Saturday, September 5, 2015

Waiting for Kelly

"Waiting for Kelly" ©2015, 40" x 48"
Apologies for being so late with this piece.  I got totally swept up in it and it kept going and going - and now I feel like it's time to walk away.

I searched my soul for ideas for unconventional materials and finally settled on a variety of papers - - tissue paper, Abaca paper (made from the leaf-stems of of a banana species - - thank you, Judy Coates Perez for suggesting and supplying), and lokta (made from inner bark of evergreen shrubs).

The cycle is from a photo I took at the San Francisco Airport of a bicycle exhibit while "Waiting for Kelly", my oldest son, to arrive from Sweden. It is a 1941 Schwinn Admiral - a stunning bicycle!  I wanted to try to mimic the glass and reflections of the case it was shown in.  The abaca was perfect to create the text-type images and the bits of reflections.  The tissue paper was a great palette for plate glass and reflections.

Where I went wrong was in fusing the tissue paper and abaca to a background of salvaged table cloth linen and silk curtains.  The entire background was covered with organza and quilted in blocks with straights lined every 1/8".  The non-woven and the woven materials behaved totally different when they were quilted and left me with a rippled background.  So, after considering a variety of solutions, I decided to make the best of it for now and just fuse the collaged bike directly to the background.  And that is where I have left it.  I am reticent to sew it further, for fear the paper won't hold up being manipulated through the machine, but perhaps some hand-stitched spokes can be added.

I had a great time creating the piece!  Thanks, Betty, for a great challenge!


  1. Stunning Martha! The perspective is very powerful and I love the colors you chose.

  2. It’s beautiful, Martha! I also have Abaca paper and lokta in my studio, but I have never thought about using them in my work. I was not sure about its permanence. I admire your courage in using them in your work. It’s very challenging to combine two totally different fibers, but the result looks good! My oldest son is a bicycle fan. This work reminds me of a photo of bicycle that he showed me before. They looked quite similar! I will show it to him. Anyway, I think it’s already a perfect work. You have made impossible possible. Great job!

  3. Wow, awesome and so adventurous to try it in new media on such a large scale.

  4. Wonderful, courageous work, Martha! The glass case perspective is stunning. I wonder if you painted the paper areas with a white glue/water mixture if that would solve the stitching issue? It is how I have been able to use tissue paper in my work with extensive stitching. Or you could leave it just as is!!