Tafi Brown


Alstead, NH
United States

Artist Statement
While using the sun, using a camera and a darkroom and making my own kodaliths is still my favorite way of making an actual cyanotype print or photogram on cotton, while my kind of photojournalism, and the original way of making cyanotypes remain central to my art, in the 2000s, because of travel to Japan, market changes and the proliferation of workshops in this country, I had many more choices in terms of the cloth that I used for my quilts. I was excited to find more variation in the colors and textures available in commercial cloth as well as what was available using hand dyed cloth that I made and that I purchased from other quilters. The first time I ever tried to do a cyanotype print on a colored piece of fabric happened during this series.

Because of a variety of circumstances beyond my control, my quilt making in this series took place over a wider period of time: two decades. The pieces also became smaller, with more attention to detail. More attention was paid to the use of machine stitching, appliqué, embroidery, the use of ribbon in some cases and different methods of putting a whole piece together. I always like to explore and to try different approaches to, and ways of composing. In one particular piece, “NinePatch”, all the cloth I used was Japanese (except for the cloth on which I printed my cyanotypes). I composed and finished each 6” square as a standalone piece. I then arranged these individual pieces and machine stitched them to canvas using woven cloth specific to this region of Japan as a border.

In some ways I made a huge stretch in this series. In other ways I remained true to my love of tradition. For me, the pieces show the colors associated with festivals and commercial shopping spaces, a variety of temples and sites in this area of Japan, the peacefulness of parks and the winter light in those parks, a variety of symbols and non verbal communication, the beauty of architectural details of buildings, various aspects of children’s education.