peeled off and reset because of all the buckling and air bubbles.

Everything is then carefully steamed flat with a hot steam iron. This also fuses the glued artworks which makes them quite durable.

Here are some close ups. The first two are hand stitched, the third is glued:

You could say a photographer takes reality and strives to make it more abstract or surreal, and that I take abstracts (my fabrics) and try to make them look more realistic. Either way, you end up with art. 

I have taught several classes in my particular technique. Something I enjoyed very much and will likely do again. 


To view my portfolio, please click here.  

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