My final crit was last Wednesday, which also happened to be my 26th birthday. All in all it was a beneficial and fruitful critique and a decent day. The work I presented involved the display of the patch images I posted previously (see The Importance of a Patch), and I briefly discussed with my classmates the conceptual thoughts and questions I am considering as a maker.
The remaining work I presented consisted of pieces created through collaging imagery on a fabric surface that was reminiscent of my dad’s fire gear. Using super sauce I transferred older family photographs along with some of the letters my dad has written me onto the fabric. In efforts to create a sense of absence I also replicated the patch shapes in black fabric and placed them on the quilted collages. All of the items were attached using appliqué techniques seeing as these were more test pieces than anything, which allowed me to remove and move things around easily. I wasn’t exactly thrilled with the work presented. The black patches felt like a representation of death or mourning more than absence. I think often a large sense of black can do that. In addition, some of the materials added to the piece just started to make it feel like there was too much going on. (photos to come soon)
Some of the key points that really stuck with me in regards to the critique were related to 1. Making sure I am making work that I love and enjoy- despite the content, what do I want to do and what do I love to do? 2. How can the passage of time be represented in the work, either through material or representational within the content? (Time related to my dad being away working — time spent with and without my family).
Thinking about these things I came to two conclusions; crocheting, which I did last semester, is what I love to do and perhaps should be the direction that I should go in and secondly, perhaps time can be represented in the amount of time I dedicate to a piece, it’s length, or its stitch count, etc. My dad worked for 72 hours a week, generally, as a fire fighter. Would it be possible to crochet for this amount of time each week from now until my thesis? What would the object begin to look like? More importantly, what materials will or can I use that are going to relate to or emphasize the content of the work?
As I began to think of these ideas I also have been thinking about what role imagery can play within the work or if it is even necessary to have an image within the work. Some of the older family photographs I have acquired, in a way, have begun to shut me out of making. I find myself drawn to certain pictures and then begin to wonder why I am drawn to that specific photograph as well as what can I do with the photograph to create a new composition that will be relatable to an audience and to expressing my relationship with my dad. Daunting to say the least… and often leaves me feeling frustrated and a little lost.
For now, I am going to explore crochet as a medium as well as the materials that can be potentially used within it. How can I metaphorically use the material to create an object that represents a narrative between my father and I? What role does the crochet play? I look forward to researching artists for inspiration as well as researching and learning a bit more of the history of craft.
Diving into an entire new medium in a completely new context than before is nerve-wracking, especially when I have spent the last 7+ years developing my skills and knowledge as a photographer, but it’s grad school, so go big or go home right?