So, here we are on the final stretch before the big show. And I’m at the intersection of “damn I love this” and “what the hell am I doing”. I’ve been working in my studio in a frantic yet focused state of a madman. There have been so many great ideas and concepts that have come out of my experience gleaning the castoffs of others. I’ve found endless possibilities, which sometimes makes it hard to focus. At this point it about which pieces can I finish in the shortened time I have left. Losing a month of production time has altered my world.
One thing that stands out for me is how we (collectively) are blind to the waste we produce. I also know that a big part of my creative process is that my art needs to have a message. And before I can make it need to know what I’m trying to say and how I want to say it. So through associative processing I’ve created a few Braille pieces.
“An Eye For An Eye”
Ok, that’s enough, time to get back to the studio. I have three more pieces to complete and I have six in process.
Come meet the artists and see the results of five months of reimagining materials reclaimed from the transfer station!
All five artists have created an impressive and unique body of work that will challenge any notion of the potential for discarded materials.
Opening Reception August 11, 2016 – 6:00 – 9:00 pm PNCA/OCAC Bison Building 421 NE 10th Ave., Portland
Learning how to work with and manipulate new materials is always thrilling to me (after it has passed that initial phase of being incapacitatingly scary!).
It would seem worthwhile, with such a short production turnaround (and so many variables) as Glean, however, to stick with media that one knows how to use. For me this would have meant gleaning for wood and paper. But I saw my opportunity and access to the dump as the perfect catalyst for artistic growth. Adventure! Excitement! Unknown!
“Just in case” though ( i.e. to manufacture some control) I produced a deliberate creative plan. I was armed with a concept thoroughly worked out in my head, and myriad sketches of “what” I was going to “make”. As soon as I could find the exact materials to realize this vision in a heap of trash, I’d be on my way. No big deal.
Now, this is ridiculous in the first place because it is unnatural for me to work from a rigid plan in any artistic scenario. Unsurprisingly, it would NOT be easier with waste material. I got frustrated, [creatively] constipated, stressed.
But perhaps the initial plan was a necessary stepping stone. A starting point provides direction, allows for evolution. I have really gotten into a rhythm with my pieces for Glean as of late, donning a new-found sense of understanding how to work the materials I’ve been gleaning at the dump (NOT wood or paper).
New pieces are born rapidly and evolve quite naturally. They all still exist in some liminal state of evolution right now, awaiting final details, characteristics, traits; on their way to becoming a family of individuals each with their own personality, yet with one collective story to convey. Their story is undoubtedly related to the original plan/concept, though more like a spur off the main trail.
One certainty is that I never follow the direction I set out to go.
As you may have guessed, it’s all systems go here while I bring this body of work together for the Glean residency. Here’s a few studio shots I took in the past month.
Below, a shot I took when I was lacking an available surface for drawing a full-scale model of a sketch, so I used my studio doorway. Sometimes the littlest bits are interesting to me. These tiny “spoons” were clipped from the intricate network inside a piano found at the Metro Transfer Station and will become decorative elements in some of my pieces. I was so busy this month, I would sometimes squeeze an hour in here or there just making shapes so that I could assemble sculptures later. trying to make the tail ends of some very old clothespins work into a piece. So far, I’ve only been satisfied with the nobby ends, but I keep playing with these long pieces, which look like tailfeathers. note nobby ends in the images below! One benefit of having a great day in the studio is when I spend the following night dreaming about design ideas. This is one such instance, where I woke up with a vision of a solid piece with shapes removed, rather than the additive building of shapes that I typically do. I want to keep pursuing this idea!Today was the monthly Glean studio review so I decided to bring the 25 pieces I’ve designed (but not stained or glued together) outside and hang them in my covered work area to get a better sense of how they will look en masse. The final show will be multi-tiered with more breathing room, but it was great to see them in a new setting.
I’m feeling pretty good about where I’m at in the creation process. Things are coming along and ideas are flowing nicely. I’ve almost roughed out all of my pieces. Then I will go back and refine, embellish, and embroider some more. Oh yes, and video! I’ve finally sorted my ideas for the video component of my Glean residency. I’ve been doing a lot of writing, exploring the stories of the materials I’ve gleaned and looking deep into their functions as they transition from trash to treasure. The videos will look at materiality, pairing the texture and tactile experience of material with the cultural perception of the value of objects. All videos will be available on the web and accessible via QR code and phone at the exhibit.
Until then, here are some examples of the sculptures I’ve been building.
Both of these are made from towels, sweaters, pillow pollyfill, blanket and discarded yarn.
This one is my current obsession still in progress. Costume netting, towels, pillow pollyfill, blanket and yarn.
I’ve been pushing in the studio for the past few weeks, trying to “sketch out” as many of my lure mobiles as I could before our mid-residency review last Friday. I worked out a lot of them through drawing, and some others have been designed instinctively. So far I have thirteen that are at least started–click here to see a video of what it feels like to be in my studio right now!
It feels so good to be on a roll with this project, so I’m trying to go with it as much as I can right now, since I need to devote July to wrapping up another big project. Only two of these are stained and glued, as photos were needed for the card, but I am already wanting to take one of them apart to revisit the colors. I plan to keep designing and assembling my lures for the next month, so I can glue and stain them in July. If all goes well, I’ll have two dozen by showtime.
Again, I can’t be more pleased with the Bison Building as our venue. My spot will allow people to stand beneath them, walk up the staircase next to them, and look down on them from the balcony above.
Here’s the one I’m completely satisfied with, made with discarded furniture and pencils:
A detail shows the subtle detail of the embedded pencils: