Want to add some experience to your CV or learn about student-run groups at ACAD? ACADSA is looking for jury members to review new group submissions on Friday, January 27. Send a letter of interest to Rael at email@example.com
The ACAD Fibre program is seeking submissions for the 2017 Miniature Show / Silent Auction.
Funds raised support visiting artists, workshops and student-initiated projects in the Fibre program. Students, alumni, faculty and friends are encouraged to donate work for the show.
Works restricted to 12” in any direction in all mediums will be accepted.
All work must be accompanied by a submission form and dropped off at the Fibre Program office, Rm 414 by Monday, January 30th, 2017.
The Miniature Show will be displayed from February 6 – 16th. The closing event will be held Thursday, February 16th from 5.30 – 8 pm in Room 371 with closing bids in at 7.30 pm.
On the 14th and 15th of October I had the most wonderful opportunity to attend a symposium at the University of Calgary called “Ask First: Creating a Campus Culture of Consent”. At this symposium I heard the research and experience of students and professionals all working towards the common goal of ending sexual violence.
A recurring point throughout was the need for early education on not only consent, but also sexuality. In Canadian curricula, ideas around consent are mentioned vastly less than ideas around abstinence. A question was asked to how we can expect our children to understand what is and is not consent when much of the time their own body parts are taboo. What we need is to teach affirmative sexuality before teaching affirmative consent. Affirmative sexuality means to have more comprehensive sexual education early on, teaching positive sexuality and sexual exploration. Now in no way does this mean we should be teaching children to be aggressively sexual at an early age, no, this means to teach them the difference between good touch and bad touch, and that it is okay to know their own bodies. The fact of the matter is that when I was growing up and my body was changing, nine times out of ten I had no idea what was going on and neither did my peers. Of course I was taught the basics, how my breasts would grow — but not about how it would hurt like hell when they did, how I would bleed at some point — but not how it was not just blood but also clots and tissue. The first time I experienced vaginal lubrication I was terrified because I had no idea what was going on. Affirmative sexuality means not separating classrooms by sex when we talk about menstruation.
A lot of people have no idea what rape is. The myth still perpetuates that the typical rapist is someone you don’t know, jumping out at you from a dark alleyway; this is not the truth. Statistically the majority of sexual violence is perpetrated by someone known to the victim — a friend, family member, acquaintance, coworker, etc. Many people believe that if you are in a conjugal relationship with someone that is you giving consent 100% of the time. The fact of the matter is that consent is an ongoing conversation. Some key points about consent:
- Consent is freely given
- Consent cannot be given past a certain point of intoxication
- Consent is not consent if it is given under duress
- Consent is not consent if it is given from feelings of guilt
There is, of course, some difficulty around obtaining comprehensive statistics around sexual violence. The main issue is that the majority of sexual violence crimes go unreported. Why exactly is it that the reporting rate is so low? Well there are multiple different tiers to this. Firstly, the victim may not understand what has gone on for days/weeks/months/years. I know for me I was always uncomfortable with certain events in my sex life but it took years for me to actually label them as sexual violence. The second issue is that if you do report you are committing to tell your story over and over and over again. Added to that, a victim then has to face a whole variety of reactions from the people they tell. There are two reactions to a victim which are either acceptance, care, belief and empathy or questioning, blaming the victim, disbelief and brushing off the incident. This last, in my experience, is the main reason why so few people report. A major change we need to make in our society is to shift the blame. Consistently victims — who either report to authorities or not — are asked what they were wearing, were they intoxicated, were they out late, did they know the people around them etc. This is ridiculous because rape is never the victim’s fault, though many people in our society believe that it is. Added to that if the rapist was a sexual partner of the victim then it is often brushed off because many seem to think that being in a relationship implies continuous consent, which it does not.
To be continued in Pt. 2!
A plethora of individuals participating in activism and advocacy around sexual violence have made videos, charts, etc about what is and is not consent. My all-time favorite is the video below which compares the experience of sexual consent with the experience of making someone tea and all the nuances involved with consent-based interaction.
