Work, work, work.

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Over and Out … but not quite yet

Finally the last week of the semester has come!  And Lord knows I can’t wait for Friday to get here, but not for the reasons one might initially think.  Was the semester a little hectic and crazy?  Well… I had two internships, my GA with the photo department, I TA’ed a night class twice a week, played rugby until the end of October, and also worked at  brewery tap room when I found the off chance, so you tell me!  Jokes, jokes … each of those opportunities has taught me an immense amount about myself as a person and have provided great learning opportunities.  I loved every second of it for the most part and although yes I am looking forward to a break from it all, the biggest reason I am looking forward to the semester’s end is so I can REALLY dedicate myself to my work for thesis.

As usual, I am a bit behind the 8 ball, but maybe the best part about that is being self-aware and knowing that now I need to just put my head down and work.  Naturally I have always been a procrastinator and unfortunately Grad school has been no exception to that.  I found myself in a similar place last Spring semester – questioning whether I still even knew how to make art or not, just trying to make whatever I could to get myself propelled forward into something that felt right.  With an entire semester come and gone, I finally feel like I am on track to get somewhere.  Better late than never is what they say right?  This time though time is ticking and my thesis show is slowly but surely on its way.

With that in mind I have a productive and exciting “break” planned.  On Monday of next week I will begin my 72 hour project.  In attempts to see what it feels like to work for 72 hours in one week, replicating my dad’s work schedule, I will be in my studio crocheting for 72 hours.  I’ve purchased material and am excited to get it started.  It will be daunting, trying, most likely even boring at times, but something interesting will come out of it I’m sure.  I also went and spoke to the Battalion Chief of the Columbus Fire Department today about receiving donated fire hose from the Columbus Fire Department.  During my progress review a few weeks back there was mention about how content of a work can be found within the material and choosing which material to use within my work has definitely been something I have been mulling over for some time.  What is something that is referential to fire fighting and could be used within my work?  My first initial thought was turn out gear- but staring at my dad’s jacket I can’t seem to take much away from it and altering it in any form would feel disrespectful and detract from the pride I see in that coat.  The second material I’ve thought of is the aforementioned fire hose.  I put out a call to my family and friends in the fire industry about acquiring donated hose but my dad was quick to recognize that shipping fire hose to Columbus from Eastern PA and New Jersey would be quite the feet.  After speaking to the Battalion Chief today it is looking like I may be able to get the material I need.  Working with woven hose will be interesting and I am excited to see what can be done with it.  It will be heavy, no doubt, and put up a fight in my attempts to crochet, weave, or manipulate it, but I am up for the challenge.

After weeks of thinking about crocheting for 72 hours and also figuring out how to get fire hose donated, I have taken the jump and am going to begin.  (In the interim I have been spending time reading and researching – making sure not to neglect the behind the scenes of the making.)  I’m not sure what holds me back from getting fully started, maybe fear, uncertainty, or anxiety, but all I do know is that I no longer have time to let any of those things side track me.  Time is ticking and I need to get to work so here goes.  What have I got to lose?

 

 

Floods

Saturday started off really great.  I had a rugby game in Cincinnati (our biggest of the season and we won 10-0).  For those that don’t know rugby, a 10-0 score in an 80 minute game is pretty low scoring and can attest to the physicality and competition on both sides.  Anyway, post win, I was set on hitting the studio, printing some cyanotypes and really catching up on work that I need to make for this show I have coming up on October 16th.  A productive and well spent Saturday.

Things started off really well- the arc lamp was cooperating, I got some test strips exposed and was moving right along into the real prints.  I rinsed my test strips, took them out of the tray to dry, and left the hose of the sink on what I thought was low enough pressure so that it could continue to fill the tray I was using for when my prints needed to be rinsed.  I left the back coating room to go print some transparencies that would be needed for further printing.  (I really thought I was killing it here, multitasking and getting a ton of work done).  That was a pretty short lived confidence boost.

About 5-8 minutes go by and I go to check the arc lamp only to find that the sink hose has made a jump out of the sink and has been spraying water all over the floor for the entire time I have been away.  About a 1/2 inch of water flooded the space into the darkroom hallway and what was even more concerning was that it had flooded it’s way also into the arc lamp room, where the entire power unit for the arc lamp rests about 2 inches above floor level with all of its wiring nicely placed, you guess it, on the floor.

Luckily I was able to turn the arc lamp off, safely get all of the wires out of the way but I then spent about an hour or so mopping up the water because unfortunately there was no maintenance staff that could come help me at 9:00pm on Campus.  What a nightmare.

I have since returned to the darkroom this evening and gotten right back into printing.  The water is dry- no more floods, thank God and I will no longer be leaving sinks running at any point in time.


 

Overall I have some pretty mixed feelings about the upcoming show.  Not necessarily related to the content, but more in relation to the space and the size of the photographs presented.  My show will be in the Byers Gallery on CCAD’s campus.  I requested this space because it’s one of the smaller spaces on campus but as I approach the upcoming deadline I am concerned I will not have enough work to fill the walls.  Not to mention my sister is getting married this Friday, so I will be away from Columbus starting Wednesday and not returning until the day before my install (Sunday).  (A joyous occasion that I am very much looking forward to but just unfortunate timing).  As I sit here and think about the time I plan to spend printing over the course of the next two days and all the prep work going into planning for the install I hope I can make it all come together to look professional and complete.  Hoping God will bless me with some real time to focus, work, and figure out the best format for the display of all the work- although I know He will.  I’m also hoping to be able to get into the gallery space tomorrow and Tuesday evening to start planning some of the work’s layout given it is patched and ready from the previous artwork that was installed.

Cheers to year 2 right?

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!

Studio visits galore

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.

Words of wisdom

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.