|Red:Fire, © Karen Thiessen 2001, image by Julian Beveridge|
Until I saw Red:Fire hung on my art dealer's tomato red walls, I didn't like it and I thought it was a dud. My studio walls are white and the stark contrast between the red and the wall were a turn off. Sometimes even an artist isn't a good judge of the work and it takes seeing it in a different context with proper lighting to appreciate what you've made. This was definitely the case for Fire. Thankfully my dealer could see what I could not and included it in Rich the Treasure, a three person show. Collectors from England had the same idea as my dealer and Fire now hangs across the pond.
As for fire, I really did use it to sculpt the edges of the textile. The piece is 46 cm X 130 cm (18.5" X 52") and that was a lot of edge to burn. The fabric is painted with screen-printing ink and I rust-stained, then painted, the longest strip of fabric to the left. The burning was especially stinky because of the inks, and thankfully I had the good sense to do it outside. Oh, there's more... I burned the edges after the piece was completely finished-- hand-stitching, appliqué, reverse appliqué, beading, hanging devices, label and all. One wrong move with the candle, and Fire would have been toast.