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Archive for March, 2009

dimensionalweave1

These images are from a small sample I did for my weaving class in preparation for our final. Because I completed a full double cloth sampler last semester, this semester I was asked to focus on dimensional weaving, or the stuffing of woven pockets during the creation of the cloth.

Double Cloth is a process in which two planes of cloth are woven simultaneously. Don’t ask me how, it’s magic. With this process, through the use of different treadle tie-ups, one can weave tubes, pockets, and seams in the middle of the cloth or on either side (in this way, one can weave a piece of cloth that is twice as wide as the loom by weaving a seam on the right or left which can then be opened up once taken off the loom). One can also do pick-up, which is the selective weaving of chosen threads to create a pictoral work. This sample was woven using pickup, and each green space is a pocket, some of which are stuffed.

I fondly call this sample Rather Strange Little Shrubberies.

dimensionalweaving2

dimensionalweaving3

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And other woes, etc.

Today I had the (painful) pleasure of viewing the Cezanne and Beyond exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It’s a shame really, because the exhibit was beautifully curated, with works ranging from Ellsworth Kelly to Max Beckmann (and beyond!), displayed seamlessly in a breathtaking, open space- complete with complementary pre-recorded messages chattering along in your ear as you moved from painting to painting. In a way, I enjoyed the fact that nine out of ten people accepted the audio tour without question, because that just meant I got an almost silent tour of the exhibit, just me and my thoughts- unless, of course, I was standing within three feet of any given person, because then I could hear the little electronic voices circumventing their ears and bouncing back in the air towards my own. That being said, it was almost impossible to not be within three feet, or even one foot, of any given person because the exhibit was so packed. Let me mention briefly the entire shop dedicated to the exhibit that greeted you immediately upon exit, filled with fashionable items for you to fill your home with to show your friends just how cultured you are. The amount of money that the museum must have made on this one exhibit, today alone, makes me weep. Side note: I have noticed that people are more apt to run into you and not pay any attention at all to where they are going when they are plugged in.

And I wonder- how in the name of all that is good is anyone supposed to enjoy art that way? Packed up against eachother like cattle, breathing in the same preconcieved lectures through our auditory senses? How much more can we be removed from art? I was under the impression that we went to museums to see art for ourselves, to think about art for ourselves, out of the contexts of books and historians and critics telling us how to think about art and what art means. To engage in discussions with eachother, to start conversations. But no, this was art as commodity more than I have ever seen before, a room full of alienated people looking at Cezanne and nodding along to their headphones and I wonder, what did they feel?

Well I feel ripped off. $22 for a ticket where I had to punch people in the face (almost) to get close enough to anything to appreciate it. It’s things like this that question my involvement in the arts. When my art becomes a commodity, I quit.

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Now on Flickr

Just a quick update as I’m between projects. You can now view my full portfolio, including non-fiber work, on my Flickr account. Click and rejoice!

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dsc_1245

After my last post, I talked out my options with a few people and decided that what was right for critique today was to leave the edges for this piece as they were, but I did decide to add the book element to my installation because I felt it was important to reference the written material in a direct way that forced the viewer into the piece and to interact with the piece. In a way, it’s also an echo of me trying to find a solution to my pick-up piece from last semester, where I was battling with the importance of the story and the relevance of performing the act of storytelling during the installation of the cloth. By replacing my voice with the book, which carries my voice for me, the viewer creates a sort of self-dialogue, a self performance. In this instance, I felt that the book installation was necessary to the experience of the piece because my current work is about not only the story or the body of work the words create, but the process of the writing itself. The book comes to rest approximately in the middle of the cloth, and is suspended from wax thread attached to a nail, which is driven through the top of the cloth nearer to the top.

dsc_1235

I had an exceptionally good critique experience this time around. I feel like weaving crits are infinitely better and more sophisticated than any other crits I get at MICA, and I love that because I think the critique is so important to the development of the work. Good critiques inspire growth, and looking at others’ work and talking about it is an excellent source of inspiration. I admit I was surprised that no one mentioned my edges until my professor explicitly asked the group to address my decision in that area, which just goes to show how much can be said for the content of weaving before the technique is even considered. For the most part, the conclusion was that I should have hemmed the edges, but there was a solid dialogue of understanding that took place between all parties, those defending my silly edges and those pushing for a clean-up. What impressed me most was that while I have encountered critiques in which students have been very hostile towards me, attacking me, the artist, as much as my work, I find that in critiquing weaving, there is a deep respect for the intentions of the artist that allows for a significant amount of room for level-headed discussion.

All that being said, I always get excited with how much there is to be said about weaving. This morning my roommate asked me, what do you talk about when you talk about weaving? Essentially: How do you crit cloth? My reply was that a piece of cloth is just like any other piece of art, and should be treated accordingly. When we talk about art we talk about technique, craftsmanship, content and context, and none of this changes because the greater world sees what I do as craft. I always wonder how other people are talking about weaving, and what is being said, because I only get the perspective of the small bubble that is my classroom, where concept is the king. But I also think that a lot of people don’t know how to talk about weaving, so I thought I would share some notes from my enlightening night. (more…)

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At this exact moment in time I am overwhelmed by choice.

There is an inherent problem in working as a fiber artist. The techniques that we use have been around for thousands of years; cultures have always woven, spun, and embroidered just about everything. And for the most part, there haven’t been a whole lot of changes to these techniques over the years. There are variations, to be sure, but the same processes, tools, and machines get the same results. Because of this, it is often difficult to separate historical associations with something such as a woven piece of cloth with the cloth itself.

Here is my problem: I’m sitting on my bed, my latest cloth draped over my door and my eyes twitching in a sort of frenzied panic. I just spent the past hour or so hemming the top and bottom edges so that they appear even and clean- but what of the sides? Truth be told, the edges are a little wonky in the way that the first scarf you ever knit is wonky; the edges undulate in and out like I was on NyQuil while I was weaving. So the question remains: what to do with this? Do I hem the edges so that everything is even from top to bottom, or do I accept the cloth as it was made and display it in all of its uneven glory?

(more…)

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fulldropspindle

settingthetwist

Setting the twist- this jar will be immersed in a bucket of water.

I have officially decided I am never spinning for fun ever again. It’s a real workout with a drop spindle, and a real headache if you’re trying to set the twist without a niddy noddy.

I find myself at odds a lot with the techniques that relate to my field of study; there are a lot of love/ hate, bored to death/ thrilled beyond reason feelings going on. I like the idea of spinning (the idea of knitting, crocheting, etc.) but I’m learning more and more that while I admire the skill of others in these areas, I’d really rather just stick to the things I love instead of trying to make myself love things that I think I should love. Example: the MICA fiber department is crazy about surface design (i.e. screen printing, shibori, etc.) and I feel kinda bad because honestly, I’m not a fan of doing that sort of work at all and sometimes I think there’s something wrong with my fiber-majoring genes. But I’ve managed to come down to this conclusion: while it’s good to have a basic knowledge of all of these techniques, I don’t have to practice them constantly if it doesn’t relate to my practices as an artist.  Although, I am particularly proud of this one little ball:

ballofgreenmarino

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dropspindle
I decided to pick up my merino wool again- this time with some real conviction! Much like knitting, I don’t find spinning to be a very interesting or satisfying a process, but the results are probably worth it. I plan on using whatever yarn I spin to revist some small “tapestry” panels I started months ago; I’ll probably start spinning some thinner stuff when I start up again for some embroidery work and use the rest of the yarn for crocheting. If I get tired of spinning, I might do some (needle?!)  felting, provided I get up the energy/ figure out how that works. So far, it’s a craftily productive Spring Break.

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