Patricia Vivod


From rural Madison County in Southern Illinois, USA

Blog @  Sentimental Pentimento
On facebook @ Pat Vivod Artist
Fiber Art Now Summer 2013 issue

Patricia Vivod, Fields of November, 2003
collage on paper of walnut/berry composted 
silk and remnants of my dad's farm clothes
50" x 36"
I taught art at the secondary level for 25 years before going back to school to pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree in traditional printmaking. I have always been enthralled with process--perhaps a byproduct of growing up on a dairy farm (and with a mother who sewed and crafted)--which might explain why printmaking was then and continues to be so appealing to me.  

My first experience with monotypes, during a summer vacation away from teaching before grad school, was transformative for me when I rediscovered my affinity for aerial views. After that, many aspects of farming, landscape and map features made their way into my art, both in terms of subject matter and approach to working which continues today. 

Part way through graduate school I got sidetracked by surface design in the textile department. I played with all the usual fiber reactive dyes at first until one day I conducted a little experiment I called organic printmaking. I buried a length of silk under some walnuts and berries and let them rot for a month.  
The result was like nothing I'd ever seen before and I was hooked! Organic printing or composting as some like to call it, is a decay process—sort of reverse farming—and requires weeks or months to get results which takes its toll on the fibers. I composted 50 yards the next "season".  Yardage that survived the abuse whole cloth became wall hangings. Fabric fragments left from rotted silk were used in a series of large scale collages on paper, such as the one above, combining organically printed silk with found papers and/or fabrics--such as my mother's sewing scraps or my dad's old overalls and farm shirts.  I sometimes overprinted with traditional woodcuts and etchings. By the time I graduated two thirds of my thesis show was comprised of organically printed fiber work.  

Patricia Vivod, Chicken Scratch
2007, rust print on silk organza
80" x 55"
I embellished many of my walnut stained compost fabrics with direct object rust prints.  Eventually the rusting evolved into my preferred method of printmaking, especially after I fell in love with the results of introducing tannins (thanks to Lois Jarvis) which produce black when in contact with the iron. One of my favorite pieces from the first of my rust printed works is this one that employed wire and nails and old cross cut saws from the farm.

Present day rust work involves adapted arashi shibori which I began to experiment with after the gift of some thick iron rods.  Landscape (or memories of my farm girl heritage) in one form or another is always on my mind as I prepare the fabric prior to rusting. And I can't seem to stop myself from working ever larger. But the key to any printing is direct contact--and in the case of shibori, achieved by tight wrapping to get a strong and distinct print (also true for those who are making eco print bundles).  The wrapping is augmented with string to hold everything in place.     

Patricia Vivod, Erosion, 2012 shibori rust on silk dupioni, 114" x 45"
Photo courtesy S. Carmody Photography

The title for this show was inspired by my answer to a shibori artist about why I had marks happening underneath my string which in traditional shibori would create a total resist. The string is on top of the fabric and the rust is developing from inside the bundle not being dyed from the outside.

Patricia Vivod, Pond Ripples, 2010, shibori rust on silk dupioni  
(the blue was created by elderberries) 176" x 55"
Photo courtesy Andrew Dobson and Jacoby Arts Center

If I win the battle this year with birds and beat them to the elderberries that are just now blooming in my backyard, I may be able to make more work that incorporates the rich blue color of Pond Ripples.  It is the introduction of the berry color and use of leaves to create resists in my shibori work that has prompted some to label my work as eco prints.  I still call myself a ruster and organic printmaker.  I actually achieved my first color through cold method rusting in 2006 long before I knew about eco printing which usually involves the application of heat through steam or simmering. But I am in excellent company with the eco printers/dyers who will be exhibiting with me in 2014.

Canadian fiber artist Arlee Barr wrote about this piece at left a year or so ago in her blog and referred to it as an eco print.  I won't argue, as it has brought me some attention.  The piece is called Pearls of Wisdom made in 2006 although it is meant to hang vertically.  This was just after the initial rinse and dry on the clothesline.  The spirals were made by rotary hoe wheels that used to be attached to a piece of farm equipment used to cultivate fields.  Arlee is one of the artists whose work is featured in the June 2013 article I share with Fabienne and Irit in Fiber Art Now.

Patricia Vivod, Composite of scarf details, 2010-2012, achieved through shibori rust, various tannins, elderberries, tumeric

Some remarkable patterns can be achieved with shibori rust.  And I assure you I am utterly surprised by every one of the pieces when I unwrap them. I cannot repeat patterns or color variations because like farming, the results are dependent on time, temperature and humidity and the quality of the tools. The rust patina that builds on my rusty bits is ever changing.

Last summer in the midwest we experienced a severe drought and very high temperatures.  I worked through the heat wave almost daily as I rusted silk for a big exhibit.  I gathered a lot of leaves for this particular piece tucking them into every fold and achieved not just resists but actual leaf prints with my "cold" method.

Patricia Vivod, Black Walnut Dream (DETAIL), 2012, shibori rusted silk dupioni, 114" by 45"

Patricia Vivod, Round Bales (DETAIL), 2010, shibori rusted silk, 110" x 45"

I created this blog to announce good things to come.  I am ecstatic about partnering with Elizabeth to curate From the Inside Out.  I am in awe that Irit, Fabienne, and Rio have enthusiastically accepted our proposal to participate. And I am deeply thankful for the trust that the Department of Art & Design at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is placing in us to mount this exhibition.  I know it's going to be fabulous!

See you at ADW Gallery, SIUE in August!

Images and statement courtesy the artist.  Work shown here will not necessarily be exhibited in FTIO.