A huge part of sexual violence change/awareness campaigns, as we know, is social media. There has been an explosion of “hashtag campaigns” some good examples of which are:
What makes these so wonderful and powerful is the vastness and accessibility of the internet. Hashtag campaigns often go viral and we see a huge surge of people using these campaigns to tell their stories and give visibility to social causes. Visibility is incredibly important to social justice campaigns because often the populous at large does not know the full extent of these issues. Something I find myself forgetting rather often is this lack of knowledge. Because I work extensively on the topic of sexual violence, I am hyper aware of the statistics while many are not. Well then, why aren’t activists shouting the statistics from the rooftops? Unfortunately just spouting statistics is not a good tactic to spread messages of activism because it is hard for people to connect to those numbers. The beauty of hashtag campaigns is they make these messages very personal. There is a colossal difference in the impact of a message when it is a single statement of a statistic versus an actual example of a statistic. Much of this hashtag activism is to say “yes this is a massive problem, I have experienced it and so have all of these other people”. As we have seen time and time again is when one person stands up to tell their story, it creates a trickle that turns into a waterfall over time of others standing up and sharing their similar narratives.
Unfortunately there are certain drawbacks to social marketing. At Ask First one of my favorite presenters was Jennifer Dooley who works in social marketing. Her presentation spoke to the theories and methodologies behind social marketing and what makes successful and unsuccessful social marketing campaigns. Something she highlighted was the Stages of Change model which is broken into three parts:
- Core: immediate benefits
- Actual: behavior promoted
- Augmented: tangible objects/services
The average human attention span is about 7 seconds, so social marketing campaigns have to hit the mark very hard and very quickly in order to reach their targets. In the future I hope to deeply explore social marketing and merge some strategies with my art to have more of an impact on my own audience.
Since very few of you have actually seen my work I felt that it might be a good idea to show you some of what I have done in the past. The project that essentially started it all is entitled “17 Minutes” (pictures at the end!), which, 3 years ago, was statistically how often a woman in Canada was subjected to sexual assault. I found out this statistic shortly after I started working on this project, Laura Vickerson left an incredibly informative (and horrifying) article on my desk about sexual violence in Canada. Did you know that in legal terms in Canada we do not label unwanted sex as “rape”? In Canada we have “sexual assault” which is broken into 3 levels:
- Sexual assault level 1 is committed in a sexual situation and compromises the sexual integrity of the victim. The victim is subject to minor or no physical injury.
- Sexual assault level 2 involves weapons, threats or bodily harm
- Sexual assault level 3 involves permanent and/or life-threatening injury to the victim
In Canada 1 in 3 women will experience sexual violence in their lifetimes, the number in Alberta is even more frightening at just over 1 in 2 women. 17 Minutes is my own stories about my experiences as a victim of multiple instances of sexual violence. From speaking with several activists working to end sexual violence I’ve discovered that these definitions are rarely even discussed in courtrooms, often the conversation just revolves around blaming the victim. Discussing victim blaming, and why the discourse around sexual violence rarely centers around perpetrators, is the next step for my future work.
I have really developed a stronger understanding of my work by examining textiles as a personal and cultural archive. Looking back on past works really established the emphasis I have on the personal aspects of making and how textiles and ceramics has helped that.
I would like to summarize my studio process and work this year a piece from my final paper this term about my work thus far.
“Cloth preserves values and traditions and provides us with connective experiences as we interact with cloth in our material world. My goal is to create lasting relationships with textiles that other people can relate to. I believe that there are traces of ourselves left in materials as we interact with; traces that change them into objects of meaning. I see those traces as hints of the hand that gives the work value. Meaning is established through the process, social consideration, and personal reflection. Meaning is established through memories. Memories that would be mere ephemera if they did not embed, dare I say weave, themselves into our consciousness; into the cloth and textiles that we surround ourselves with. The textiles that protect us and guide us.”
