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Archive for June, 2009

Earlier today I had an absolutely wonderful and insightful conversation with friend and fellow staff member Stephanie about the work I do in weaving and the work we both do in poetry. The first thing that really struck me on her end of the conversation that I wanted to share was the idea that cloth today is not as precious as in the past because of mass production. Case in point: most people never think about how the cloth they buy in the fabric store is made (it doesn’t just grow on trees!). It’s something I’ve never really thought of before, and we talked extensively about the art of living a “slow” life, the idea that taking the time to do tasks that are otherwise provided for us in a mass produced society does not equate to laziness, but instead reflects an ability to focus and share an appreciation of hard, processed work. Re-reading that, it makes little sense, but maybe it’ll make you think of something similar. I guess what we were saying is that removing yourself from the modern pace of society, to some extent, to revisit crafts and skills that have been forgotten or discarded in favor of an easier production can be an honorable thing. Trust me, our conversation was much more eloquent than my fatigued thoughts. (I’m going on my last day of TARC training for the MICA pre-college program and it’s been intense).

The other thing we talked about was writing (because I mentioned the connection I draw between weaving and writing) and something we talked about was being proud of what you write, and taking ownership of it. And blurring the lines between private and public work. Out of that conversation came some inspiration for me to share some more of my own work on this blog, especially since I’m always talking about how important interdisciplinary work is, and emphasizing both my writing and my weaving at the same time.

The following works come from my book from my second semester poetry class entitled You & Me. The rest of the poems after the jump.

1.
We make ourselves known
through richly paneled walls, chocolate drawn drapes
and the pronounced silence of hiding from essence
foot-forwardness

twice
Lady Victorian Dreamer and Level Headed Modernist have met
and she’s not supposed to be here, aware-
how the long, bone cigarette holder dangling from her careless lips
reminds him of her legs, reminds him of progress

she coughs, a mouse in hiding and he notices
and the thing is, some how-do-you dos simply get lost in
the theories of lipstick and gin
(more…)

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Like all pictures of me presenting my work, very awkward.

Like all pictures of me presenting my work, very awkward.

So, I don’t want to beat the rosette to death, but this was just a small weekend project of mine, making sweet, vintage-y, wearable hair pieces. Easy to make and looks great with full skirts and 50s hair.

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If you’re in Baltimore today, and haven’t yet made plans, then you might want to head down to St. Paul street for Pile of Craft! The handmade craft show features a bunch of great artists and crafters, including a personal fave, Miss Carly Goss of Baltimore weaving fame. The show is open till 5pm, so stop being on a computer and hurry down and stock up on gifts for family and friends!

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rosettes1

I’ve had this afghan for about two million years, the fringe is falling apart and there’s a solid rectangle of fabric that has disintegrated in one corner.  But I absolutely love it, with its alphabet farming theme that I will never quite understand. And the falling apart didn’t bother me, but the paint stains sure did, so I went ahead and whipped up some small, whaddyacallits, and now my blanket has some sweet fabric bling. Each little…er…rosette…was made using a CD for the circle template with a running stitch around the edge, pulled tight and cinched in, and voila! A quick and easy fix-up for many fabric mishaps. Not to mention I used an old pillowcase for the fabric. Recycled fabrics are the way to go! Just ask Sweet Pepita clothing.

Step by Step

Step One

Step One

Start by measuring out your circle. Using a CD for a template, I wound up with a rosette that had a diameter of approximately 2″.

Step Two

Step Two

You can hem or fray check the edges if you want. Sew a running stitch around the entire circumference of the circle.

Step Three

Step Three

Gently pull on the thread to gather the fabric in, press flat with the opening at the center, and tightly knot off your stitches!

rosettes2

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I never got around to posting a nice photograph of my unwrinkled weaving final, so here it is. Initially, I was not pleased with how this piece came out, but more and more, as I’ve looked at it without the projection, and run it through my hands, I have come to accept it and call it beautiful. There isn’t a thing I would change about it–if only I could find a way to have everyone on the internet touch it. If I’ve learned one thing through the process of creating this cloth, it’s just how important and powerful the sense of touch is to this craft.

Memory Cloth, 2009, Tencel and Bamboo, 14" x 29"

Memory Cloth, 2009, Tencel and Bamboo, 14" x 29"

I submitted this piece, along with two others, to the Fiberarts Magazine call for student entries. Below is the statement that accompanied my submission, and I think it does a good job of summing up the nature of my work and why I create in this way:

My work is an opportunity to tell stories through experimentation in variations of color and pattern to create imagery and impressions of memory.  I see weaving as a way to evoke the essence of my stories in tactile narratives with a focus on cultural and personal folklore. For me, I see importance in the cultural and historical relevance of handmade cloth, with each piece acting as a public heirloom upon which personal memories may be projected.

To see more of the work in my portfolio, please visit my flickr account.

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