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Friday, August 30, 2013

Zinc - My Radical Element

 I was happy to be selected as one of the artists for an upcoming SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Association) Exhibition called Radical Elements.  For this exhibition, selected artists are expected to create a vertically oriented piece - sized 22 x 36".  Each artist has been assigned an element from the periodic table and mine is Zinc!   I was pleased with that because I wanted an element that is essential for life......I had an idea I would create something using some of my block prints or screen prints - some living thing - since zinc is essential for life for both plants and animals.  The artists are being asked to stretch the definition of a quilt by using alternative materials and techniques but to include layers that are held together somehow - it doesn't have to be with stitches.

After I received my assignment of zinc - I looked around online until I found a 25 foot roll of 3" wide 99.9% pure zinc.  I ordered it and have been pondering how I will use this in my "quilt" for several months.  With the deadline looming - I had to force myself to start playing with the stuff to see what I can do with it......
I tested it with Mistyfuse (above) - which does work quite well.  The bond between this screen printed silk organza and the zinc strips is quite sturdy.  Then, I tried collaging some zinc rectangles together using aluminum duct tape to hold it together (thinking I could print over the top of the collage as I do with fabric collages).

 Both of these ideas seem workable, but I am stymied with the dilemma over shipping. .....The quilts will be traveling for several years and they are all the same size and will all be traveling in the same crate.  I am concerned about how the very thin strips of zinc will hold up.  It would be easy to dent or bend the zinc by accident.  Furthermore - the zinc has sharp edges - it might damage someone else's piece.

Because the zinc came on a roll - it continues to curl after assembly - so I am also concerned about how this thing will hang......?

Well, I have made a little progress with my experimentation, but really - this all just leads me to more questions....


Linda Morand said...

What if you cut smaller random size and shapes from your zinc and tumble them in a rock tumbler to soften the edges and produce a satin finish and then fuse those to your work. That would produce a more flexible piece. Love your work.

Cynthia St Charles said...

This zinc is so thin it can be cut with a pair of household scissors. I don't think it would hold up in a tumbler, but I appreciate the suggestion. I am slowly working through my ideas as you will see in the next several blog posts.