Phew… well it has been a while since I’ve posted. Each time I have stopped into the studio I have reminded myself to get on here and post my end of semester work with an update and yet somehow it always manages to get tossed aside. So, alas! All those that have been anxiously waiting, (no one), here it is!
I finished the semester with 4 finished pieces. There are some questions remaining, things that could be further pushed and/or explored but overall I am happy with the result and was confident in what I had produced. Just a month or so before the end of the semester I was having a total mental breakdown thinking I would have nothing to produce, so although 4 pieces may not seem like much- they felt like quite an accomplishment to me. Below are images of the works before they were installed in the Beeler Lobby for the 2017 CHROMA exhibit. If you live locally in Columbus I encourage you to stop by and check them out. I won’t say much as I could really write forever about the struggles that I had throughout this semester and the resulting works, but instead I will leave you with my artist statement a brief description of the process and materials along with photos of the works allowing them all to work together and speak for each other.
A series of 4 crocheted photographs printed on silk and cotton fabrics, cut up and created into a yarn like structure, then finger crocheted.
Over the past year I have watched my twin sister transition from college graduate to full time teacher, fiancé, and mom to two pets. She shares a home with her partner and they plan to be married in October of this coming year. Within this home structure she fulfills a very typical housewife role completing all the traditional domestic chores while her future husband tends to the “outside work.” I have observed her frustrations and stresses as she struggles to fulfill the role of “housewife” on top of her daily regime and very much have been frustrated by these expectations that have been set for her.
Using a camera to document this personal history as well as a collective of couples around the Midwest these photographs depict domestic interiors cut up, crocheted, and restructured creating a new image entirely. The crocheting process serves as a means to bring power to women’s craftwork while reconstructing and reconfiguring the domestic space offering redefinition of roles, ideas, and expectations within that setting.
Welp, my final critique with a small group of faculty is a short 10 days away. I am anxious as I have a lot of work to do, but also keen to get the critique finished so that I can then focus on really preparing my work for final install for CHROMA.
I am currently TAing a photography course, Material Studies, and we were just recently introduced to a very interesting alternative photo process called Mordant printing. Essentially a photo sensitive liquid is made from a mixture of Potassium Dichromate and water. The liquid is applied to fabric, dried, and then a large negative is sandwiched between the fabric and a piece of glass and exposed to UV light. This produces the image directly on fabric. The image is then rinsed and the final process involves hand dying fabric using natural dyes- synthetic dyes do not work for this process.
Since I have been using the textiles printer a lot to print images directly on fabric- this method provides an alternative avenue and also incorporates an interesting piece of domestic work that I think could be a very interesting process piece for my work. Let me explain…
Lately I have been using my images from the textile printer and finger crocheting them into large crocheted photographs. The images themselves aren’t totally recognizable, however, I am interested in the idea of breaking down the domestic space through ripping and cutting of the image, and then reconstructing it through the crochet process. This is fairly simple but makes slight reference to a domesticated craft or work process through crochet that I find relevant. With the Mordant printing I can take it even a step further. By printing images on fabric through this alternative process there is hand washing of the fabric involved- similar to when I use the textile printer, but then the last step- hand dyeing- is where I believe my process can really also speak to the content of the work. In order to use a natural dye,
I can buy them online, OR I can take actual existing objects and “cook” them in order to prepare the natural dye. For example, onions skins are great for fabric dyeing, avocado pits, flowers, carrot tops, leaves, insects, roots, etc. In order to create the dye the aforementioned objects need to be heated to a certain temperature and “cooked,” in which then the liquid produced will be used as a dye bath. The idea of having to complete the domestic task of “cooking” in order to produce the work creates a compelling layer in relation to my interests of woman’s work and domesticity.
I have some concrete ideas that I am going to pursue this week and really hit the ground running. I almost feel hesitant to make something that I want to without having run the idea by someone yet- which is odd, because as an artist I have always made things on my own but I think a little part of grad school has embellished some sort of need for approval into my thinking- but not today! (And no one at CCAD has ever said to me that I need their approval to make something, to be clear). I am excited to really grind things out and get the week going!
After a stressful day and a brief mental breakdown, I took the afternoon to reclaim some of my fabric image scraps from last semester. I cut them down into about 1/2″ or 1/4″ strips and connected them to create a length of “yarn.” I then hand crocheted the images together.
Recently I have been exploring a lot with materials and process. I’ve hit a pretty hard wall it feels and for a while felt like I lost a large creative drive because I was stressing myself so much about content. I’ve been doing my best to put that all aside and just make for the sake of making- go back to just allowing myself to be a creative thinker and artist the way I know how to.
