Posts Tagged ‘Art Perspectives’

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.

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

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


Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »


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.


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…)

Read Full Post »

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?


Read Full Post »

Okay, folks. I think there might be something wrong with me here. I cannot stop thinking about projections. I’ve been thinking about them all day, and it’s getting to the point of obsession. To clarify: for someone who isn’t a big fan of technology, who would rather do stop motion with a 35mm but realizes this is an unrealistic desire, the idea of having some sort of digital element to my work- to a weaving, no less- is a big step.

Here’s the thing. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how majoring in Fiber is majoring in a medium, and how that’s not entirely taken seriously. As much as I love craft, I identify as an artist, and I have no interest in designing costumes or making wearable art.  Furthermore, it has come to my attention recently that weaving has not really gotten the attention it deserves, nor is it given the kind of credit that the fine arts receives; case in point, my roommate found my Ikat weaving on dislpay for the accreditors coming to MICA hanging by the bathroom only for those with weak bladders to see (I have not investigated this account, but the story is funny enough for me).  Cut to the wall of oil paintings in plain view on the main hallway.

So how to make weaving more than just some cloth on the wall. How do we, as fiber artists, make people look at our art, and keep looking, regardless of how badly they have to pee (if my weaving is going to be hanging by a bathroom, it better stop someone in their tracks and make them forget where they were going).  It’s a question I’ve asked before, yet I haven’t really done anything with it. I came off the wall for the Sourcing Coordinates show with a small installation. But there has to be some way to make weaving about something more than the medium and the technique. (more…)

Read Full Post »


Alright everyone. I’m done moping around my house after having that darn wisdom teeth surgery, and I’m ready to get back to work after a long week of doing nothing. My brilliant plan for a website is no more; I discovered I was wholly incompetent in that arena and I should just stick to the analog and non-digital machines I know best (not including my digital camera, which is slowly starting to earn as much respect from me as my 35mm slr). Blogging should suffice for now, I suppose.

I wouldn’t say I didn’t get anything done last week, actually. I finished knitting a small panel for my dollhouse project, “tapestries for small places,” and dug out the felt I made last year in foundation’s fibers for the applique work. Lot’s of embroidery to come.

Speaking of embroidery.


While I was in Maine I got a lot more work done on my embroidery project about personal folktales; I know it doesn’t look like a lot of progress but there are a lot of slow details going on. And no matter how hard I try to make the backs of my embroidery neat, it never works out that but, but I also never complain.


I have been talking a lot with my weaving teacher about the idea of creating something and not allowing it to be seen, that is to say, in a gallery setting. For our pick-up project, one of the ideas we were supposed to consider was the use of negative and positive images that were created on either side of the cloth, and I not only chose not to display the back, but I also concealed part of the front. That idea is still pretty heavy in my mind, especially when you think about all of the work that goes into a fiber piece; every process is so time consuming and labor intensive, the idea of doing all that work and then displaying it with the intention to conceal is rather destructive in a way, and a sort of paradox in a certain sense. I’m not literally taking apart the piece, but I would be destroying the content of the piece in the context of having an by choosing to only display the back, which can sometimes be just as beautiful. I mean- look at those colors!

There are several ideas that I’m running with here. One stems from a conversation I had about weaving regarding the precision and “correctness” of the craft.  Traditionally, I have heard of weaving classes consisting of mainly making yardage, and though the rigorous artistic content that was pushed in my class was far from foreign to me, it was apparently so for others. Weaving is an art. Ikat, when done to the point, is an absolutely beautiful, breathtaking form of image creation. And it all comes with rules, standards, and settings. The main point of the conversation I’m referring to was this: that weaving, in it’s purest essence as an art form, is nothing more than a medium through which an artist creates, and just like painting or drawing, the rules can only take you so far.

I am not interested in weaving a neat piece of cloth, and I never will be. Just like I am not interested in developing a perfect print (or even knowing all the darkroom steps) or drawing a perfect body, or making an imppecable piece of needlework that is as clear on the back as it is on the front. I’m not even sure I understand the appeal of making something perfect. I think the most amazing thing about weaving is that I can make a piece of cloth, but I don’t have to use any of the traditional steps to get there, and when I’m done with it I can wrap it around my neck, burn it to the ground, or hang it in a gallery, because it is not something precious.

Which is my other train of thought. As artists, we represent a certain class in society. There are the fine arts (the high arts) and the low arts, and everyone is always at war with each other, aruging and whining and trying to out-do everyone else. And whether your art is showing in the MoMA or your best friend’s basement which also happens to be the hottest spot in town, it’s still only accessible to a select group of people. And these days, with big name artists hiring other people to do their work (yeah, we saw DiVinci and the gang doing it with schools and studios – but it wasn’t really for the contemporary conecption of what art is today), the value of providing ideas versus actualy ability to create is hopelessly skewed. So what does it mean then, to see the content of the piece as it was made verus the content of the piece as it is displayed (front versus back)? Who is the real audience, and what then, is the significance of making, and being seen or unseen?

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »