I spent my first week of the new semester as a work study at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, TN.
I worked 56+ hours in housekeeping in order to bank a free class during this upcoming year.
Though I didn’t get to do much art making this week, I did a some reading, writing, submitting work to shows, and residency searching in the evenings before bed. Good news is I’ve narrowed down five residencies I am going to apply to for my next step. More on that to come.
I also decided on which class I plan on attending with my banked Arrow-hours; a concrete casting class taught by Jake Weigel (art crushing so hard). The course is described as ‘using moldmaking material to create cast concrete sculptures…constructing basic armatures and the inclusion of other material for multimedia sculptures’.
I think this particular class aligns best with my work. I would be furthering my moldmaking skills, learning to work with a new material, and get to incorporate these things into the clay/mixed media work I am already exploring. Weigel makes mixed media work himself focusing in object making and instillation methods, and I would really like to get feedback on my work from him.
I’m reflecting back on the pieces that I’ve made, and thinking about the feedback from the critiques I’ve had on those pieces this semester.
I’m still thinking about the everyday, and our everyday discards, or cast-offs. This bleeds into the domestic. I’m thinking about ritual and routine, surfaces and textures that trigger the memory of these things.
My next move is to make six small, hand sized ‘studies’, focusing in on these base surfaces and materials and how they interact with each other. I want to scale way down compared to my normal size range to see how that changes things.
I feel like this semester was a huge transition of not only figuring out the next moves in my work and what direction it’s going in, but transitioning out of undergrad and figuring out how to balance my studio practice and working full time. I feel like I’ve figured out a better routine for myself the past month (getting a different job helped) and that I will feel less stressed and have way more studio time this upcoming semester.
This week the Dirt Bags had a club sale with the Print group over in the cafeteria and so I made a bunch of work to sell. It was kind of a nice break from what I have been making, getting to focus on form and function. I made planters, vases, earrings, and noodle bowls that had handles with built in strainers. I was able to keep experimenting with the colored grog that I made throughout the semester, and seeing how that could translate over to functional work without inhibiting the function.
In the past couple weeks I have done a lot of things. I finished the tile piece….
And placed the cylinders on top to mimic the formal arrangement of nesting dolls.
I also built a stand for my grandmother’s plant, that mimics the surface of these weird plastic mixing bowls the same grandmother had that I played with a lot as a kid.
I have slowly been acquiring drier lint from my own house and friends’, in hopes to use that material to surface another piece. I want the lint to serve as a representation of the cast offs of our every day, and force the viewer to approach it in a way that relates it back to the scale or presence of their own body. Still chewing on this one.
I also went to Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts the other week to assist Sean O’Connell in a week long workshop. It was focused on surface development, and it made me re-think about a few sculpture ideas I’ve been mulling over that I envisioned having some kind of repeated pattern. More things to think about.
While at Arrowmont, I made a wall piece that is referencing the blueberry bushes that were in my yard growing up. I ordered some of that green bird netting (that’s due to come in the mail tomorrow, fingers crossed), and am planning on incorporating that somehow. Considering the netting, I’m thinking about how we protect and try to maintain a thing (in this metaphor the blueberry bush) as it’s growing, developing from the environment around it.
This past week I finished making and fired my tiles that will be covering the plinth. Some warping occurred, but nothing too drastic. I made enough extras to swap out the funky ones.
Next step will be to build the plinth that these will be grouted onto.
I also started building the cylinders that will be played on top of this plinth, and I have three of the five finished.
Thinking ahead to a second piece, I hunted down and purchased a book, The Little Red Caboose, that my grandma used to read to me as a kid. I want to use some of the phrases/language to inform the next piece I’m going to make. I’ll be drawing surfaces and textures from that grandmother’s house that I spent a lot of time in. I also purchased the same plant that my grandmother owned that I would help her water to incorporate somehow.
In the past week I’ve made 160 2.5″ tiles that will be grouted over the surface of a plinth. I’m referencing the tile that was on the countertops in the kitchen of the house I grew up in. I kept the general layout of the pattern; four tiles making up a motif and the prominent color being a dark blue, but updated the pattern a bit.
I plan on placing five objects of the same form on this plinth, arranged like Russian nesting dolls from largest to smallest in a line. At the moment I’m thinking they’re going to be cylinders covered in different patterns/textures/materials. I reference the formal arrangement of the nesting dolls because it is an object that was always on display in that house, something that I played with as a kid. The repetition of form in that way is something that I have always been attracted to.
I’m still working on what the surfaces of the objects are going to be. I want to pull more formal qualities from objects in that house.
I finished The Poetics of Space with much underlining and dog-earring, and have moved onto The Everyday (a Whitechapel volume).
I’m thinking about how object and material are stored in our memory in reference of our domestic spaces. Like when you see something rather ordinary, or everyday, but it immediately triggers a memory of a specific place; a feeling of comfort.
I have visions of 2D and 3D forms of material, texture, color, grouped together in some fashion to start to form a conversation, a narrative of sorts.
I’m thinking about Bill Beckley’s work, Front Porch (1987)
When I think about my childhood home, I think:
Black and white photos
Patterned ceramic tiles
I recently started reading The Poetics of Space, per recommendation of a good friend. So far it’s dense, but a good read and has really got the wheels turning. I’m hoping this will help me figure out where exactly to start in my studio with new work.
This first discarded materials project, I choose to work with plastic grocery bags found in the alley behind my house in Old Lou. I was coming from an outsiders perspective on the detritus; having just moved here from a place 6 hours north of Louisville. This, in combination with reading The Poetics if Space, have me thinking more about material, space and the object in relation to memory.
We’ll see where this leads.