Water Works by Lisa Covert

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Lisa Covert is a fiber artist, dyer and bookbinder in Dallas, Texas.

Her work ranges from fiber paintings to installations to handmade books to sculptures. She is currently making paintings and three-dimensional art using shibori techniques in mixed media, encompassing wet and dry felting; various dyeing techniques; found objects from nature; and strokes and textures made from a variety of fibers.

Her work is in private collections and has been included in juried shows hosted by the Craft Guild of Dallas, Dallas Area Fiber Artists, and other area venues.

She served on the board of the Craft Guild of Dallas and as president of from 2013 through 2014. She currently serves on the board of the Dallas Area Fiber Artists and is an artist-in-residence at the 18th Airspace at the Gladys Harrington Library in Plano through May 2017.

She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Indiana State University.  She continues to take classes and workshops to hone her skills.



For the Water Works series of hand-dyed paintings, I am exploring a multi-step process of combining ice and indigo dying with shibori techniques. Shibori is a method of manipulating cloth to resist dye that started in Japan in the 8th century.

Shibori is contemplative. Using repetition in its techniques builds intricacies and textures. Binding, stitching, folding, twisting, pleating, pressing, wrapping, and coiling are all shibori techniques that result in different patterns. These techniques can be combined to achieve unlimited textures and patterns. The American version, tie dye, uses some of these techniques.

Ice dyeing gives a watercolor effect that is unique. Ice dyeing is as it sounds, putting cloth in a vessel, covering it with ice and then spooning on dye powder. The melting ice wets the dye causing it to flow in any direction onto the cloth and in some cases, break apart into separate colors. Using color theory and grain tests to see what colors make up each individual dye, I work on controlling as much of an uncontrollable process as possible. Many paintings in this series use a dye combination of the three primary colors: red, blue and yellow.

Indigo is my personal symbol of water. I have a thirty gallon indigo vat that I use as the final dye step of the process. I use an additive formula, so I can dye the paintings multiple times to achieve the desired intensity of color.

I am fascinated by the changing and fluid aspects of water. From a beach in Hawaii to a stream in Puerto Vallarta I am captivated by the changing colors and textures of water. The way the water flows depending on its location and designation. The way water is so dependent on its surroundings and the forces exerted on it just to be seen. The way it changes color depending on its environments. It is clear but reflects all. Sunlight on water. Currents on water. Water on water. Rocks, coral, sand, humans. What water reveals and how it changes what it reveals.

I capture water using water techniques. I use water in all three of its phases: ice, water and steam in my art.

I describe the complexities of water in two environments: ocean and river. How to describe and differentiate the aspects of water in these two different surroundings? What shibori techniques can I learn and use that will evoke attributes of water?

I take the colors of oceans and rivers for my two palettes. Ocean is cool colors – blues, greens, purples, turquoises and the river is greens, bronzes and golds. Both palettes are interlaced and unified with indigo.