Sunday, April 17, 2016

The work of my hands, out of my hands

For my exhibit, Fiber Pursuits: Theories of Seeing at the Moira Fitzsimmons Arons Gallery at Hamden Hall Country Day School, I have hung 31 pieces of my fiber work. These works include tapestry, rug hooking, handwoven yardage, garments and a mess of other fiber techniques I've been playing around with over the years.

I had the great pleasure of being able to hang out with students at the school for a week, sharing with them simple ways to use fiber as a medium for expression. As we walked to the gallery from the art studio, arriving in the courtyard, I told them to look toward the gallery and asked,  "do you see me?" Some looked right at me and said, "yeah, you're right here".  Then I directed their eyes to the gallery and asked again..."do you see me, there, in the gallery?" The look on some of their faces when they did was priceless.

Can you see me? 

"Coffee, tea, me", wool, safety and straight pins, tea bags, coffee bags on plastic garden mesh, 2016.

It was both surprising and exciting to hear their views of my work, what techniques interested them and what they liked (or didn't) about it. They even contributed by adding tea bags and coffee bag tags to "Coffee, tea, me".  

The central, curved wall of the gallery

I had never seen the gallery in person until the day I arrived to install my work. The performing arts center houses the theater which is behind the gallery. The gallery has a curved wall that measures 37 feet with stairwells on either end. The wall of floor-to-ceiling windows fronting the gallery is interspersed with spaces between the windows. These were wide enough to showcase some of the smaller pieces. 

Handwoven Sakiori scarf, Original Polaroid, Enlargement, Polaroid 1 (tapestry), Polaroid 2 (hooked),
Polaroid 3 (knit, crochet), Polaroid 4 (layered/quilted/slashed)

Handwoven Sakiori scarf, original Polaroid and enlargement

The view from the right stairwell

Caryn Azoff manages the gallery and was simply brilliant in guiding everything into this arrangement. She had me lay everything out first and then we moved to fill the walls. Even though I had made all this stuff, it was still surprising how things fell into place as we decided on what went where. My studio at home is made up of more than a few different main and auxiliary work spaces on three, sometimes four, different floors (we have a funny house). Oftentimes, the individual pieces never live near each other, much less meet. It was neat to see some things "speaking" to others. 

Icy/Hot Mess (tapestry) and Rubik's Box (pin loom woven on felt), unsolved
I particularly enjoy the Icy/Hot Mess and Rubik's Box pairing. Two pieces created three years and an ocean apart (I wove Mess while in Paris), together at last! Rubik's is made of multiple individually-woven squares, some of which can be moved about. I encouraged the students to "play" with the box. It was interesting to see those whose tendency it was to solve it versus those who chose to mix it up. The box is free-standing and, when at home, usually houses a few of my favorite cassette tapes.

Icy/Hot Mess, Rubik's Box, solved!

Detour (oil on canvas board), American Night (tapestry)

Squares & Stripes (pin loom woven handspun and commercial yarn on mesh screen)
Rice Bag, 0% Fiber (hooked) and Basmati rice bag, original state

I was taken by the way the light moved across my work throughout the day,
loving the shadow play on my Polaroid/World Outside My Window Series

So Bleu (tapestry), Polaroid Series 5 (felt)

Song of Autumn (handwoven, printed), Fall Cocoon Jacket (layered/quilted/slashed), Crocus Top (handwoven)

Nova's Little Flower Medallion Oriental, Watermelon Rug (both hooked),
Green Mountain Meadow shrug (handwoven, fulled wool)

Left stairwell: Purple Haze and Red Mountain Meadow yardage (handwoven fulled wool), Rose Taupe Basketweave Float yardage (handwoven fulled wool), HK Vest inlay (handwoven Theo Moorman technique)

Purple Haze yardage, detail

Rose Taupe Basketweave Float yardage, detail

Aube (tapestry), Woven Together (silk band weaving, cut and rewoven)

And summer's lease hath all too short a date (tapestry)

My show's reception was very well-attended by family, friends (old and new) and fiber art enthusiasts. It was extremely humbling to see so many people there. I was so engaged with guests that I suffered a major bout of camnesia (failure to remember to use camera). Therefore, I have no actual photo evidence of all those people wondering after my curious creations. My memories will have to hold me. 

Thank you so much to all who braved the strange snowy, windy, sunny weather to join me!

Aller Simple, Greetings from..., (both tapestry woven) and Tranquil Blue
(Theo Moorman inlay woven), Squares and Stripes (pin loom woven), reflected in the windows

The show is up until the end of the month at  the Moira Fitzsimmons Arons Gallery in the Performing Arts Center at Hamden Hall Country Day School, 1108 Whitney Avenue, Hamden, Connecticut. 
Please visit in person if you can and sign the guestbook!  

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