I'm trying to incorporate more textiles into my collages, in part because I have some skill with knitting / crocheting, and I feel so lacking in other artistic skill. (Goal for my 40s -- learn to draw. Also, I would really like to take a weekend collage workshop, to pick up some assemblage skills, but I just looked, and I can't find any this summer that are a) still open and b) during a weekend I'm not otherwise committed. Boo.) The other reason for the textiles is that for the WisCon pieces, I was trying to draw specifically on the tradition of textiles as women's work, what often gets disregarded and discounted, both as labor and as art. By incorporating them onto a canvas, I was trying to make an assertion that this, too, counts as art.
I deliberately obscured the text, because I'm trying to keep the text from having dominance over the rest of the art (a challenge to me, as writer, reliant on my skill with words), and to better incorporate it visually with the rest of the piece. It means that you have to come up close to actually read the words, maybe work at it a little. But they are still legible -- that part was important to me too, because I have to admit, it makes me cranky when collage / book / paper artists use text in their work and it seems like the choice of text is random. If you're going to cut up, paint over, etc. old books, at least do so with intent, please. It's a little hard to read the poem in this photo (easier in person), but here's the text:
she knelt in the ashes
she picked rice out of dirt
she bent over the sink
she promised herself
when she married
everything in her house
even the pot-scrubbers
would be beautiful
The yarn I made the pot-scrubber out of is novelty yarn, a silky ribbon yarn that 'serious' knitters would scorn, as they weighed the merits of a variety of artisanal wools in tasteful shades of cream and taupe. It's the kind of yarn new knitters are often drawn too, because it's colorful, sparkly, and pretty. But it's actually harder to work with than 'good' yarn. It seemed a perfect choice for this poem about a young woman who dreams of beauty and escape.
And of course, if you actually used this yarn to scrub a pot, it would be ruined -- and wouldn't get the pot clean either.