Solo Show: Butterfly Collection” at the Brandywine Kitchen

I’m preparing my “Butterfly Collection” body of work, all silk dye on silk, for a solo show July 1 through August 31, 2013 at Brandywine Kitchen, 1317 Commercial St., Bellingham WA . Here’s a link to their web site: http://brandywinekitchen.com/. Some of the butterflies have already sold, so I’m making several more. Here are the first two. Be sure to come and see them in person! Take one home!

© Kristen Gilje, California Sister and Friends 2, 28x22", hand painted silk

© Kristen Gilje, Buckeye and Melissa's Blue 2, 28x22, hand painted silk

Brandywine Kitchen
1317 Commercial Street
Bellingham, WA 98225


Monday – Thursday 11am – 10pm
Friday & Saturday 11am – 11pm
Sunday Noon – 10pm


 

Anna’s Illuminated Page

On the death of a young woman, the daughter of good friends and a student of mine, her community was asked to make pages for their family’s “memory book.” My mind and heart focused on the grief Anna’s parents must feel on this inexplicable and senseless accident.

Anna Illuminated page

 

River Theme for a Northwest Church

Baptismal Waterfall with River Banners to surround the congregation

I am in the beginning stages of designing a large project for a Northwest  church…Here you can see how I start playing with the ideas. I’ll keep you posted as things progress. Nothing is for sure yet…but I hope the designs are accepted. Here are three versions of a waterfall, sketches in pastel…

©2013 Kristen Gilje Zion's Waterfall, pastel sketch 3    zion-waterfall-2

zion-waterfall

Only one of these three designs would be selected, and quite possibly altered to meet the needs of the church. The final banner  would hang behind an alter that opens up to a baptismal font.

It would be about 30 feet long, and up to 8 feet wide,  hand painted silk dye on silk Charmeuse.

The composition to the right here is my favorite I think. But I do like the yellow light in the sky of the other two. Maybe a combo?

What do you think? Leave me a comment.

 

 

Furthering the River theme would be several 8’x4′ panels on the walls  depicting macro images of a river flowing from the waterfall and embracing the sanctuary. Here is an example of one of these sketches, done in watercolor, and a second one below.

I sure hope this project flies, as I’d love to do it. But you never know until the contract is signed. Send me good thoughts or prayers if you are inclined.  And to the church that would commission these. I’d love to do this project.

©2013 Kristen Gilje River Banners WC sketch©2013 Kristen Gilje River Banners WC sketch

Finished Easter Banners for St. Ignatius

Results of Layered Wax Resist Technique

©2013 Kristen GiljeSt. Ignatius Alleluia Det.
©2013 Kristen Gilje Detail, St. Ignatius Alleluia, silk dye on silk, 13 feet by 30 inches, calligraphy designed by Laura Norton.

 

©2013 Kristen Gilje, St. Ignatius Alleluia, silk dye on silk, 13 feet by 30 inches
©2013 Kristen Gilje, St. Ignatius Alleluia, silk dye on silk, 13 feet by 30 inches, lettering designed by Laura Norton.

Happy Easter everyone!

Here are the results of the layered wax resist technique from the previous post, with all the wax burnt off, the silk washed and hemmed. The result is lots of rich texture and motion behind crisp beautiful lettering by calligrapher Laura Norton.

©2013 Kristen Gilje, St. Ignatius Alleluia, silk dye on silk, 13 feet by 30 inches, calligraphy designed by Laura Norton.
©2013 Kristen Gilje, St. Ignatius Christ is Risen, silk dye on silk, 13 feet by 30 inches, calligraphy designed by Laura Norton.

I’m anxious to receive pictures of the banners hanging in the sanctuary of St. Ignatius, Portland, OR and will post them for you when they come. In the meantime, enjoy all the blossoming plants and the great sunshine!

 

 

Wax Layering Technique in Silk Painting

Rich textures can be made using one dye, wax, salt and 4 layers.

allelu-ign

This is a project I’m working on currently for a catholic church in Portland, OR. First I contacted a good friend who collaborates with me on lettering. She is a wonderful calligrapher. You can reach Laura Norton at [email protected]

When she finishes the lettering I can start my watercolor sketch of the proposed design.

alleluia-watercolor-sketch
Watercolor sketch of proposed design, with calligrapher’s lettering copied to paper.

