Santa Fe artist Rosemary Barile began experimenting with nontraditional methods of dyeing and marking cloth as a graduate student in Fiber Arts. “When I was introduced to encaustic painting I found it to be a viable medium for encapsulating silk. It allowed me to build up multiple translucent layers of cloth, color and texture.” Painting with encaustic can be challenging and unpredictable. “Chance and accident are large part of the appeal for me.”
In her recent work Rosemary continues investigating alternative methods of marking silk using a variation of Arashi Shibori, a traditional Japanese practice of dyeing cloth. Arashi Shibori is customarily done by binding folded or pleated cloth around a bamboo pole and then dipping them into a dye vat. The bound areas resist the dye leaving a soft-edged pattern. Barile’s process involves binding the silk against copper pipe or sheets of copper. The fabric and metal are soaked in ammonia then wrapped in plastic until the metal imprints the silk. The chemical reaction between the copper and the ammonia creates random patterns on the silk.
Selected pieces of silk become the starting point of her mixed media paintings. “I seldom plan in advance where the piece is going, I prefer to let the random markings inform the direction of the art work.”