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Archive for December, 2008

candyhouses

Tis the season! With a week left of finals, Jacqueline, Bryan, and I (respectively) decided to do a little de-stresser in the holiday spirit by building graham cracker houses. My other roommate, Andrea, also built one (the Empire State Building, she’s an environmental design major), but I didn’t get a good picture of it and now it resides in our fridge, just waiting to be eaten. Don’t they look scrumptious? My favourite is Jacqueline’s, which we dubbed the insane asylum. It was falling apart all over the place, but it was definitely made with love.

Since I’ve had a lot of time to lazy around, being mostly done with finals and all, I’ve had more time to contemplate what exactly I need to do to be ready to propose a show with Jacqueline in the spring, make inventory to get my website and Etsy shop up and running, and keep my sanity by doing the things I love.

dudeyarn

I bought this yarn at MICA’s Art Market the other day, and I couldn’t resist knitting it already- the color is so wonderful! I started out making a scarf, seeing as that’s the only thing I can actually knit, and then realizing that the yarn is a tad to scratchy for wearing, I decided that I’m going to make a wall hanging instead. It’ll give me an excuse to use the felt I made last year for some applique work and embroidery. Now all I need is some imagery. Perhaps some more Russian folktales?

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lana1
Our final crit for the pickup project was on Monday, and I meant to update then when the comments from critique were fresh in my mind, but I was so exhausted I just went to bed instead.  Luckily I take extensive notes, not only on my own critique (which lasted a full forty-five minutes this week- wow!) but on everyone’s crits as well. You learn a lot when discussing the work of others.

The reception of my piece was very successful, though the installation of it wasn’t what I wanted it to be, and thus I feel slightly defeated. My intention, as shown above and in the details below, was to roll the piece in on itself so parts were concealed to mimic a scroll in as non-literal a way as possible. The problem was that I was reluctant to roll the cloth around anything, and so the weight of the cloth pulled the piece down and squished the roll against the wall, making it look sloppy and lacking in intent. I guess the thing I have most to think about in the next few days is how to revise my installation plan, especially if it’s going to hang in the show in January, before we meet on Monday to discuss which pieces will hang in the show.
lana2

What it comes down to is what I find most important in this piece. For me, to begin with, it was the process, and how the process of pickup mimics the impromptu nature of storytelling, especially in the folk tradition how things change as passed from person to person or even by the same person when told over and over again. It’s an evolution of thoughts and ideas that shift subtly, but can change the entire course of the story. So for me, then, this piece was an exercise in storytelling while I was at the loom, and thus the product, the piece of cloth, is a coincidental result of that storytelling, and I wasn’t sure how important that cloth actually was, or even how important the content of the cloth was; the class was challenged to interpret the story, and one of the girls took the challenge, and I was pleased that someone was able to make up their own story from my images.

Then I had an experience, after taking it off the loom but before the critique, where I was sitting around with friends, the cloth laid out on the floor, doing the knots to finish it off, and someone asked me if it was a narrative. I said that it was, asked if she wanted to hear the story, and so I began to tell it to her. By the end of it, I realized that everyone in the room had stopped what they were doing to listen to me, and all eyes were on me. The power of storytelling, huh?

So I related that story to my class, and they insisted that I tell the story, and after that the critique took a much different direction. It was a performance piece, they said. I should find a way to tell the story with the piece, or make it interactive, or have a book for people to write their own stories. Of course, I’m uncertain as to just how important the performance is to the piece, if that one performance in the quiet of my friends’ apartment was enough, or if that needs to be shared somehow in the gallery space.

Or maybe it just simply isn’t meant for the gallery. Perhaps it is a private piece. I’m still figuring it out, but I have to think fast.

lana3

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Busy busy busy. The holiday season, and finals, are upon us, and everyone here at MICA is running around with half finished scarves attachted to their knitting needles to sell at the Art Market and barely dry paintings on their way to final crit. Lucky for me, I opted out of Art Market this year (lack of inventory) and I’m finished with all of my studio work for finals, so I’m just lazying around writing papers when the mood strikes and a napping- a lot of napping. I did do something fairly productie this weekend; a bunch of us sat around watching Hook and the snowfall outside making one-of-a-kind stuffed animals for children at St. Vincent’s Hospital- with minimal success. I started out with a giraffe and wound up with a sorry looking pony, but the leader of the group assured us that all of the toys would be loved. I’m sure she’s right.

Final crit on my pick-up project later today. I’m going in to class early to install my work and then I have a meeting with my instructor and a few other students to discuss the details of the Spring weaving show. This is starting to seem like a very, very good year for me.

I can’t wait to take notes during the crit and see what everyone has to say about one another’s work; the last crit was so successful and left me with a lot to think about. I’ll post pictures of my installation and the full piece of cloth later tonight after class, and hopefully I’ll have some new insights to share.

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dscn4469The first eight inches or so of the cloth

I spent eight straight hours at the loom yesterday, but I finished my final, a full week early. It was tedious and backbreaking, but I’m really happy with the results and I’m glad I pushed myself to work harder to get it done. It measures approximately 9″ by 50″, not including the fringe on either end. It reads as a story from bottom to top, something I spent a lot of time thinking about artistically and logistically and I don’t regret my decision. The way the piece is displayed is rather essential to the work as a whole, so I’ll refrain from posting full pictures until after my critique next week, when I have time to set it up properly.

The Process

dscn4471

dscn4472

The above two pictures are just to show you the process of pickup; in the top picture you can see where the blue threads have been picked up and the white thread has been shot across the fabric, and in the bottom picture you can see the different planes of thread that work to create the double cloth fabric. This particular pickup project was done based on the principle of dark and light color groups. To get images in this particular process, I start by raising all of the dark (blue) colored threads (in this case, harness one and two) and picking up, either with a knitting needle, as shown above, or a pickup stick or dowel, any threads in that particular line that will contribute to the image. For the first two passes of the shuttle, first one half of the light (white) threads are raised and the shuttle is passed, and then the same is done with the second half of the light threads (in this case, first harness two and then four). I then pick up all of the light threads and pick up the reverse of what I picked up in the blue threads, and follow the same concept of raising one half of the blue threads and then the other half for the next two shuttle passes. This is done for each individual line. It’s possible to grid out your image on graph paper before hand, and weave exactly as you plan, or you can take a more free form approach- which is always my approach. The finer the thread, the less pixelated the image (words, patterns, etc.) look. I was using a cotton with about a 44 epi, so you can see what that gives you. There are some finer figures in the image at the end of this post.

In other news-

It has been announced that there will be a weaving show at MICA going up on January 31st, and with any luck I’ll be able to display this piece and my Ikat piece in that show, as well as help curate it since I’ll also be taking the Spring weaving course.

dscn4473An Interlude of folk imagery, about halfway up

I’ll be taking this piece, as well as the doublecloth sample and my ikat piece to a high school tomorrow to do group critique and a college Q & A with high school seniors. If I get through this week, expect updates on my towel project and embroidery work this weekend.

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