Never have I cried so much during the making of a piece.
I have cried out of complete frustration but never from sadness and loss. I miss my auntie and making this piece about her was hard. Throughout the process, stomach I was flooded with memories of her, her beautiful smile and how she stayed a bright light until the bitter end. In the moments when I felt like I was going to get emotional I just walked away and took a break. However, the process (and emotion) caught up with me last week. I had just thought gleefully to myself, “The end is near!” and, as if on cue, warp threads started to snap. 1-2-3-4…and finally 5. I lost it. Emotion gushed silently out of my eyes.
I now find myself in a position of unknowing. This piece is raw and ugly. I don’t think I like it but it is over. I am relieved.
I won’t lie I’m a bit of a perfectionist with my work. When I have a picture or idea in my mind for a piece I set out to create it – EXACTLY. Are my pieces always perfect when I am done? Not yet and probably never. Perfection is unattainable. I don’t actually believe “perfection” exists but, website
that doesn’t seem to stop me from trying to find it. To avoid disappointing myself by the minute I have come to define perfection as those things I am able to accept and love as “perfectly imperfect”.
In my most recent piece, The unfinished business of a near perfect mind, OR, Portrait of a Boy, my struggle with perfection is different. I intentionally set out to make this weaving “imperfect”. In fact, in order for the piece to be “perfect” it couldn’t be. The struggle to intentionally pull threads out of place, to purposely leave broken threads as they snapped, to beat unevenly all tortured me throughout the making of this piece…until it didn’t.
At some point I stopped fighting and just accepted what was happening. I realised that I can’t really control the imperfect. I can’t plan to make mistakes beautiful or mishaps easy to deal with. I can only try to work with them and adapt to the challenges as they arise. The thing about life, and art, is there is always beauty to be found. The trick is being brave enough to have faith that the “perfectly imperfect” will be exactly what you need.
As some of you may or may not know I really struggled with choosing a major. I went back and forth mentally (and physically) between Sculpture and Fibre for over 2 years. I loved the ruthless, impotent heady space of sculpture and felt it was a comfortable place for someone like me (someone with no particular skill set, cardiologist an aversion to paint and a tendency to think too much).
After a couple years of gearing myself towards a Sculpture major I took Mackenzie’s Weaving I class for some “material therapy”. I just wanted to make something beautiful and useful. I wanted to make something I didn’t have to explain to my Mom. I made a scarf and some pillows. I fell in love with weaving.
I was completely torn between conceptual art making and the idea of functional craft. It took me another year to realize I didn’t have to choose between the two and that fibre work could be just as conceptual as any other type of art. Had I found a book like Jenelle Porter’s Fiber: Sculpture 1960 – Present earlier I might not have struggled so terribly with my decision to stay in Fibre.
I found this book quite by accident one day while browsing my life away on Amazon. I saw the title and added this 256 page beauty to my cart with little hesitation. The inclusion of Eva Hesse as a fibre artist is what pushed me to the “checkout” button.
The first half of this book contains several essays and is absolutely busting with full color pictures from over 30 artists. The second half includes a one page write up on each of the artists as well as more photographs of their work. Although I have yet to read through all of the artists essays I do enjoy looking through it with some regularity. I find it a great source of inspiration!
Unfortunately, our library doesn’t own a copy of this book but if you see it sitting on my desk feel free to have a look at it.
With my degree coming to a close, stomatology I have been thinking a lot about what direction my practice will take. I have some time to relax before pursuing a career in architecture and I want to ensure I continue making. There are many intersections between art and architecture and I intend to explore them. As a reaction I have created a list of large-scale projects that will keep my mind busy and ambitions high, with the goal that somewhere in the next ten years I’ll make it there.
With that said, here is a piece on my list of inspirations: Triangular Water Pavilion by Jeppe Hein.
This piece is created using two walls of two-way mirrors and a wall of water, creating a triangle. The piece is elevated above a basin of water. Hein describes the effect of the work on his website, where it states, “approaching visitors prompt the descent of the water wall through the activation of a sensor, gaining access to the enclosed space. Upon entry, visitors find themselves surrounded by water and reflective glass, cut off from the exterior by the resurgence of the water jets.”
