Artist Profile: Mardell Rampton

Artist Mardell Rampton creates multi-layered textile paintings, using hundreds of dyed and painted rectangular pieces of cloth. She explains her process.

 

“Beaches #1” Cotton, Bamboo and Thread, 28” x 23” by artist Mardell Rampton. See her artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org.

“Beaches #1” Cotton, Bamboo and Thread, 28” x 23”

 

ABI:  You use a very involved process in creating each piece of your fiber art. Walk us through your technique.

MR:  One of the things I love about my process is the interaction with the cloth at every stage. To begin, I start with white cotton, introducing colour by applying thickened dyes, or dyeing with low water immersion techniques. Even in this first stage there are many interactions with the cloth….preparing it for the dye, applying the dye, creating the conditions for the chemical bond of the dye to the cloth, and processing the cloth after the dye bonding completes.

 

“Beaches #2” Cotton, Bamboo and Thread, 24” x 21”by artist Mardell Rampton. See her artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org.

“Beaches #2” Cotton, Bamboo and Thread, 24” x 21”

 

Once the cloth is ready for use, I choose one of my series topics, for example, “totems”, and select a palette for the painting. In addition to the cloth I’ve dyed or painted, I may include commercial batik cloth in the palette selections.

 

Artist Mardell Rampton at work in her studio. See her artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org.

Artist Mardell Rampton at work in her studio.

 

Every painting is composed of hundreds of organically shaped thin rectangles. I start at the top of the painting, choosing a piece of cloth, finding the part of the cloth that feels like it belongs in that spot in the painting; allowing my eye, my heart and my hand to shape each rectangle, intuitively guiding the progressions and interplays of colour, shape and texture.

 

“Beaches #4” Cotton, Bamboo and Thread, 24” x 20”by artist Mardell Rampton. See her artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org.

“Beaches #4” Cotton, Bamboo and Thread, 24” x 20”

 

Each artwork comes to life, rectangle by rectangle, stitch by stitch, row by row until the surface layer is completed. The composition is then layered over bamboo batting, and cotton backing. Texture and additional colour are added by densely stitching meters upon meters of thread over the whole painting.

 

“Beaches #5” Cotton, Bamboo and Thread, 20” x 16” by artist Mardell Rampton. See her artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org.

“Beaches #5” Cotton, Bamboo and Thread, 20” x 16”

 

The next step is to pull thread ends from the surface to the back of the painting, and knot and bury them in the batting layer, a peaceful, meditative process. The final steps create beautiful finished edges, and often involve mounting the artwork on gallery wrapped canvas.

 

“Totems #2” Cotton, Bamboo and Thread, 10” x 20” by artist Mardell Rampton. See her artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org.

“Totems #2” Cotton, Bamboo and Thread, 10” x 20”

 

ABI:  As an artist, you call yourself a textile painter. Do you relate more closely to the fine art world?

MR:  Yes, I do. At the beginning of my career, I simply thought of my work as a painting made of cloth. During various open studio and gallery events, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with many visitors. Thru these conversations, I’ve come to realize that the artworks are paintings on several levels. Firstly, I am painting colour on to the cloth. When I’m creating the surface layer of a painting, each thin rectangle cut from the cloth is like a brush stroke of colour.

 

“Totems #3” Cotton, Bamboo and Thread, 10” x 20”by artist Mardell Rampton. See her artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org.

“Totems #3” Cotton, Bamboo and Thread, 10” x 20”

 

With the addition of the thread, another layer of colour is applied over the entire surface of the painting. Sometimes I also add acrylic paint to the finished painting. So, similar to painters working in other mediums, my pieces have numerous layers of colour by the time they reach completion.

 

“Totems #4” Cotton, Bamboo and Thread, 12” x 20” by artist Mardell Rampton. See her artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org.

“Totems #4” Cotton, Bamboo and Thread, 12” x 20”

 

ABI:  What is the purpose behind your monthly blog and how has that enhanced your business?

MR:  The purpose of my monthly blog is to share information about my creative process, my life as an artist and things that inspire me (places, colours, etc). These posts have encouraged dialog with my followers, and given them a window into how and why I create my art. It also helps me to think about my art from a different perspective, often leading me in new directions.

 

 

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