As part of the Textile Hive’s first Artist in Resident, I was given 3 months of access to their collection, both online and in person.  The Textile Hive is fertile ground.  Filled with textiles from all over the world, I chose to focus on flowers, particularly those fabrics and flowers originating from Japan.  I was transported back to Japan. The images of the momiji in their many iterations reminded me of the Fall in Yokohama and of Portland.   

Flowers are loud. Sometimes quiet. Sweet or spectacular.  Each culture, continent, and country ascribe their own meanings to flowers.  But their meanings are not mine.  While wandering through the archives, I was drawn to the patterns of the flowers.  No matter how abstracted they were, a peony or a chrysanthemum were easily identified. Through me, the two places are connected.  

Flowers connect me to particular places and moments in time.  Wild geraniums that grow here have a unique scent. When my mom was visiting, she pulled up them all up, thinking they were weeds.  Chrysanthemums, on the other hand, remind me of visiting my father’s grave at Valley of the Temple in Oahu.  Some flowers are immigrants. Transplants that thrive, like my parents who left the Philippines for a better life.  Others are natives, born and bred who belong to the land.

My approach to making is more active, the thinking part comes afterward.  Looking at this collection, I am overwhelmed at the variety of textiles and processes, not to mention the sheer beauty of the cloth themselves!   The pieces I have made are the beginnings of a series of printed fabric, like the one below.  

As studies, they are rambunctious and loud.  

I think the actual printed fabrics are more subdued, but we’ll see.  I try to come into something new with an open mind and not too many ideas of what I want to happen.  I’m not always successful but it was advice given to me by a veteran of many residencies. 
So for this residency, I wandered thru their collection and listened to what flowers spoke to me. I drew a rough sketch of them mainly because I didn’t want to copy the flowers exactly. 

The Japanese use stencils, called katagami, to create the patterns by pushing paste through them.

The bold and graphic quality appeals to my printmaking sensibilities.  I used and created new details from my the rough drawings. I cut stencils using manila folders and then painted them black.  Even though this process is nearing an end, the possibilities of Textile Hive and these papercuts are only the beginning.

Palmarin Merges

Palmarin Merges is an artist whose work draws from the desire to become more sustainable by re-using materials close at hand and by adapting restriction as a generative force for creation. Working primarily in mixed media, printmaking, and painting, common materials formed from the fabric of her daily life are processed then transformed into new work. She currently teaches at Pacific Northwest College of Art, Pacific University, the Multnomah Arts Center and occasionally at Atelier Meridian.