While working on my transparent cotton weavings, public health I began to research artists who work in a similar way. This search was too specific in nature, and I had a difficult time uncovering artists working with the same concepts and processes as me. However, I did find Helena Vento. When searched, her name brought results of only her Pinterest page, where little information was given as to her work as an artist or how these pieces evolved.
The images included a caption simply stating that they are a transparent weave of linen. Despite the lack of further information, I was inspired by the subtle design of the weavings, the finishing of the edges, and the documentation in everyday spaces. These are the decisions that are most critical in making a weaving successful, and I feel that her weavings are presented very successfully.
This work gave me something to think about as I continue to document my own weavings and strive to present them as successfully as possible.
My FINA class has just set up an exhibition in the library called Unshelved, buy which is on display until April 8th. The theme is art as future making, which allows for a broad range of subject matter. I am enjoying the novelty of working with people from other departments.
My project features paper yarn spun by hand from the pages of an old dictionary. I then wove it into a tapestry with a cotton warp. I also cut out words beginning with “re” and their definitions. I was contemplating the connections between language, storytelling, and textiles, and their restorative potential. The wooden spindle and spool reinforce the spinning associations, drawing greater attention to process. Spinning and weaving with paper were extremely time consuming but I’m happy with the result.
Spinning and weaving with paper yarn is particularly popular in Japan. The resulting cloth is called shifu. They normally use stronger papers made from kozo or gampi, which can be spun using a spindle or wheel (my dictionary paper was too fragile and I had to do it all by hand). You can find helpful tutorials here, here, and here. Some good books are A Song of Praise for Shifu, by Susan J. Bird, Kigami and Kami-ito, by Hiroko Karuno, and Paper Textiles by Christina Leitner.
New Maps of Paradise, recipe currently on display at the Nickle Arts Museum at the University of Calgary features the work of artists Eric Moschopedis and Mia Rushton. Both artists are Calgary based and the work is focused on community based social projects that the two artists have performed collaboratively since 2007. Moschopedis comes from a theatre background, while Rushton is focused on a craft based practice.
There is a strong presence of textiles present within the show, including the work titled because even under the cover of darkness we are haunted by the past. This work is an ongoing quilting project that began in 2012. The artists conducted ten-question interviews with people they were familiar with. After the interviews, the artists would choose a phrase that they felt represented the interviewee and imagined that phrase in the form of a quilt.
Another textile work in the show is we knew the future/before disappearing all together. This work consists of four quilted banners, spelling out the title of the work on either side of four panels. This piece represents and celebrates youthful hope, demise and the collectivity of the art community. From one side of the gallery you can read the words, we knew the future, while from the other side of the gallery you can read, before disappearing all together.
Diana Sherlock’s curatorial ability to translate this performative work into a museum display was due to her borrowing cultural geography and ethnological display techniques. The work requires the viewer to engage and read the accompanying text. However, the viewer is rewarded with a clear and deep understanding of the meaning of the work upon doing so.
Running until April 2nd, Eric and Mia: New Maps of Paradise is a strong representation of craft, community and the city of Calgary as a whole.
(image courtesy the artists website: http://www.ericandmia.ca/#/because-even-under-the-cover-of-darkness-we-are-haunted-by-the-past/)
No matter what I am working on I am always excited by what I am going to make next. After this semester I think some of my work needs some breathing room so I can figure it out and decide if I need to continue with it or not. I do want to continue working with some of the 3D aspects in my work as well as the story/myth writing I’ve been doing. Here are a few photos from my instagram account of some techniques a plan on developing further:
Have you ever read Selvedge Magazine? The school library has a subscription and I highly recommend checking it out. A friend of mine got me a digital subscription for my birthday. It is a beautiful publication full of some of my favourite things: textiles in fashion, fine art, interiors, travel and shopping.
I read a really great article in issue 59 this morning written by Kim Werker called: Ugly on Purpose, which also appears in the book Craftivism: The Art of Craft & Activism by Betsy Greer. In the article she discusses overcoming your fear of failure by making something ugly. She came up with the project “Mighty Ugly” when she was faced with the challenge of making a doll. She decided to alleviate her fear of screwing up by intentionally making the doll ugly. This was a profound experience, liberating her from the pressure she put on her self to make things perfect.
