Tangents

May 28, 2011

One nice thing about residencies is having the time and space to let yourself do anything–play if you will. Not that I normally ignore the urge to go off on tangents, but here you don’t have to feel as guilty about it when you do… So here’s some recent tangents:

built a funny little experimental diorama in a thrift store pitcher

though I'm not a big fan of clever art, I just thought this miniature 50 lb. bag of sugar was too funny--here it is submerged in crystal solution

this place is filled with giant bugs--constantly flying overhead and getting underfoot

every other day I come into the studio to find a new bug "trapped" in one of the pieces

these started out as technical experiments, but I realized I was thinking of them as my little pets

so now I think of them as bugs, influenced by early summer in Southwest Virginia

Progress

May 24, 2011

Southwest Virginia is entering full fledged summer mode–80 degree weather every day, brilliant sunshine interrupted by the occasional brief but powerful thunderstorm. I love it! Thankfully the studios and housing all have air conditioning so it’s easy to escape the sometimes thick humidity. But I digress. I loaded up the next tank full of new work this weekend–a waist piece and a head piece. Here’s some images of the waist piece in progress:

it sort of runs from underneath the breast, up to the armpit

a detail of a new technique, sewing parts together, that I'm really liking... even though it's incredibly tedious to do...

the new piece, off the form and into the tank

the same piece, now suspended in solution

Focus…

May 19, 2011

I returned late last night (or early this morning depending on how you look at it) from a blitzkrieg trip to NYC. Am totally exhausted, but happy that I went because it confirmed pretty much everything about my move up there in just a few weeks–studio, apartment, and at least a temp job if not a full time one. Hopefully this means I’ll be able to set most of my worries aside and finally really focus on what I’m doing here in the studio, which includes:

sewing

cooking

crafting

patterning

knitting

VCCA!

May 3, 2011

Arrived here in Amherst yesterday afternoon–unloaded and unpacked everything (studio and room) and spent the evening setting up my studio to begin working today. The housing here is amazing–it’s like having my own hotel room–I have a balcony! Which I love, though I wish there was a cheap plastic chair I could leave out there because I intend to hang out on that balcony as much as possible… I also have my own sink, so no worries about hogging the bathroom or battling with my bathroom partner for time–we only have to share the toilet and shower. The room has tons of storage (although I don’t know for what since I only brought one small duffle bag worth of clothing), an exposed brick wall, AC, and a nice little armchair–way better than my VSC accomodations. Now all you VSC fans out there, remember, I worked there. I realize some of the rooms are huge and awesome, I just got stuck with a closet sized one. Everyone here (except one or two people) have the same setup so no room discrepancies. My studio is huge–very long, kind of skinny, which is totally fine with me. It had a ton of furniture already in it–all of it on casters, which is awesome–including a bed and there’s a shower down the hall if I wanted to crash here at any point. I also have my own slop sink, which is great because I spend a lot of time at it cleaning tanks and buckets, pots and pans. And there’s AC in my studio! So no worries about having to become nocturnal because it gets too hot, cooking in studio in the summer. It’s on a beautiful, hilly, woodsy farm with a lake/pond on one side, railroad on another, and a local route on the other with cows, horses and dogs. Nothing within walking distance, so can’t stumble home from the Hub or grab a quick slice of pizza, but as a much smaller residency (only about 20 people at a time–artists, writers and composers), it’s just a lot quieter, more focused and a more intimate setup. Enough blabbing, here’s some pics before unpacking or setting anything up:

the lovely setup in my room--storage, sink and shelves stocked with books!

bedroom with balcony!

view from my balcony

my gigantic studio--even has a slew of clamp lights

mini bedroom in my studio

Old Habits Die Hard

January 10, 2011

Here I am on a Monday, my usual blog time, itching to post something. I guess despite letting go of my personal rule to post something every Monday, I can’t let go of the habit. So I will continue for now… Things I found while cleaning my studio upon my return from the holiday season and purged:

A years worth of residency calendars

and name tags (I got lazy at the end)

This is not nostalgia. These are battle scars I’m happily throwing away.

Week 44 of 48

December 6, 2010

Wow, I can’t believe there are only two weeks left to my year here (in residency time that is). Back at the beginning of this, I thought it would never end and of course it has flown by soooo fast. Time here is incomprehensible… it’s funny to me that I tried to blog every week to help keep the time, but it still feels equally ungraspable. Something about the way the residency schedule works and my odd relationship to it as a staff member makes time especially bizarre. It seems all the more appropriate that I do time-based work. As if by working with time as a medium, I could force it into compliance with my objectives, but of course in the end it doesn’t actually make a difference. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to take a more personal direction with the work—something that reflects the transience and instability of my own life and time here. Since I will be wrapping up the suit of armor before I leave for the holidays, I will try to set up the beginnings of the next piece so it can grow while I am away. This means that I have to decide what the next piece is! So, in between working through the difficult task of assembling the armor, I am trying to make some decisions about how to move forward after it’s done. I’m actually not happy with the suit of armor itself. I have to finish it since I already invested three months worth of energy and sugar into growing it, but I realize now that it really isn’t the right application for the rock candy. I don’t regret making it—I needed something concrete to get started and figure out what the candy can really do—but now that I’ve learned everything that I can from the process of making it, I am ready to step back and rethink my approach. Lately I have been more excited by thinking about what is next then with finishing the damn thing in front of me! But I guess that’s often how it goes…

Anyways, enough chit chat. Here are some pics of a few new experiments growing crystals on raw wool, fresh off the sheep.

just a wad of wool, half dipped in solution, growing crystals

these blue ones also served as a test of making solution with fabric dye instead of food coloring

I needle felted these a bit first so the fibers are a little more dense and purposefully shaped

these were also needle felted but grown in a tank of regular solution instead of fabric dye solution

Week 40 of 48

November 10, 2010

I’ve been out of town traveling again, which is why this post is a few days later than usual. Rather than get into studio stuff, I’d like to use this post to officially announce that I’ve decided to stay at VSC for a few extra months. This might sound crazy to those of you who know how hard my time here has been (the count-down nature of this blog from week 1 is case in point…), but I’m looking forward to having a few more months to push one more big show/project and to making a little extra money to move with, before packing up for the next thing life has in store for me. I’m technically scheduled to install another show in the Red Mill a week from today–which is insane as I am not anywhere near ready for it and have done nothing to prepare for it in terms of announcing it, making show cards, etc. I think I’m approaching it more as an opportunity to continue my photography efforts in a nicer space and just to get some things out of the studio with some space to really look at and think about them. It will also force me to make some decisions about how to present certain items that have been sitting in the studio for months, waiting for me to figure out what to do with them. So I think I’m going to move forward with it anyways without making too big of a deal out of it. Then I can schedule one last show for March (I will leave VSC late March/early April) to round out my time here.

That’s all for now! Next week I’ll post some in progress shots and I’m getting closer to having the website refresh done so I might be able to post that soon as well. I’m going to continue to write once a week until the initial year (48 weeks) is up. After that, I’m thinking of doing this a little less regularly since it doesn’t feel as important anymore to mark my time here. I’ll probably go back to just posting things whenever something especially exciting is happening…

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