Construction of the Ladders structure was phase one of the piece. The second phase has been painting and adding canvas strips.
The process reminded me of the work my grandmother used to do repairing the seats of her kitchen chairs. She lived in a small, two-room house across the street from us when I was growing up; one room was the kitchen/living room/sewing room/library and the other was her bedroom, which was just large enough for her bed and a small dresser. My grandmother moved to her tiny house from the farm after my grandfather died in 1952. She lived there alone for the last ten years of her life, although she was rarely alone. As I said, she lived across the street and one of my aunts and an unmarried cousin lived next to her. On an adjacent lot was another adult cousin and her family, so my grandmother’s house was almost never empty. On Saturdays and Sundays, some combination of aunts and uncles and cousins always visited and my grandmother spent the rest of the week sewing and cooking in preparation for these invasions.
My grandmother had suffered an injury to one of her hips at some point, which made it painful for her to walk or stand so she spent most of her day sitting in her wicker rocking chair, cutting strips of cloth from old dresses, shirts, sheets and any discarded material she could get from the family and friends. In addition to the chair-seats, she also used this material to weave rugs, coasters, and place mats. The strands of material were carefully braided and sewn together, making them very strong. My process is much more fragile and not intended to be utilitarian.
I painted both sides of a 24″ x 36″ piece of canvas before cutting it into strips. I found that when I had finished painting, I was reluctant to cut the strips; I liked the overall piece I had done and considered stretching and framing it as it was. However, that was not the creative intent at that point, so I went ahead with my plan and cut the canvas into strips of varying width. I forgot to take a photo of the intact piece. Probably just as well.
With the exception of some touch-up painting of the structure, I have one more process to add to the piece. I’ll share that with you in a subsequent post.