From here, her project flourished. She held workshops and invited people to make ugly dolls with her. They would discuss the ugly voices that we all to listen to saying: “You can’t do it” “It’s not worth trying” and “Nobody will care anyways…”
By listening to that voice and letting it convince you not to make something or not to speak out is doing yourself a disservice. “If there’s even a small chance our creations or conversations will make someone smile or raise someone’s consciousness or inspire reflection, that’s reason enough to create or converse.”
Fibre Fortnight is coming up next semester, approved so I thought I would share the work of Rowland Ricketts, our visiting artist this year.
Ricketts trained in Japan, learning how to farm and dye with indigo. His work uses traditional techniques and natural processes to create woven and dyed works of art. Ricketts also creates large installation pieces, working with the gallery space to create an environment for the viewer.
I am Ai, We are Ai – Warehouse Installation, Japan, 2012
Rickett’s artist statement begins beautifully with an explination of his process and feelings towards his materials. He states, “The smell of an indigo vat just as it begins fermenting and springs to life is one of ripeness; a moment of rich potentiality when, as a maker, I momentarily stand between the history of the materials and processes that helped me get the indigo thus far and the promise of all the works that the vat is still yet to realize.”
Past Present, Ohio, 2010
Red Aligned and Centered, Yellow
Rowland Ricketts will be showing his work at the Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland, Oregon from January 29, 2016 until June 04, 2016. That means that if we go on our grad trip to Portland, a wide range of his work will be available for us to view.
Lygia Pape was a Brazilian sculpture and installation artist. She was born in 1927 and passed in May of 2004. Although it was found on Wikipedia in my search for some background info on Pape, unhealthy her work is described as being “a vehicle for existential sensorial, capsule and psychological life experiences, urologist much of it based in geometry and relying on both the intellectual and physical participation of the viewer.” Despite the source of this quote, I find it to be critically true in the work that I have researched of Lydia’s.
Naturally, the piece I am most attracted to is made of golden thread. It is a very delicate piece of work, giving the illusion of a beam of light. The thread has a beautiful natural transparency.
Formally, this work captures everything I am interested in within my own work. The use of light is strategic and the sculptures pose an invasion of space, which gives the opportunity for the viewer to walk through and around them. It appears that Pape had been working with this idea for years, as she started on a smaller scale in the late 70’s and worked her way up to a slightly larger 2002 piece.
Her selection of thread is intriguing and mirrors materials that I would love to try. Up to this point, I have decided to work primarily in grayscale. For sake of investigating conceptual direction and ironing out my practice, this has been beneficial. However, her use of copper and golden thread is exactly the direction I would like to go in the future.
Seeing Pape’s progression from 1979 to 2008 reminds me that I do not need to be making masterpieces right now. A natural progression will come with exploration and practice.
I decided to do a fun post and just throw a bunch of personal inspiration photos at you guys. I’m sorry in advance, clinic this is going to be a lot!
I took these photos in the cemetery of Fossombrone, Italy (my grandpas hometown – pictured above). It sits in a valley with a river running through the middle and hills on all sides. The graveyard sits on the side of one of these hills where a winding dirt road leads to the towns church at the top. The road to the top is filled with stone and marble markers which can be prayed at like a rosary. I forgot to take a photo of these, but they are filled with religious memorabilia and candles which are lit by locals before special masses.
(The iron gates to the cemetery were made by my great grandfather!)
Here’s a few photos of what the cemetery grounds look like
Someones tomb was open, it appeared that the room was being prepared for someone. I snuck inside and looked around
The tombstones are so inspirational to me. The textures, colours, mosses, and eroded history are so beautiful. The people there don’t alter the stones once they have been placed, so for many of them: all or most of the information on the people has been either lost or very well hidden.
The tombstones decay over time and I think it’s really beautiful how this mimics the body. It is sad to think about how time can erase memory, but in a way it’s freeing.