Sometimes we forget to really ask our colleagues difficult questions about their work. I am taking this opportunity to sit down and ask Asma Ismail a few things about the development of her art practice.
Rael: Why ACAD, I am always really curious about the origin stories or decisions people make to attend art school.
Asma: honesty, it is because I did not know what else to do, and though it was a good foundation for building the potential for a masters later.
Rael: What was the most crucial material/technique that changed or developed your work now? Why
Asma: Natural dyes. Cause synthetic dyes seemed dull and not right. They was no connection to the dyeing process whereas the natural dye process is so demanding of my body, and constantly keeping me engaged and reworking around the unexpected turn of events.
Rael: Have you looked at graduate program yet?
Asma: No, it makes me want to cry.
If you could advise the 3rd year fiber majors what would you advise them about?
“Get involved with as many things as possible. There are so many opportunists to work with and collaborate with other creative people in this institution. You should cherish the opportunity while you still have it and be okay with being busy and tired all the time.”
If you could go back and do something different within the past 4 years of your graduate degree what would you do?
“I would have taken ceramics earlier on in my degree”
If someone is going to steal your art, which art piece do you think they would steal ?
“ummmm I think they would .. probably steel my 30ft silk weaving because its nice. My sister already has her eye on it, she thinks it would be a good baby wrap”.
I had not done much research about working with green lumber before picking up this log from UofC. Green lumber means that its still wet, its not too difficult to cut the wood when its wet however its not as smooth of a cut either. It dries very quickly and starts to crack so if you cant finish your project in one go, your going to want to consider a temporary sealing agent for your lumber. Your going to require something that is non toxic so you can sand off your sealer when you want to work on your wood again. Elmer’s glue is a great temporary or long term sealer. If you want a temporary seal your wood, water down the glue quite a bit and make sure your wood is clean and dust free. Apply a thin coat and let dry. This will keep the moisture in your wood and will be easy to sand off before you apply a finish to your wood. If you plan on drying your wood outside over the course of a season then do not water down your glue. Apply thick coats. If you accidentally apply a thick coat of glue on wood that you meant to temporarily seal, like I did, sanding is going to be a little bit a nightmare. However, its not impossible, the key is to keep switching your sandpaper as it gunk’s up with glue.
This semester was thee most insane semester of my whole degree I think. I started the semester feeling like I was dying and to be honest I’m not sure how I made it this far because I still feel like I’m going to die any mint hahha. You know what helps though? Looking at Stay at Home Club patches. They are funny, reliable and they make me feel like there are others in this boat.
Its 80% true, most of the time..
What happens when I ignore my fortune
and go out
My excuse not to see anyone but it hardly ever works
For the days I decide I’m goona quite fiber and just be a performance artist
Hope you guys had a laugh 🙂
I have really refined my floral designs throughout stencil making. I find that stencil cutting allows me to design with clarity and intention. Sketching directly on the stencil paper pushes me to commit to a design and work through the whole stencil. After most of the key components are decided and cut, I make additions free handed with the Exacto knife. The immediacy is challenging and rewarding.
I am hoping to continue working on stenciling throughout the next phase of work I produce.
My biggest fear post-grad is that I get busy with family, work, life, etc. and break the habit of making. I know from experience that the practice of making, if not nurtured, will slowly wither away. I abandoned my creativity once and I don’t want it to happen again – ever!
I posed this question to a few of our recent Fibre Grads: “What have you been doing post-ACAD to maintain and nurture your creative process”? I heard back from Marcia and Madison and this is what they had to say:
With the help of Levi we have cleared a space in our little home so I can have a small studio set-up. This has helped immensely with maintaining my practice; the desire to make is always there but the follow through was inconsistent without a proper space.
Other than that, I could always be doing better and working on my practice with more dedication. I think the major culprit here is self discipline.
