A Horse Becomes a Scarf (Part 1)

An unlikely transition for sure, but let me back up a little. In my first post (Jan. 10, 2016) I prattled on and on about the 5 1/2’ tall psychedelic horse I painted for Dixie Stampede’s 20th-anniversary celebration. In the second post (Jan. 24, 2016) I provided some background about my life, inspirations, artistic journey and my foray into fashion accessories. So now my job is to connect the two in some cohesive, marginally intelligent, narrative.

Carving a partridge

Carving a partridge

 

Life, and its unexpected twists and turns, can provoke change and reassessment. An unfortunate personal dilemma (divorce) prompted soul searching on an epic scale. I love my work….I mean how many people enjoy a 40’ commute to their office/studio nestled in the mountains of bucolic east Tennessee? I work in seasonally appropriate clothing (see photos!) but it mostly consists of jeans, tees, shorts, flip flops. You get the picture….comfortable stuff. Jamming out to some choice tunes (reggae, Latin, African, blues, old rock and alt stuff), doors flung open (again, seasonally appropriate) while designing or fabricating stained glass windows or carving and painting a sign. Really, most guys would die to have a job where they could tinker and build stuff AND get paid for it.

Soldering rebar

Soldering rebar

 

So why rock the boat? Well, it seems that’s just how I’m wired. As much as I love my work, stained glass is toxic. Think about lead (the heavy metal), solder, fluxes, paint fumes and various dusts. I’ve breathed and absorbed it all. Time for a change for health reasons if nothing else, though I suspect it’s a whole lot like closing the barn door after the horses have gotten out (colloquial, rural humor!). Also, maybe a time for change because doing anything for too long can cause stagnation and this may be more of an issue for creative types, whatever medium they call their own.

Painting Advent window

Painting Advent window

 

In the process of analyzing my life and its direction the scarf idea from many years ago resurfaced. I have no clue where its reemergence came from, but once it was there I just couldn’t shake it. Soon methods of creating the artwork for the scarves occupied my every thought. Realizing my desire to see my stained glass work on lustrous silk fabrics was going to take research and information gathering as I had absolutely no background or knowledge of fabrics, printing or fashions as a starting point. After many hours spent online and on the phone I had a print, cut and sew shop right here in the southeast. Being Made in the USA was, and still is, of prime importance to me as this developed. My head was spinning from the influx of print specs, fabric weights, sampling costs and on and on. Those who know me know my head spins and reels most of the time anyway, so there was no noticeable change.

Fabric samples

Fabric samples

 

How I ended up painting the first design instead of creating a stained glass artwork I do not recall. The Dixie Stampede horse and its wild, vibrant coloration was still fresh in my mind, so I suspect the impetus to recreate that joyous feel led me to paint. Painting for its own enjoyment is not something I had done in years. Creating, on demand, for others can leave one artistically drained and, at times, a little stressed. I mean it’s a wonderful situation to be able to make a living drawing and painting…no complaints here…but always designing for clients can be stifling. And while I did have the motive of creating for use as a scarf this painting was for me, something I wanted to create without the need to satisfy anyone but myself. Ahhhh, sweet freedom!

 

Original Arabesque design

Original Arabesque design

So now I have a design and am ready to embark on its actual execution. The fun is about to begin…..next week! This post is getting kind of long and I’m quite certain I am pushing my luck in regards to holding your attention. Actually, I probably lost you 5 minutes ago! Anyone who knows me will tell you I like to communicate. So, once I start whether it’s speaking or writing I get pretty wound up…like now.

 

Until next time, thanks for indulging me!
Charles


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