I went for a walk through the Queens Park Cemetery in Calgary a few weeks ago. I took a few interesting photos.. The stones weren’t as degraded and worn as the previous ones (despite many of them being similar in age), but they were beautiful nonetheless.
As I was walking through, I happened to pass someone’s cross on fire. There were two city workers there as I approached who were trying to figure out the best way to extinguish the fire (because there were a lot of plastic objects around the grave and containers full of fragrant oils). It was really startling to see this happen, especially because the fire had been caused by a visitor leaving incense burning below the cross. It was also really strange to meet two strangers and admittedly gawk at the scene together for a moment. I can’t really explain how this made me feel.. but you all can see for yourselves-
OKAY this is the end, I promise! Goodnight all
I began working on elaborate drawings of the large-scale work I hope to create. This process has provided clarity of my ideas, infertility
strengthened my writing about my work, and allowed myself time to contemplate what I am working on and why.
I am interested in this preliminary work becoming part of the final product. It is present in the final work for obvious reasons, but I am contemplating the effectiveness (or lack there of) in presenting these drawings as a piece on their own. Although the drawings would represent the same work that is in the room, I feel it could add an interesting additional dimension to the work. Would this result in too much information, or an overload of the same work? This is the question I am contemplating with myself. Regardless, I have found release in putting time into these drawings so that they are their own work of art.
I began to research artists who work with drawings in a similar way. Edith Derdyk is an artist who not only works with thread in mass amounts, but creates drawings which she shows to the public as well. Her book, Desenhos, is fascinating because it not only shows images of her work but all of the plans for them as well. However, I do not believe that she shows these drawings as their own work of art.
Whether these drawings are to be shown or not, I have found them to be a great method of getting excited about and prepared for my projects.
Hello! My name is Caroline and I am a recent graduate from Sheridan College’s Textile Design program. I have recently joined ACAD’s fibre community this fall. Here you can see the work I’ve created in my previous program. I’ll be adding new work I’ve made at ACAD during the winter break!
I use squarespace as my website platform and I have to admit using this site is pretty fantastic. Students receive 50% off their first year of signing up! The website is very easy to navigate and put together making it user friendly. Plus they have great tech support and online instructions if you need help using the site. It’s definitely worth checking out.
Still unclear of my future after ACAD, more about selling my weavings has always been an option. Yesterday at work I had a conversation with a client about textiles. As a mother with young children, she mentioned a brand called ‘Uppymama’. Advice or knowledge about the textile world is not a popular response I receive after describing my degree, so I was extremely excited to look up this company she was raving about.
Uppymama is a company which hand weaves and finishes baby wraps, and is based out of Alberta. They appear to be woven out of 100% cotton, going from the hands of the weaver to a seamstress who finishes the edges. The wraps sell quickly, but as my client added, the real money is in the re-selling. The only thing I didn’t like about this company is that they aren’t as excited about the woven material, and market it solely for its purpose, “this is not a piece of fabric. This is a baby carrier”. However, they do give lots of credit to the fibre artist!
Uppymama is a great example of a creating a functional art object in high demand with the right materials, knowledge and marketing skills.
In an effort to condense my ideas and make them applicable to my practice, pharmacy
I have began to narrow in on suspension as a way to affect a public space or gallery space. From the beginning of this exploration I was interested in tension of materials; although a suspended piece can never actually float in space, bronchitis
therefore removing some obvious tension, store the placement and angle can have an effect on how it is viewed and how the materials have a conversation with one another.
I feel excited about this path, and also feel resolved in having a more succinct idea. However, I will continue to see how the process of making affects they way I speak to the work.
I have started looking at a couple textile artists who beautifully utilize suspension. One that stood out to me in particular was Ken Unsworth. He is an Australian sculptural and installation artist. The work that caught my eye was a series of suspended rocks, held by a massive amount of thread. He is interested in creating sculptures that play on memory. The experience happens either in person with the memory that is taken away from seeing the work, or through a rumour of a memory. This gives the work an ephemerality that I admire.
The tension created in this work is exactly what I love: an ode to the soft being strong.
“Suspended Stone Circle II, (1974-1977, 1988) by Ken Unsworth.” Art Gallery NSW. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2015.