Scott Bodenner is a gifted textile designer, polymath, and friend. He trained as a hand weaver, with a degree from RISD and early on-the-job experience with a German textile mill. He has a unique perspective on industrial mill capabilities and limitations, to which he brings a deeply held concern for recycling. One of his favorite books is Victor Papanek’s Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change .
I am lucky to have had the chance to work with Scott to produce a custom bolt of synthetic artist’s canvas using recycled polymer. I recently sat down with Scott to talk about that project and ask the questions that a painter might have for a textile savant.
Before (left) and after(right) photos from MoMA’s conservation of Jackson Pollock’s Number 1A showing work to reduce discoloration of raw cotton canvas.
NASA photos comparing the Aral Sea in 1989 (left) and 2014 (right).
The Arnold Print Works in North Adams Massachusetts produced 330 miles of cloth in 1905. Forced to close in 1942 due to low prices, the complex is now home to MASS MoCA, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.
Fabric under gentle tension . Roy McMakin chairs upholstred in fabric by Scott Bodenner
Mix Tape is a recycled fabric designed by Scott Bodenner using recycled cassette tape along with other recycled yarns
Five months of hand-painted circles on the eight foot canvas “Sightline” are compressed into these two minutes of time-lapse animation. Even though the resulting video looks like speed-painting, what’s going on in the studio is pretty carefully considered!
I made this video as a diy instant-replay for myself, hoping to learn something that will make me a better painter. The resulting clip is fascinating for several dramatic changes to the painting and the many layers of paint it reveals.
Music is a Library of Congress field recording: Title: Devil’s dream Contributor Names: Mann, Thomas (performing on hammered dulcimer) Cowell, Sidney Robertson (collector) Archive of Folk Culture (Library of Congress) Created / Published: 1937.
These are unusual prints. When you see them in person, it’s obvious immediately. They are shiny. Like silver-leaf shiny. They shimmer. When you reach out to touch one, they suddenly reflect the color of your own hand. When the sunlight streaming through the skylights here at the studio is interrupted by a passing cloud, the change is startling. Words fail, so here’s a video:
How’s that possible? Well, because The Wanderer prints are made over aluminum leaf. The entire image area of each piece is covered with aluminum leaf by hand before they are printed with an archival, black-ink only digital image. Aluminum leaf is great because it doesn’t tarnish rapidly like genuine silver leaf would. And we use a black-ink-only printing process because we’re a little bit Amish like that.
The images in the prints were generated while working on one drawing over a period of about a year. Each “state” is a kind of snapshot of this one drawing at a point in time. As time progresses, the drawing gets darker. So the progression through the five prints is a progression into a twilight of sorts. To nudge that idea a little further, two of the prints contain additional touches of gold leaf. State 3 has flecks of gold that roughly correspond to the position of stars in the night sky surrounding the constellation Ophiuchus, or the serpent bearer. The last of the Wanderer prints, State 5, is accented with a thin crescent of gold– a waning crescent moon.
The aluminum-leafed image area of each print measures 6″ by 8″ and the outside dimensions of the paper are 8″ by 10″. It’s the perfect size for looking at up close. Each state is part of a very limited edition of fifteen prints. The nature of the hand-applied aluminum leaf means that there are small differences between each of the 15 prints of any given edition. I think you’ll find that these imperfections are lovely and add value.