When the design is accepted, I make a copy of the sketch on newsprint the same size as the banner-to-be, in this case 13 feet by 30 inches. I make my lines with magic marker so the lines are dark. I place this pattern under the stretched silk, and can see the lines right through the silk. Next I apply a resist called “gutta” around the edges of the lettering, as seen through the silk. This establishes the lettering on the silk. When I apply the wax inside these gutta lines the gutta helps guide where the wax will go. Waxing the lettering means that the white silk is protected, as my first layer, and that the lettering will be white.

alleluia-wax-letters
Kristen applying wax to the lettering.

Below you can see that I have applied gold dye to the silk, and the wax has protected the lettering. However, I don’t want the lettering to be completely white. So I detach the silk from the frame just enough to get a handful of the silk. I am scrunching the wax to produce a crackle in the wax. The next layer of dye will enter these crackles and make a crackle design on the lettering. This is called “faux-batik”.

alleluia-scrunch-wax-2
Crackling the wax by scrunching it.

After scrunching the wax I apply some more wax with a sponge brush in sweeping streaks, but not too many as I want to add more streaks with each layer. Immediately I add a second layer of dye, and sprinkle salt on the wet dye. The salt melts and pushes the dye away, making a rain or snow like texture, similar to adding salt to watercolor. You can see the wet dye with the salt below. I also cover the cracked wax lettering with dye and a small bit seeps through.

second
Second layer of wax and dye, with salt.

Above you can see I also splattered wax randomly to add even more texture. And below you can see the result of the third and fourth layers of wax and dye, much more complicated. My goal is for a joyful motion to go with a sunny, warm rich color.

alleluia-ign-a
4th layer of wax, salt and dye.

Now the painting and wax application are finished and need to be “fixed”. I roll both banners in layers of brown paper and newsprint and steam them. In the steaming process most of the wax melts off and is soaked into the newsprint, and the moist heat chemically bonds the dye into the silk fibers permanently.When the banners are unrolled the layers of dye will be revealed, the first layers being lightest and the 4th layer a deep gold.

christ-is

Finally I will take these to the dry cleaner to remove any wax and dye residue, and the silk will regain its luxurious “hand” again, after being all stiff with foreign material.

is-risen

 

 

2013 Grunewald Guild Liturgical Arts Weeks

 “At the Meeting of Heaven and Earth”

Grunewald Guild, Leavenworth, WA, August 5-11, August 12-18, 2013

Teaching Liturgical Arts Week at Grunewald Guild with Jan Richardson, Garrison Doles, Gilly Sakakini and Laurie Clark every summer is a treat. I love the way our classes are woven together by Jan’s words and Gary’s music, and often find myself dreaming at night about the magic that will happen between us all the next day. This is indeed a thin place, where we all come together to explore Spirit in, with, through, around, under and above us.

Here’s what Jan has written about our theme “Between Heaven and Earth”:

“In the physical landscape and in the turning of the year, there are places where the veil between worlds becomes permeable. Past and future come together in the present, and heaven and earth meet. It’s not that God is somehow more present in those places—“thin places,” as Celtic folk have called them; rather, something in those places and times invites us to become more present to the God who is always with us. A veil falls away within us. We open, and we see.

Join us as we enter and explore these thin places, the spaces that open before us as we engage in worship, in our communities, and in our daily lives.”

Silk Painting: Exploring Color and Line as a Thin Place

I will be teaching two weeks of silk painting classes during this time, with one building on the other. In Week I everyone is invited, beginners through advanced. During Week II former silk painting students of mine (including Week I students) are invited for more in depth exploration. For more info, visit Liturgical Arts Week on the Guild’s website.

