Fiber Arts #7: Friend Is a Four Letter Word

Today, we have the second to last of my Fiber Arts posts (that are part of Great Bear’s Launch Month — there may be more later, but you’ll have to tell me you want it in the comments!). We’re discussing a piece that I created in the Spring of 2006 while working on my first full year of graduate school — “Friend is a Four Letter Word.”

As you can see, it’s in a similar vein to the previous Fiber Arts post — and it was done in the same way as that piece. In fact, this was the first piece where I chose to weave the background fabric for a screen-print. I made sure to keep the woven rag-weave fabric thick but not too thick — something I would experiment with later. So, the dye tended to have more detail, and I was able to fully enact the image I had envisioned. When you get in close, you can see the amount of detail — like here —

Sadly, a lot of the dyes I used were pigment dyes, and I had never used them before. So, they bled more than I was prepared for. For the more important outlines and colors (mostly the stuff in the central people and in the sky), I used procion dyes, which I’d been using for years, and I had great success. Short story, I hate pigment dyes because, while ecologically better, it’s much harder to get the amount of detail I generally want with them…

Anyway, the basic story is one of three friends, two of whom decide to pursue a relationship, leaving the third out int he cold. So, we see the female figure gazing into the eyes of the male figure in the background of a sunset scene. The image of the sunset was taken from a picture I had of the sun setting over Lake Michigan — the purple and pink woven bits are the clouds over the yellow sun (which I had to weave in afterwards, since the weaving and printing of it got overly unclear). The magnetic field overlaid on top of them signifies sexual attraction, as well as the magnetism of feeling close to someone. The waters are meant to appear rough-ish, obscuring their smaller, bitter friend who merely watches as they are on the verge of embracing.

The key, for me, is the gaze at the center — the woman is smiling and passionate, while the guy is a bit vague — he kinda looks spaced-out, and that’s intended. Too often, I’ve read stories where the best friend is blown off after the central romance is kindled (i.e. he usually dies) — and I was witnessing many of my friends treating each other (and, admittedly, myself) poorly in the name of ‘love.’ Even when ‘twu wuv’ generally ended bitterly and with great remorse at their stupidly blowing off everything else in their lives in the name of one person’s heart.

Big secret? The main couple is based off an image from Spider-man 3 — because I was pissed off that when given a chance to revise how the main character and his gal blow off their friend (to the point that he generally either goes crazy or kills himself or both), the writers/creators chose to have him die so they (as the main couple) could get back together. I was kinda pissed off by that ending….and the guy in the lower register was based on a photo of Jake Gyllenhal. The magnetic field is a diagram of just that — and you already know where the sunset came from.

Until tomorrow,



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