Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Take Me To The Mardi Gras--Rian

Take Me To The Mardi Gras
Rian Ammerman, March 2010

Size: 32: x 22"

Cotton batiks. Jacquard Textile and Lumiere fabric paint. Machine quilted with metallic and rayon thread.

Artist's Statement: When I first saw the picture I was immediately drawn to the plain white doll in the lower right. All the other dolls had been painted with pretty eyes and rosy cheeks, but this figure was white.

I saw her as a blank canvas waiting to be given features and a personality. Thinking this doll could be anyone or anything she wanted to be, I listened to her, and she told me that she wanted to be fancy and have some fun. She said she had been waiting for this for a long time, and she wanted to go to a carnival like the ones in Venice and Rio, and dance in the street all night long. The title of the piece comes from a Paul Simon song.

The face was painted with Jacquard Lumiere paint, mixed with Jacquard Textile paint. I discovered that if you have the pearl color, you can mix any other Jacquard paints with it and get a pearlescent color. I also discovered that if you fuse the fabric to freezer paper, the paints flow smoothly and don't go through the fabric or bleed. The design was drawn on freezer paper and traced on the fabric with washable marker. The silver outlines were made with Scribbles Metallic Silver gel, which is also an excellent resist. Gemstones, which look like metal studs in the photo, are fused crystals. I had originally intended to quilt the entire piece before I added the mask because it has no quilting, but before I knew it the mask had been sewn down and I wasn't about to risk removing it. The mask has a double layer of white Kona cotton.

The donations chair of the Rally for the Cure asked me if I would consider donating "Mardi Gras" to be auctioned off at the tournament this year. Of course!! I was delighted she deemed it worthy (it could be a little strange hanging in your house, don't you think?) and I am happy that the piece is spoken for.


  1. What an exquisite Grand Finale to this month's Reveal! You have knocked it out of the ballpark, Rian! I would say this is your best piece ever. Bar None (it reminds me a bit of your Flamenco piece). Excellent!

  2. wow- in many ways this reminds me of your self-portrait. Bright, vibrant colors, movement- she makes me want to go out dancing! She's glitzy and full of glam, and a little bit mysterious all at once. Your quilting looks fabulous, I don't know how you got something this big done when you are selling a house and house-hunting in the same month.

  3. It's stellar, Rian! I love her "starry crown" exploding against the dark gorgeous background. She is quite the temptress. Très bien!

  4. I can see why this would be a good raffle piece. It's sure to have wide appeal with its beautiful colors and Mardi Gras theme. She's very pretty, Rian, but don't you think she's retained a bit of sadness too? Lovely work, as always.

    Thanks for the paint tips. I'm glad to know those. How did you do the faint shading around her nose and eyes?

  5. Pencil. Prismacolor black pencil, lightly shaded and smudged with Q-tip. I drew first with washout pen and filled in with light shading.

  6. It's beautiful and a little haunting as well. I enjoyed hearing about the painting tips-thanks so much. My favorite part is the shadow of her actual lips under the little pouty lipstick color. Reminds me of the painted face of a Geisha. The effect is wonderful. The quilting is lovely too.

  7. Rian, EVERYTHING about this piece is FABULOUS! I love how you chose one doll from the whole bench full to "play with". Your imaginative tale is wonderful. You've dressed her magnificently and placed her in a most proper setting for the story. That's a perfect batik in the background.
    I, too, thank you for your painting tips. I'm especially pleased to know about affixing the fabric to freezer paper so the paint will sit on the surface.

  8. WOW! This is really a stunning work! I love the colors you chose for the one doll. Excellent interpretation!!

  9. There isn't one thing I don't like here. The whole piece is really dynamic. I was happy to read about the techniques too-the freezer paper part especially. You got a real winner again-colors, shading, design. She is very "you" also.

  10. A bit late with my comment and most of my thoughts have already been mentioned. Fabulous piece. Love the movement it gives her and your story is delightful. Bravo!


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