Pandemic Projects: Two Worlds of Larry Schulte
March 12, 2021
The two worlds: the world before Covid and the world now.
My creative training is in the areas of painting and weaving. At some point in my artistic career, more than forty years ago, the two merged and I began creating woven painted paper works. The process is a simple one:
- paint two pieces of paper (I use 100% cotton paper)
- cut one of the paintings into strips and attach the strips to stretcher bars
- cut painting 2 into strips and weave into painting one
- attach ends of painting 2 to stretcher bars for completed piece
This process allows me to make large woven painted paper pieces. The largest I have made were six panels, each 8’ x 4’ and used as a stage set. Most of my work in this media are in a 3’ to 5’ range.
Though the process is simple, my work looks complex for two reasons. The paintings have each become complex. The weaving structure, rather than being a simple tabby weave (over, under, over, under) has been replaced by a twill weave variation (over 2, under 1, over 2, under 1).
Since the pandemic hit in March of 2020, I have not been able to work in my studio on these large woven painted paper pieces.
I needed to find something smaller, that I could work on at home. I had already been considering a collage with machine stitching project, and had completed a stitched collage piece in the studio. To that end, I had purchased several used books with interesting images, with the thought of cutting up the images for collage pieces. One of the books was titled “Fritz Kahn”. Fritz Kahn was a German doctor (1888-1968) who was interested in illustrating how the human body worked as if the body’s systems and organs were machines. The book is an oversize coffee table style book. In looking through the book, it occurred to me that rather than cut up the images, I could simply use the pages as a base for works on which I would collage and stitch.
Somehow, though my work has always been about color and pattern, it seemed appropriate during Covid-19 to include body images, as a statement on the frailty of the human body. The completed works are all 12” x 9” and over 60 have been completed.
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We know that this past year has been very trying and traumatic for so many people around the world. While we want to spotlight the work our members have been doing throughout the year, I (Lauren Sinner, SDA Managing Editor) wanted to take a second to say that it’s also ok if you haven’t been making work. The pandemic is not an artist residency, and you shouldn’t be expected to make great work during this time. There’s so much to process and deal with and it never seems to end, so please remember to take care of yourself, both mentally and physically.