Big Bend Arts Council

 

  PO Box 1764, Alpine, TX  79831

Carol H. Fairlie

 

VISUAL STORYTELLER

    I am a painter first and consider myself a colorist within that area, but I also have a second studio degree in jewelry/ metal-smithing. Around 2012, I chose to move from wrought silver working with cabochons to wire wrapping since the cost and time were more effective. At the same time, I didn’t want to compete with other local wire wrappers, so I looked for something that would set my work apart. As a watercolorist, silk painting was an easy choice, and “Cabochon Silks” became a reality. My silks are sometimes painted to match the cabochon on the necklace, but range out farther to include area landscapes and abstracted color patterns based in nature.

   Meanwhile in the studio I was experimenting with fused and slumped glass. Since I have always been fascinated by color and color theory, glass by nature adds to that love with it’s inherent translucent qualities. From glass cabochon pendants and dichroic earrings, I slowly moved into larger slumped plates and vessels, and now painting on glass has become a even bigger fascination. 

   Another area I like to work in is printmaking, and I create many linotypes and woodcuts. Lately I have begun to incorporate printmaking with glass and with fabric. I try to keep a unity among all the media as I create, working one week on one, and then responding to that work the next week. It definitely keeps me busy. And yes, I still paint!

More about Fairlie's Artwork and Her Methods

Silk Painting and Dying

  The silk paintings are created by stretching silk onto large stretcher bars and either free-handing the dye or using a freehand resist to control the dye. The colors are mixed like watercolor, but are liquid. The scarves are usually done five at a time and then steamed for three hours to set the color. They are then hand washed and pressed.


Wire-Wrapped Silk Necklaces

  Cabochon Silk necklaces are a combination of painted silk scarves and cabochons: the dye is specifically mixed to match the colors in a natural polished cabochon of jasper or agate, or a handmade piece of fused glass.

Fused and Slumped Glass

Fusing glass is a process of stacking two to three layers of glass, then firing them in a kiln to various temperatures to fuse them together. Slumping is the process of placing the fused glass piece in a mold and re-firing it until it slumps down into the form.

  I often use paint on my glasswork. For both Celtic and "local species" designs, I choose colors that relate to and enhance the subject matter. The Celtic thistles are surrounded with edges that speak of the heather and hills, perhaps even the plaid of the tartan. With the animal species images I create, I use the beiges, grays, and greens of the desert. The process for the species series was to cut a rubber linotype that I could use to print onto the surface of the glass, since the rubber works well to conform to the undulations in the glass surface. I then paint the image with an overlay of color and an outline. The print allows me to replicate the image closely each time.


Linotypes

   Although I do traditional carving, linoleum has always been a favorite. As I experimented with brands, I discovered EZ cut, which is a workable rubber block that can be "freecut," and is flexible for printing on odd surfaces such as glass and fiber. The word “linotype” refers to the concept that the “Matrix”  image remains the same but the background changes.