Sunday, April 16, 2006

Something Old, Something New & What's in a Name?

Hi Everyone,

Thanks for the comments to the last post. Sara & Judy left interesting comments about their experiences with labels & labeling. Sista Sledge shared an experience that forced her to take her textiles out of storage. (Sista Sledge actually is my sister, Mary Kay, who creates wonderful costumes for theater productions. FYI My mother is a quilter; so there is a tradition of textiles in my family.)

I'm going to deviate a bit from the text-textile connection in today's posting. I've been lucky enough to have been invited by the fabuzoid wedge weaver, Deborah Corsini, to appear in a master/apprentice show as her apprentice. Deborah is also influenced by international textiles, and she has been very influential in the dyeing and quilt fabric design communities. Her work is in many collections, including that of US embassies overseas. One of her wedge weaves actually was the image used in the publicity for the event. The show is sponsored by the Baulines Craft Guild, and is called Inspired by Marin -- the Spirit of the Baulines Craft Guild. Here's that image of Deborah's that was used for the publicity:

The show's opening was Thursday, April 13, 2006, and I'm going to show a few pieces that I have in the event. The first one is a new piece called Shibori Strip Weaving #2, which is a strip weaving of plain weave white dumpster rayon strips shibori dyed in indigo. (The rayon is called the dumpster rayon because my friend Amanda Snedaker retrieved the rayon from the dumpster when the Berkeley yarn store, Straw into Gold, closed a few years back. The rayon was left over after the final sale ended, but the employees couldn't give her the rayon. The employees put the rayon into the dumpster, and then Amanda had to retrieve the rayon from the dumpster. Maybe the employees weren't allowed to give away merchandise?) This piece is 116"H x 49"W (including fringe), when it's not wrapped on a dress form. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera to the opening, but Asoke Thapa graciously agreed to take images of my two new pieces & e-mail them. Thanks to Asoke. Here are images of the full piece and a detail of the train:

Another new piece I had in the exhibit was Shadow Weave Strip Weaving, woven from l0/2 tencel. Here are two more images by Asoke:

Also in the show was that triple-weave strip that I mentioned a few posts ago, as well as three older pieces: Oh Kuso, which I mentioned in my first post, as well as Spaghetti Strap #2 and All American Cock Ring.

Spaghetti Strap #2 was created for the
Conference of Northern California Handweavers 2004 exhibit gallery entitled The Body Adorned. It is a sleazy basket weave of spaghetti with a card-woven label of double-faced tablet-woven lettering saying "Noodle & Co." (Thanks to
Linda Hendrickson who taught me double-faced tablet-woven lettering. Check out her site, especially the table-woven pangrams in her gallery.) Here's an image of the spaghetti strap taken by Sarah Wagner:

The final piece is All American Cock Ring, which is a double-faced tablet woven cock ring, with the words, "Does size really matter?" on it. A cock ring is a device that a man wraps around certain parts of his body to keep one part of his body engorged with blood. I also included images of a house and car, which are two other American male fertility symbols in which size seems to matter. I created this piece because I am mystified why there is a preoccupation with size in American culture and why many Americans cannot be happy with un-supersized things. Also, as a member of the gay community, I am mystified by gay culture’s glorification of giant phalluses. It seems to me that this preoccupation with bigger things is a result of people not being happy with what they have and not looking within for happiness. Of course, the commodity culture of the media plays a huge role in people’s unhappiness because people are told by the media that they are not “good enough” if they do not have the latest, greatest, and biggest thing. Also, there is peer pressure to acquire bigger and better things. Which force drives which – do the media drive people to be unhappy and consume or does peer pressure drive the media or is it circular? On another level, the placement of the handwoven cock ring on the industrial mill bobbin can be viewed as representative of the male/female realms and the tension between the two. Historically in America, females have been relegated to the handicrafts realm, but when textiles became industrialized (and money could be made), men managed the mills. My placement of this handwoven (i.e., female realm) piece on this industrial (i.e., male realm) bobbin actually was an accidental a tongue-in-cheek gesture that ended up having symbolic meaning. Another take on this is the idea that the lowly-status woman is supporting her flaccid man. To tell you the truth, I didn't have all of this in mind when I put the ring on the bobbin -- I just thought it looked good. Only after the fact did I realize the significance (if any). Here are images taken by Sarah Wagner of the full piece & detail:

Finally, to adress the question: "What's in a name?" At the opening of the event, my friend & mentor, Marlene Golden, told me that I needed better names for my strip weavings. I thought about it, and I realize that I don't have exotic names for my strip weavings because I'm fascinated by process & documentation of my process. Naming a piece Shibori Strip Weaving #2 may be boring, but it helps me keep track of the placement of that piece in my creative process, i.e., that's the second strip weaving in that style. I notice, however, that on the one-offs, or pieces that won't have a follow-up (e.g., the All-American Cock Ring), I do use more creative names. Lots to think about.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So are you saying that art communicates and the one offs are art? The strip weavings are craft and all about process? Yes lots to think about for me too. Penny