Working in Multiples, Working in a Series

Most of my adult art life I have been working in multiples, a natural activity for a printmaker. A great deal of time is spent creating a drawing, then transferring it to a block or plate, and then choosing and mixing the colors. The printing is the easy part, so creating more than one is optimal. I still enjoy this process and have now shifted over to printing on cloth in order to create quilts. Multiples are still part of this process, but I've only just encountered a new process, known to many artists: working in a series.

When I cut up the cotton fabric (usually muslin) and prepare it for printing I have been guesstimating; I don't have a rule for how much I need, and for now, since I'm not working with silk, the material is inexpensive. I print whatever I prepare, and this usually means I have leftovers. I get a second chance, or maybe a third, to approach the same subject. I usually create a new element as well.

It started with the 2017 Osprey quilts for the theme of "Night: from Dusk to Dawn." Although they were finished in a different order, this was the order they were conceived and begun. (Larger images on my website.)

When Birds Sleep.

Sweet Osprey Dreams.

Nightlights on the Bay.

Since I can submit up to three works to be considered for a show with the same fee, I decided this was a good idea. In the past, I've had so many ideas that once I've made one into a tangible object I've been ready to move on right away: going broad. Now I found I get to go deeper and explore the subject from different angles. I guess I started this with Housework but hadn't realized it. That's also when I first included a quilt with my bookwork. Each house looks at the idea of home from a different point of view: lichen, deep sea, a house torn down becoming a garden, homelessness, roommates, and more.

The next two quilts are for the 2018 theme, "Metamorphosis."


What Are We Becoming.

I had a third partially worked out, but it needs to simmer. The deadline is the end of February, but I've learned (finally!) not to rush a project.

So far, it seems that the first of each of these two series is the complicated one, sometimes the one with several ideas going at once. The second is the one I probably wanted to make from the beginning, and the third is like the last song on the album (remember those?)—the "experimental" one. I push boundaries and learn quite a bit from this last quilt. From all, really. Knowing in advance that I will make more than one will likely influence the work overall. We shall see!