Lost in a sea of materials

I haven’t gleaned in a few weeks. It has become very clear that I needed to take a break from gleaning to actually make art with the massive amounts of materials that have accumulated in a corner of my studio. Now I am in art making mode, spreading out my materials like a messy little mouse making a nest in her house.

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So, here I am currently lost in a sea of materials. I am making lots of art, but I feel a bit directionless at the moment. My instinct is to explore and play with the materials, making components for my sculptures, sewing, embroidering, stuffing polyfill into things, and sewing more. I’m feeling unfocused about where the sculptures are going and what they are going to be, which is pretty normal for me.  I’m taking it as a sign that I need to lose myself in the process. I am trusting that I am meant to let the materials guide me right now. I always think of Jackson Pollack as the ultimate example of an artist who can lose himself in his materials and process. Sewing is not as given to immediacy as is painting, but I’m trying to channel my inner Pollack in my stitches. I’m trying to stay loose. 

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Here I am wearing some of my sculptures. Sometimes you have to wear your sculptures when you work in fiber even if they are not technically meant to be worn.

How it all started….

I thought it would be interesting to share how I got started making wearable art, since it’s kinda unusual, and when we were doing studio tours with the other artists, it was such a treat to be lead behind their mind curtain.

I have a background in Design and Technical Theater, as well as Cosmetology, and Physical Theater.  My greatest living mentor is, Cathy Norgren, my design teacher in college.  Cathy took me under her wing and ferociously challenged and stretched me.  I see the world completely differently because of her.

My last year as her student, a group of designers went to the Regional American College Theater Festival.  She was the national chair– a pretty prestigious role.  She warned us not to get arrested or deeply embarrass her.  Why did that feel like a challenge?  Also important to note;  Cathy had bruised her elbow.  It was healed.  But she continued to wear her sling as a warning for people to treat her arm gently.  My response to her sling warning, was that she should wrap herself in caution tape.  AND THIS, was how it all started.

I needed to actualize this joke!  There were five of us in total.  Our last day at the festival, we spent the afternoon, between workshops, making costumes for the awards ceremony.  Our arrival, into this stuffy, competitive, auditorium was ridiculously spectacular.  We ended up winning a bunch of awards too (unprecedented at the time). As we marched on stage to collect our awards, people went crazy.  We brought the scraps from our makings, and quickly made ties or bracelets for any enthusiastic fan (which there was an abundance).  We covered our audience in caution tape mimics.  Needless to say, Cathy was gushingly proud of our outrageousness.

A light came on for me that day.  Making caution tape wearables combines all these elements of myself together:  Comedy. Performance. and Design.

Later, I would move to Portland and volunteer for Junk To Funk’s recycled fashion show contest.  I continued to create more “trashion,” as my humanitarian lens sharpened.

I’m excited to share my new collection in September with you all.  It’s less “funny” more absurd.  And definitely over the top!!!