Sunday, April 12, 2009

Wool Equal Bronze/ Time Does Not Equal Money

The past few month, during which I have been admittedly blog-negligent, I have actually been quite busy! It was just the kind of busy that takes a few months to get results... y'know... applications kind of busy. Show submission, summer scholarships... I feel like all I did in February was apply for shit. (After which was followed by a period of unprecedented productivity.) But it's all starting to pay off! I'll be posting exciting news as it is confirmed.

First! I've been offered a Teaching Assistantship at Haystack School of Craft in Deer Isle, Maine! If you haven't heard of Haystack, it is a fairly prestigious program for students of all ages. Last summer I didn't even get in, so I'm pretty stoked about this year.

("Studios remain open 24 hours a day, seven days a week while workshops are in session." Basically, all I want in life.)

The class I'm going to TA is called Knitting: Wool Equals Bronze/ Time Does Not Equal Money, with artist Janet Morton:

"This workshop will explore hand knitting as a valid and vital sculptural/installation medium and as an alternate means of measuring time. Through a series of slide talks, discussions, and exercises, participants will be encouraged to playfully and critically examine their relationships to the natural world, everyday objects, and equations that link time to “value”. Experimentation with materials, scale, technique, and ideas will be encouraged. Participants will develop personal projects, and will be invited to work collectively on an onsite project."

O. M. G. !!!!!!

Sorry for my temporary lapse into 14-year-old-ism but, c'mon! Could this class possibly sound like something I'd be MORE into?!? The TA application asked for a MFA level education in the subject you were hoping to work with and since there really are no MFA degrees in knitting I managed to convince the scolarship committee that my two-straight years of doing basically nothing BUT knitting (and watching copius amounts of tv-on-dvd) was just as good as a degree. It's SOO vidicating: I'd been spending quite a bit of time lately bemoaning my "waste" of knitting time spent over the last few years... mainly because I wasn't making Art (capital letter.) Now I feel like it was worth it... and here's my chance to transition all of my new knitting skills back into a conceptual avenue. YES!

I refrained from looking up Janet Morton's work until I got into the program (mostly in an attempt to not get my hopes up, I think.) It's AMAZING. Here are some of my favorites:

Sweaterbike, 1994. hand knit bicycle covering
When you're cold... put a sweater on your bike? Now I really want to make one for my bike... but I'd have to make it removable for easy laundering.. this city is so dirty...

Canadian Monument #, 1994. hand screened red flannel, dinner plates. 20 x 12 ft.
Lucy Larcom reincarnated! Maybe a lumber-jack love interest? Anyway, totally awesome.

Newsflash Blanket, 1995. hand knit blanket. 23 x 9 ft.

Newsflash; Madame Defarge Eat your Heart Out, detail.
1995. stacks of the three Toronto daily newspapers, 12 framed images of knitter, 1000-plus balls of wool, a false floor, chair, vinyl text, and a television playing.
I think the title for this is HILARIOUS because my mother mentions this Dickens character in response to all of my text-based fibers work. Seriously, she's mentioned it at least 3 times. Here, at least some of the irony is the fact that knitting anything that complicated can HARDLY be called a "flash." To me, it also references traditional women's work and the overwhelming contemporary news consumption.

Capitol, 2004. hand knit model of the Capitol Building. 30 x 20 in.
Swoooooon. This way beats the knit turtles.

Felled, 1997. 300 leaves sewn from used work socks form poetry translation.

Felled, detail. 1997.
"I interpret this making of beautiful delicate items, from work-worn, day-to-day socks as a mark of respect for the labour they participated in." (From the Lovely Textiles blog, linked to below.) I also wonder if the title isn't a reference to the sacrifices one makes for "work;" injuries and sheer time spent toiling.

Changing Channels, 2000. 36 gutted televison sets, plants.
What a fantastic container garden! There are a number of my favorite artists who blend fiber art with gardening. I know that Ghada Amer has spoken briefly about the connection between gardening, domesticity and women's work, but I feel like there might be something more there. It's a topic I might explore more in the near future.

And those were just the highlights! For a much better interpretation/discussion of Janet Morton's work, check out this blog I found while google-ing "Janet Morton". Also check out the rest of Janet's online portfolio. Amazing!

I can't wait to have the opportunity to work with such an amazing artist and to experience the creative atmosphere I've heard such wonderful things about at Haystack. The end of August it gonna rule!


Anonymous said...

WHOO-HOO!!! Congratulations, Nora!! You are going to be a fabulous teacher for this workshop! Good job, Haystack, for having the sense to hire you.

And... Yes! Gardens, crafts, fibers, knitting, domesticity, and women's work. Yes yes yes

Fiberista Nora said...

thanks! Who is this?

Elizabeth said...

OH it sounds wonderful. Like a dream.

Susan K. said...

Defiinitly using the sweater bike in my newest entry on my el-bloggo, "Makeshift Bike" I love knitting for my bike and currently making handlebar covers, I never really thought to add tassles.