Jill Valezuela’s perfectly imperfect botanical prints


As a mixed media artist I have consciously chosen to not have a specific agenda in creating my work. Instead, I prefer to create intuitively. I start with a vision in my head and from there this vision translates into reality after I’ve selected my materials, knowing that once I start making the ‘Thing’ it will evolve into what it chooses to become.
Nature is my primary source of inspiration. The changes in nature are so perfectly imperfect. This is what I love. The Japanese use a term wabi sabi – “Imperfect, Impermanent, Incomplete.” Accepting beauty in all of its imperfections.
After many years of creating in various media, I discovered and fell in love with botanical printing, natural dyeing and rust printing. These processes demonstrate the essence of wabi sabi and the true meaning of ‘zen’: accepting what appears and creating something positive from that outcome. This spontaneous approach is a much more creative process for me.
I also consider my self a mark maker as much as an artist. Making marks on fiber and then transforming them with stitching, embroidery, sewing, drawing and painting techniques is assimilated into my mixed media art.
There is a positive energy that into every piece of work that I create and I trust my intuition. I hardly start with a sketch, and I choose not to document or take notes on what I am working on. I prefer not to repeat a piece of work, whether it’s natural dyeing or botanical printing. With botanical printing and rust dyeing it’s always a one-of-a-kind piece. That is just the nature of the medium.
With botanical printing the creation is bundled and the fabric is cooked. There is an exhilaration and anticipation of how it will print that attracted me to this process. Opening the bundle and seeing the results is magical! Sometimes there is some disappointment when there’s very little print marks of the leaves and flowers in the bundle. The ‘zen’ is to turn this particular fabric back into a magnificent piece of art. I usually set those aside and wait for an inspiration to arise before I proceed intuitively.
The botanical printing and rust dyeing process allows me to mark my place in time. An unpredictable complex emotion marks time as rust erodes whatever it touches. Life events are very similar. Likewise, botanical printing is a slow process of collecting leaves, weeds, flowers, etc. from nature then combining these with fiber to encapsulate that moment in time.
Ultimately, I like to think of myself as a mixed media artist who makes experimental pieces in a revolutionary way. My intuition and energy push me un the medium further than the last piece created. It is a way of marking my life in time while I am here. It is my way of manifesting and it becomes ineffable.
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