Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Craft Alliance- Luanne Rimel

    EXHIBITING GALLERY: Craft Alliance- Delmar Loop Gallery

    TITLE OF SHOW: Elements: The Art of Textile Collage

    OPENING DATE AND CLOSING DATE: September 11th - October 25th, 2009

    CURATOR OR JUROR: Barbara Simon

    ARTIST: Luanne Rimel

    Tell us a bit more about yourself: your location, professional affiliations, personal stuff…  

    I am both an artist and an educator as well an administrator at Craft Alliance in St. Louis, Missouri. I work full time as the Director of Education and Exhibition Programs at this 45 year old non-profit art center. But I am committed to making work and manage to find the time to create and exhibit. I have had studios both out of the house and in the basement and finally I took over my daughter’s second floor bedroom and sunroom when she moved to her own apartment two years ago. I can easily work in the evenings and on weekends when the time fits. I even use my “vacation days” to stay home and work in the studio. I have always been interested in textiles and remember early sewing projects for my Barbie Doll when I was 10 years old. I am drawn to the tactile quality of cloth and the history and significance of cloth throughout the world.  

    Please describe your creative process: how you create, when, where, with what materials… How do you go about creating a piece of work and what goes through your mind from start to finish? 

    For the last 10 years I have been inspired by the passage of time as it relates to the lingering memory of the present. I attempt to capture these ideas on cloth through abstract portraits of a moment. I take photos of these “moments” and print them onto cloth with a wide format inkjet printer, then layer, sometimes dye and paint, stitch descriptive poetry and collage to achieve the desired results. I have photographed ocean waves, elusive shadows, expressive hands and most recently, flowers from my garden. I love to garden and see this activity as another mode of artistic expression for me. For many years I always took the month of May to work in my yard and felt a bit guilty that I did not do any artwork during this time. But then one day I realized that what I was doing in the garden was very similar to how I worked in the studio: The larger activity of digging the ground corresponds to the activity of dyeing cloth. Then the selection of seeds and plants for their colors and textures relates to the studio process of selecting the parts that will combine to make the final piece. The careful planting and tending corresponds to the labor intensive final stitching and collage work on the cloth. My garden is an artwork in progress, colors and textures ever changing throughout the season.  

    In my current work, my garden is also my inspiration. The beauty of the slowly drying Calla Lily from my garden began my journey. I carefully stitched the flower to tea-dyed linen and let it continue to age - then photographed it. The photograph was printed onto the prepared flour-sack-cloth fabric through a wide format ink-jet printer. Detailed sections of the print were created and layered, collaged and stitched onto the cloth along with images of roots and bulbs. And more followed. Each botanical image is titled for one of the historical meanings of each flower – the Rose becomes “Passion”, the Tulip “Declaration” and so on. Now I view my emerging spring garden as not only its own art form, but also as possibilities for future textile pieces. And time is still the main concept – if I miss the blooming iris, I have to wait until next year.  

    What is your next project? 

    I an excited about this years Innovations in Textiles 8 because of the diverse processes, concepts, materials and techniques that will be on exhibit throughout the area and the dialogs that emerge from this kind of concentration. And my next project is a solo exhibit of over 20 pieces at the Missouri Botanical Gardens next March. My garden is full of ideas right now.

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