The Tapestries of the What Is A Rough Face Collection were designed to be iterative and interrogative to the marginalized identities of Black women and femmes. Each piece was made through multistep immersion dyeing processes to embody the full extent of a natural environment and how one interacts with it in the literal and surreal. The textiles in this collection are continuous with landscapes that extend beyond what is seen on the face of the tapestries.
What is a Rough Face? interrogates the tension and physical violence inflicted upon Black women as they navigate society under the crushing grip of misogynoir. As a Black woman, there are ways in which the projection of sexuality, being a woman, and being Black are contested with deep scrutiny by society in ways that no other identity is examined. The tapestries of What is a Rough Face? visually chronicle elements of discrimination including tension, physical and emotional violence, and conformity. I focused on developing a visual language to represent the strife and hardship of the Black woman’s harsh reality in America when faced with colorism, sexism, and other factors that contribute to the perpetuation of misogynoir. Though, I am still learning ways to move throughout society, these tapestries serve as a glimpse into the times in which I have taken a step back to examine my encounters and sat with the degradation.
Going Beyond is a project that was conceptualized over 3 months and is apart of an ongoing series titled What Is A Rough Face? and involved digital manipulation, fabric dyeing, shibori immersion dyeing, appliqué, pattern making, and machine sewing along with other methods used in the textile making process.
The creative processes for creating my tapestries and audiovisual component were involved and inspired by processes I used in a previous piece entitled “You’re Not A Team Player.” My usage of abstraction, references to androgyny, puppetry, and color as emotion were aspects that needed to be furthered, developed, and explored with Going Beyond. The background was formed around the foreground's abstracted figure to reflect their actions and how a person's environment can impact them.
Pattern-making was a vital aspect of assembling Going Beyond, as it mapped out the blueprint that informed the entire process. It facilitated the arrangement of my color palette, shapes, and textures, allowing me to convey my artistic vision accurately. A thoughtfully designed pattern helped maintain consistency and balance on the tapestry.
Mapping for Going Beyond was necessary for the proper placement of fabric values in relation to the desired negative space.
In the process of creating Going Beyond, I began by dyeing two yards of cotton cloth in a dark green shade using an immersion bath. After washing and drying the cloth, I then utilized broomstick shibori wrapping and treated it with thiox to remove targeted areas of green. Further hand-washing and drying followed. I repeated this with shibori pole wrapping, immersing the fabric in a dark turquoise bath, and letting it dry while wrapped. The base brown layer was achieved through a modified recipe combining scarlet and a peer's brown dye recipe. Immersion dyeing for about an hour was crucial for the deep brown colors. Dark brown required a two-hour soak, followed by hand washing and line drying. The reddish-brown shade involved two dye rounds. Lighter browns used shorter dye baths without synthrapol washing. Assembly represented abstracted human skin values, emphasizing how an environment affects individuals' actions.