Full information & registration for Week I Silk Painting, August 5-11

Full information & registration for Week II Silk Painting, August 12-18

See you AT THE MEETING OF HEAVEN + EARTH

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unveiling at St. Marks by the Narrows

The banner “Who Is My Neighbor?,”  commissioned by St. Marks Lutheran Church by the Narrows in Tacoma WA, was unveiled this Sunday. Pastor Jan Ruud wove the theme of the banner into his sermon. I wish I could have been there.

Kristen Gilje's "Who Is My Neighbor?" with pastor Jan Ruud, St. Mark's Tacoma WA
Kristen Gilje’s “Who Is My Neighbor?” with pastor Jan Ruud, St. Mark’s Tacoma WA

Northwest Stole

This winter I accomplished a long-term goal to develop a stole representing our great Northwest environment.

©2012 Kristen Gilje "Northwest Stole" hand painted silk
©2012 Kristen Gilje “Northwest Stole” hand painted silk

The idea was to include day and night, winter and summer, mountains, plains and ocean in one piece!

My goal was to express the sacred beauty and presence of God I experience living in this varied landscape.  Wearing this  stole in our Green Season rites and rituals in our churches is a way of expressing gratitude to the Creator for such a wonderful home. My hope is to see this sacredness celebrated in our churches.

The seed for this stole design came from a painting I completed in 2006, celebrating life at Holden Village in the North Cascades. Can you see in the two vertical strips, one yellow and the other purple, one summer and one winter, the start of the design?

©2006 Kristen Gilje, Breadmaking at Holden, watercolor 22 x 30 inches
©2006 Kristen Gilje, “Breadmaking at Holden,” watercolor 22 x 30 inches.

I promised myself I’d some day make a stole out of this painting, and now here it is!

©Kristen Gilje Northwest Stole, handpainted silk, 2012
Kent French, pastor First Congregational Church of Bellingham UCC, modeling “Northwest Stole”

 First Congregational Church of Bellingham UCC

2401 Cornwall Avenue, Bellingham, WA 360.734.3720

 

 

Who is My Neighbor?

New silk banner for St. Mark’s Lutheran Church by the Narrows, Tacoma, WA

©2013 Kristen Gilje  Who is My Neighbor?
©2013 Kristen Gilje Who is My Neighbor? 84″ x 45″ hand painted silk dye on silk.

This is the third year in a row St. Marks has commissioned me to make a banner supporting their annual theme. This year’s theme, “Who is My Neighbor,” I’m particularly happy to be supporting.

det-who-is-2

My assignment was to take inspiration from these places:

  • The hymn “Jesu, Jesu, Fill Us with Your Love”
  • ingoring the traditional boundaries that keep people apart
  • Dan Erlander’s drawings from his book “Manna and Mercy”
  • He Qi’s painting “Peace Be Still”

det-who-is-lettering

My calligrapher friend Laura Norton designed the lettering. She always does a beautiful job. [email protected]

The design for this piece came very quickly, it was the first sketch I made. .  I was indeed inspired by the simplicity of Dan Erlander’s paintings, and even more so from He Qi’s art, where color and shapes are strong and flat.

det-who-is
Detail “Who Is My Neighbor

 

I actually “quoted” some passages from He Qi’s figures, (like I did from Picasso in the painting “Abu Graib and the Twin Towers: A Lesson from Picasso” see image below) Because I was playing with He Qi’s style, I made a note of that right on the piece. I gave credit to him on the banner, writing in the signature area “In the style of He Qi”. That’s the turquoise bar on the bottom left side of the banner above.

Kristen Gilje, Abu Graib and the Twin Towers: A Lesson from Picasso, hand painted silk, 20049 ft x 55 in.,
©Kristen Gilje, Abu Graib and the Twin Towers: A Lesson from Picasso, hand painted silk 10 feet by 55 inches

 

 

It’s interesting learning from other artists this way. I went to Picasso when I was trying to do a painting about war, torture and other atrocities of Abu Graib. You can see easy references to  Picasso’s  “Guernica” here, all through my piece.
So I gave credit to Picasso in my title, which then has a double meaning. Picasso instructed me in art, and he instructs us all in the terror of war.

He Qi, thanks for teaching me about the power of simple flat forms and color to tell a powerful story.