Heidi Field-Alvarez and the Ephemeral

Hard to BreatheHeidi Field-Alvarez let Clairan Ferrono into the secrets of her auction piece:

Field-Alvarez: Hard to Breathe is the first in a new series of work for me.  Over the years I have been working with transparent materials and using lots of layering. In this series, in contrast to a traditional quilt, my desire is for the inside of the quilt to be seen.  Conceptually, my work deals with ephemerality and our relationship to change. In this particular piece and series, I am exploring human anatomy and connecting it with our greater environment. This idea for my work to evoke themes of ephemerality and change came about for several reasons.  The first was my transition into motherhood.  There is so much change involved both mentally and physically when one gives birth.  As many mothers can understand, you learn your body in new ways, and this has translated into my work. You also begin to form bonds socially which are unlike your relationships before you gave birth. At this juncture I began to think of my place in the greater environment.  The second reason, which is more directly related to this piece and this series, was the passing of my brother a few years ago.  This was unexpected and tragic and has left my family with lots of mending to do.  I have always seen and used my work as a meditation and this has been vital to me and my work in these past years. It is also why I began to explore anatomy. It is a fascination that I think was already there but was urged forward by events in my life.

“Hard to Breathe” is a reflection of these events. It is constructed with silk organza, lace, Solvy (water soluble material) natural dyes and embroidery floss. It is therefore quite fragile and to me mimics our exsistance here on our planet. These are all materials I use over and over again for their transparency and lightness.  The heart is drawn on Solvy and then dry natural dye is placed inside and it is sewn up. It is my version of trapunto!  It is then encased in the organza and lace, so it is essentially the batting, the part that is meant to keep you warm!  In some of my works I would take this piece a step further and develop of kind of system to pass water over it to release the dye but I chose to keep this one as is.


Heidi Field-Alvarez
Richmond, VA


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