Keep grinding

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!

Stay Tuned!

Cats and Collages 

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. 

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Final Thoughts on a final critique

As my final critique rolled around, I was excited, a little anxious, but excited.  I felt like I had completed a decent amount of work, varying with different materials and printing substrates as well as installation works.  All of which were things I had either not done before or had little experience with.  I felt prepared.  Why then when the time came to present my work was I so bloody nervous??  One may never know.  Either way, the feedback and critique were both helpful.

As I photographed couples and their homes, my work began to take on the idea/construct of a sort of sociological survey of people living in their domestic spaces today.  Which was indeed what I was investigating, however, it wasn’t making my viewpoint come to light or bringing forth the message I would have hoped.  The images documented these lived in spaces and the people inhabiting them but really what were they saying?  Truthfully, not too much.  They were documents.  There were some interesting things happening I think with sewing into the details of images, printing and collaging on cotton, as well as printing on silk and yet still they were not quite saying what I wanted them to say.

I watch many women around me deal with the daily frustrations of being responsible for the domestic duties within their home, and as a woman myself I find it daunting and aggravating.  I see the women I know exhausted, stressed; not feeling as though they have enough time in the day to go to work, get what they need for dinner, tend to their own wants- maybe workout or do some yoga- and also get dinner prepped and cooked by a reasonable time.  Not to mention clean and vacuum on the weekends, while they also work their second job.  All the while, their partner spends his time perhaps relaxing in his chair watching tv while dinner is prepared or maybe outside doing some work in the yard or garage until it’s time to come in and eat and then relax before bed.

Many women I know enjoy cooking, enjoy baking, and heck some even enjoy cleaning, however, it is when these things suddenly go from voluntary activities to required underlying expectations that a line is crossed and they no longer become enjoyable. As a woman I find it incredibly exhausting to think that this is what my life may become but truthfully I hope to find a partner that will be willing to share these duties so that I will not have to feel as much of the burden and frustration that many other women I know face.

As I begin this semester and continue exploring these ideas I hope to bring to light this notion of frustration, exhaustion, and daunting task work that women undergo as shared household members.  I am hoping to continue to work with printing on different fabrics and finding a way to manipulate them to show my point of view and opinions on the subject matter more clearly.

 

Below are images from my final critique.  A culmination of a semester’s investigation.

The beginning of the end.

I haven’t posted in about two weeks.. whoops.  And I also have realized a lot of my most recent work is not posted!  Stay tuned!

Thanksgiving break has come to a close and with it has come a bit of anxiety with a side of stress due to time (or rather, a lack thereof).  There are only 3 more weeks left of the semester- I’ve almost made it through my first trial of graduate school!  (I don’t want to get too overzealous though, there is a lot of work to be done).

This weekend I also am participating as part of the on campus art show.  I have been prepping like crazy for it, making scarves and other craft oriented things.  As much as I am looking forward to it on Saturday it has been a major distraction to my current photographic practice and I am keen to get it over with and get back to my main focus.

This week I am going to be experimenting with some hand stitching on larger photographs that I printed last week on campus.  During my critique, some of my peers suggested that within the work I presented that I should combine my notions of collage, large printing, and hand sewn/craft elements into one and see what I can come up with.  I am excited to spend some time in my studio this evening and do a bit of sewing on some of the larger images.  I definitely need to grab some more embroidery thread though.

While thinking about the digital collage prints, I was wondering how else I could incorporate craftwork into these images, different than that of the more rigid, documented interiors of the domestic space.  Immediately my mind went to quilting.  I quilted a photograph once before and I truly loved the process, as time consuming and frustrating as it could be.  I’ve been thinking about printing these large domestic interior images on fabric and then collaging them in a manner similar to that of which I have done through digital processes but now with sewing.  I am excited to give it a shot and think it could really elevate the imagery in a way that I have been hoping for.  My main concern is finding an outlet to print them on.  Because the images are all mainly at 24″ to 44″ wide, I cannot adhere the fabric to a piece of poster board and feed it through the Epson 9890 as I usually would.  They’re just too large  The fashion department does have a brand new fabric printer so I am waiting for an email response on gaining access to that as a resource.  I don’t think outsourcing the prints at this point will work with the time associated with shipping and what not, but I may have to splurge on costs and order from spoon flower with expedited delivery.

Cheers to new ideas and exciting work to come!

 

 

 

An artist of many ideas and therefore, many sketchbooks

I have always been a writer, whether its journaling, short poems, or even research papers; writing has always been something I enjoyed.  My sketchbooks are consumed by it.  My freshman year of college was probably the last time that I bought an actual college ruled notebook to write in and so sketchbooks have always been my resource for not only sketching, but for copious note taking as well.

My sketchbooks are my outlet to be able to work out my ideas and concepts both with words and visual representation.  I can make quick lucid sketches that coincide with the words next to it right on the same page.  Overtime I have acquired a number of sketchbooks, all serving a variety of purpose.  (see below image)  My most current sketchbook is used for primary note taking, self reflective questions, and the investigating of ideas.  It’s filled with quick scribbled notes, post its stacked on top of words below them, and ideas I hope to eventually all explore.  My studio operates in a very similar way.  My main table has post its all over with ideas, artists, or concepts to think about and the walls also have reflective questions to refer to while I make my work.

Most women have guilty pleasure in buying too many shoes, purses, clothes, etc.  Although I am guilty of a few of those myself, I must say buying sketchbooks is right at the top of that list as well.

*The open spreads of mainly notes are showing pages from my most recent sketchbook.  I point them out specifically to show my process of working through concepts and asking myself questions, as well as quotes from art videos I find particularly inspiring or motivational.

Failure as a means to succeed

When doing anything, there is bound to be failure or struggle along the way.  There is a cliche and common saying, “nothing worth having comes easy,” and I believe that to be pretty true.  As an athlete/rugby player I can look back at my career and think about all the hard work I put in, in order to be successful.  I can remember each painstaking loss and the motivation it created moving forward.  The same applies to an artistic practice, believe it or not.

For some people, things just come easily in art, and they are incredibly talented naturally.  I am not one of those people, so within my art career, just as my athletic I have had many bumps in the road.  But what you choose to do with your failure is what determines the kind of artist, and person you will be.  Will you use it as motivation, and rise, continuing to push until you succeed or will you crumble under the failure, and allow yourself to fall into a pit of self doubt and worry? You decide.

 

Below are a few failures I have encompassed over the past few weeks.  Though they are my first, I am sure they will not be my last.

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The negatives above were soaked in windex, dish soap, and had other cleaning products sprayed on them in attempts to see how they would be effected.  Unfortunately, nothing happened.  The cleaning products didn’t leave behind any grit, or grime as I had hoped… shocking right? (Hopefully you can hear my sarcasm).   Any who, at my critique a few of my peers recommended photographer Matthew Brandt who has done similar work, so hoping to find some solutions/inspiration through his work!

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Believe it or not this apron began its completion as a fail… that nice gathered edge you see? What a nightmare!  In order to gather the edge you must sew two seams and then separate the bobbin and needle threads on the garment, taking two of the same and tying them together on each end, and then leaving the other two to be pulled to create the gather.  After misunderstanding this process, not once but two or three times, I was finally able to get it right.  Still wasn’t as clean as I’d like it to be, but even after the failure and having to start the seam over, again and again, I was able to get it done! Hallelujah!  The struggle was well worth it.