Thanks again to Marcia and Madison! I miss seeing your faces and really appreciate your time and perspectives. Creativity will take many forms once we leave ACAD. Like Marica, I know that self-discipline will be essential. Without instructors and constant deadlines I am in serious danger of floundering. Making art will have to become a habit that is fully integrated into my daily life!
If I hear back from anyone else I will post and update.
Victor Schrager worked during the 1990’s, photographing over 100 species of North American birds, titling one of his greatest works ‘Bird Hands’. Schrager has his subjects secured by a professional ornithologist, who holds them gently from behind a screen of fabric, and so the birds are photographed before they become restless. Schrager emphasizes a dialogue between human hands and avian form, however the birds are photographed in a static position. Their lack of flight neutralizes their essence, just as we neutralize our connection with the natural world.
Whilst researching my Embroidered Hands series, I discovered Schrager’s avian portraits. His work involves the human hands of the ornithologist and their specific grips, though simultaneously the subject – the bird – is the focus. The hands are vital, both in Schrager’s and my own work, when holding his living creatures and my inanimate material. Although my embroideries are impressionistic they speak loudly of the materialistic attitude of today, such as chemically dyed thread, chemical dyed linen, and plastic.
Summer vacation reading.
Last year in Barbara’s Fibre 300 Selvedge/Salvage course she assigned a couple readings from Women in Clothes by Shelia Heti, Heidi Julavits, Leanne Shapton and many many others. I loved what little we read and purchased the book very soon after. It was the book that I toted with me everywhere this summer and shared with anyone who would listen to me.
The book began as a survey with 50 questions aimed to challenge women to think about their personal style. Artists, activists, writers, and more answered the questions in their own way and style. Each page is a surprising gem of stories about women, why they wear what they wear, how it makes them think, feel and present themselves. Photos of personal collections such as striped shirts, glasses, gray sweatshirts, unworn necklaces or bobby pins. Photos of the contributors Mother’s before the daugher’s were born. Photocopies of women’s hands with their ring collections. Conversations about compliments, interviews, story telling, poetry and essays.
My favourite and most inspired discoveries were the sections providing only a word or two on a subject matter. The contributors would then tell a short story, sometimes a line or a paragraph elaborating. Words such as colour, strangers, shopping, protection, or worn to name a few.
My personal favourite, under the topic worn:
“I try not to dress in something that would be more important to me than having a good time. I wouldn’t want to stop doing something for fear that my outfit would get ruined or weird looking in the act of having fun.” -Annemieke Beemster Leverenz.
On reflecting on a cherished garment that was lost by a friend:
“I would have liked to participate in the item’s fate. At the very least I wanted to be the person who lost it.” – Elena Megalos
I savoured every page of this book and felt a severe loss when I closed the final page. It affected the way that I approached my closet and why and how I was adding things to it. Upon completion I felt little emotional attachment to my clothes that weren’t special and I had no problem donating the majority of it to friends, family and charities. Everything that stayed and has been added since must fulfill the identity of “Future Julie.” I consider what items would I pack on vacation, what makes me feel comfortable, happy, or put together (anything black, white, 5 sizes too big and at least double the price than I should be spending). Ultimately I started to think about who I wanted to be when I grew up (28 is still a teen in my eyes), what she wore and what those clothes said about her.
Throughout this book I discovered things that I also felt about specific garments but had not realized. It is by far the most thoughtful collection of writing on style and taste. It made me truly comprehend how clothes are so much more than what we put on our bodies.
I did a few rough storyboard type sketches heavily influenced by Leningrad’s song and music video, ОЧКИ СОБЧАК (rough translation: Sobchak’s sunglasses) that I’m using as a jumping off point.
some of the lyrics are included in the storyboards as a way for me to remember the timing and pacing I was intending at the time.
I will be working on more storyboards and practice panels over the break to help me have more content (I’m willing to share) to use in my studios for next semester. I will be doing at least one more post for Sveta’s Jacquard weaving