Friday, August 8, 2008
I've had a long break from blogging which is its own story but I thought I would start back with some writing I did for my exhibit called Stories up through August 14 at Isalos Fine Arts in Stonington. The image above is of a new piece from the show titled Tattered Messages.
These are my stories on the walls of this gallery, on the pages of this catalog, told in the manner that suits me best, a blend of ways of making learned through education and experience and melded to create my own vocabulary.
I first turned to textiles after a childhood in suburbia with a working mom, one who didn’t sew. Off to a sophisticated east coast art school and feeling lost among my more mature fellow students, I slowly taught myself the secrets of fabric and fiber and chose needle and thread rather than the pencil or brush or camera to start to tell my stories. Traditional media for my gender but new to me, the lines came easier, the shapes revealed themselves and the particular joys of layers and textures were mine to work with.
Another shift, a random evening watching someone make paper from scraps pulverized in a blender and the recognition of connection. Handmade paper opened up more possibilities of translucence, of softness and stability. A more formal course followed along with the acquisition of equipment and skills. Growing up in my family bookstore made the choice natural, from stories written on paper to stories written with paper.
More time, more materials I could call my own, more embedded stories. Building a house brought wood and nails and structure. Having a baby created smaller units, pieces fashioned over many days in smaller bits of time. Loss and letting go led me to incorporate found objects with their own histories, rusted, broken and burnt.
How can we not tell stories every moment? The stories may be uncomfortable, complicated, best left half-told but they come out again and again in what we make, the way we move, the words we choose, the clothes we wear and our simplest gestures towards others. Forgotten, flawed, coded, layered, embellished, personal, universal, straight or with a twist, they wrap us with comfort as we take each plain or fancy piece and weave them into an ever-shifting whole.