So here’s some images of my experiment from the evening- not quite finished and it’s definitely something I’d like to continue to develop.
I am officially a crazy cat lady. Finally we’re back in Columbus after a wedding weekend and some time spent at home to see family. I’m still in an odd place with my work. Not knowing what to make or how to bring it all together. Nonetheless I am trying my best to create something and I am starting with collage.
On Wednesday I met with my mentor Danielle Julian Norton. Together we spoke about the direction of my work and brainstormed through some potential ideas I was creating. I felt a lot better as we spoke and as our meeting concluded. She really gave me some excellent advice in a way to think about working and art making in general that I hope will help me not only now but further into my career.
Today I also had the pleasure of meeting with Curator Amanda Hunt. Unfortunately I missed her lecture last night because I had work-upon meeting her and seeing how down to earth and awesome she was, I was even more bummed that I wasn’t able to attend. We had a quick 30 minute discussion and she was able to give me some artists to consider and some advice in regards to where I am thinking with going in my work.
Don’t be too literal in what I am thinking of referencing.
Be aware of the spectrum of experiences that could be applicable-not just my own.
I even briefly spoke with her about what I am thinking about for my possible thesis work and her intrigue was encouraging. It was wonderful to get some time to speak with someone outside of CCAD and have them talk through my work and ideas with me. Time flew by unfortunately but nonetheless it was a great opportunity.
This semester has been really wonderful and chalk full of studio visits which has been so helpful and eye opening. I realized last semester I had not really taken advantage of visiting artists and opportunities like this and so I made a promise to myself that this semester I would make sure to really take advantage of visiting artists and lecturers who were willing to meet with students and do my best to meet with as many as possible. So far it has served as a really positive avenue to understand my work better and get more of a holistic insight. I am so blessed to be at a program that offers so many opportunities for growth and exploration.
Also- Amanda was the first person to ever ask me if I was a feminist and in the moment I was almost startled by the question. I felt almost nervous or unsure but proudly answered, yes.
On Thursday I had a studio visit with Malcolm Cochran. I had never met Malcolm before but we had a wonderful conversation and I appreciated his interest in getting to know me beyond my artwork. He wanted to know where I grew up, asked me about my family – how did I decide to make art my life. And then we got into the nitty gritty of it all. I’m a talker- and usually during studio visits I feel the time crunch and feel like I have to get things out as quickly as possible- often overwhelming myself and probably the visitor. Malcolm’s visit however felt relaxed, calm, and as if time was infinite. Just another element I really appreciated during our meeting.
As we spoke about my work (both past undergraduate pieces and current works) I began to feel less and less sure of my graduate work. Not in a sense that it’s poor work but rather what it is I have been trying to understand within the work. Malcolm emphasized the importance of exploring ideas and questions and finding answers within the work rather than starting with an answer and then trying to make work about it- which is the place I seem to have found myself in.
Drawn to my photographs from last semester he encouraged me to use them as sketches and re-look at them for more understanding and to try to find perhaps a commonality or what makes them interesting.
As for my most current video work he made a point to remind me that sometimes “confidence can be blinding.” A point that redirected us to his advice on exploration and question asking. There is a pressure within graduate school to make sure you know what your work is about- which myself and my classmates can attest to. Malcolm and I discussed this, and obviously it’s important to know what you’re making and why-but as he reminded me, explore IDEAS, see what kind of QUESTIONS you’re asking yourself and within that you will figure out what your work is about.
I seem to have set an agenda for myself and have worked backwards. “I am making work about Womens issues and oppression within domesticity.” But am I really? I would like to- but what if the work is exploring something else in a different way-not in the way I intended?
One of Malcolm’s final pieces of advice was to think of art making as a way of making soup. Say you make a really good tomato bisque, with fresh tomatoes, basil, chunks of mozzarella cheese, some salt and pepper. It’s delicious but the next time you make it you use that original recipe as a jumping off point to alter it and make it even better- experiment with some more flavors. The fresh tomatoes were a great addition so you decide to put more fresh ingredients in rather than artificial spices. This brands a new type of tomato bisque but nonetheless had the same initial concept behind it.
What he was saying was that each artwork made should be inspiration for the next. Should serve as a jumping off point- take the best parts of the previous work and make a new recipe with them.
I appreciated this analogy in many ways. Since the visit I have felt a bit overwhelmed and lost within my work and have no idea where I’m going. Nevertheless, I am going to go back to my photographs from last semester and really look at them, I’m going to ask myself questions about what I am thinking about or trying to explore, I am going to examine my video works and do the same hoping that after all that I may have some pretty good ingredients to make a strong and hearty soup.