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!
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.
The last two weeks have been quite a whirlwind. I had a studio visit with photographer Laura Larson prior to her artist talk and it was refreshing to have someone with no prior knowledge of me or my work look at what I am creating. Almost objectively she provided me with some great feedback, questions to think through, and as always, artists to look at. Her visit was a great precursor to my upcoming critique.
Prior to that meeting, I met with CCAD professor and staff member, John Cairns as well as my mentor and CCAD Professor Danielle Julian Norton. John and I met to discuss some technology troubleshooting and the content/concept of my work. As always, he was encouraging and uplifting. Prompting me to push further within the work and continue to make it stronger with its content. Danielle likewise has really been pushing me to further my concept. There is one piece that she believes is missing that could really build the concept and fully flesh out the work.. a piece I am still looking to develop. She also is very encouraging about the discussion points of my work and the development of the language around it. Her questions, curiosities, and points always leave me with more to explore and investigate which I very much appreciate.
My critique the following week was equally as constructive as these two meetings. Leading up to the critique I was excited for my peers reaction and really looking forward to hearing their feedback and their thoughts on how I could continue to move forward. I presented two video iterations of myself ironing in a variety of fashions. What I mean by that is that in one video I am in a way going through the mundane task of ironing in a bored uninterested manner, seeming slightly frustrated. In the other video I become a variety of characters. A woman dressed for work, a woman in lounge clothes, a woman in pajamas, and a woman who has just come from the gym. Within this video the task of ironing is much more apparently frustrating. My motions are much more violet (if you can imagine a violent way in which to iron), and my frustration with the task/notion of the task is much more apparent. Both videos were projected onto a gallery wall, the first one projected through a silk print of a video still taken from the actual video. I also presented 4 photographs in which I was basically overtaken by the clothing that I was ironing and presented the ironing board with the mass of shirts in the corner of the space. (My peers felt these were both unnecessary additions- the videos served enough purpose and I don’t necessarily disagree).
I am keen to continue with the video work and perhaps really take some time to develop these female characters more thoroughly with really thought out and intentional costuming/dress. As I move forward I plan to continue to use the task of ironing as a tool to create discussion and bring to light the oppression of women within domesticity. I hope to develop my video work further and really broaden my skill-set as an artist within this realm as well as really be able to develop the language and intentionality between all of my choices and decisions aesthetically moving forward.
“A blue collar is a working-class person historically defined by hourly rates of pay and manual labor. A blue collar worker refers to the fact that most manual laborers at the turn of the century wore blue shirts, which could hold a little dirt around the collar without standing out.”
Not only do I find an interesting metaphor in silk with its transparency and the transparency or invisibility of women’s work- but also I find a very interesting parallel between women’s work and blue collar work. So often blue collar work is overlooked and undervalued, similar in the way housework and women’s work is overlooked and undervalued. Both receive very little praise or appreciation for the work that they complete.
I am anxious to see how I can make this metaphor part of my work as well…the ideas are brewing.