Saturday, May 9, 2009

Alternative Clothing & Pocketology

Exciting Summer Announcement Number 2! Figuring it was just as easy to fill out two scholarship applications simultaneously, I also applied for classes at Penland Mountain School of Craft, outside of Asheville, North Carolina. And, yay! I've been offered a work-study scholarship to study there the first two weeks in June! The class is:

Alternative Clothing & Pocketology, with Jan-Ru Wan:

Pocket: a small pouch inside a garment for carrying small articles; a resting place for our hands; a temporary container while we travel through our lives; a transition space between our body and the outside world; maybe even an intimate space for our thoughts or fears. We will explore different ways to make pockets to create space and volume in wearable art/sculpture/installation work. We will create our sculptures on the body by recycling old tailored suits and other found materials.

I'm really excited to take this class! After reading it's description in the Penland catalogue, I couldn't help but dwell on the fact that handbags are simply portable pockets. I think this class will help me expand my understanding of the objects that I am increasingly drawn to making- and to be able to push the boundaries of what a handbag/pocket is. I also keep thinking about a pocket's inherent secrecy, privateness and, in breaking those traditions, it's sense of permission. You'd never just stick your hand in someone's pockets (or, similarly, casually enter and look through a persons's bag)- however permission to do these things is sometimes offered. Intimacy? Anyway- as the date of the class approaches I find myself waning more and more poetic about the conceptual potentials.

Aka... I am stoked.

The artist teaching the class is Taiwanese fiber artist, Jan-Ru Wan. Her complicated and varied body of work evokes a conversation about repetition, meditation, gender, tradtition and spirituality.

"By manipulating common objects I intend to re-contextualize them to be perceived with different kinds of senses creating new avenues. I have always emphasized the contrast between the interior and exterior of my work: harshness vs. softness; tension vs. freedom; free floating vs. measuring; compulsive energy vs. imperturbable silence. This gives rise to the simultaneous existence of repulsion and compulsion. All contradictions melt into a new kind of balance." -Jan-Ru Wan (exerpt of an artist statement)

Jan-Ru Wan's "The Ripple of Resonance" is made up of 800 printed plastic houses, each with a bell inside that was dipped in wax.

Jan-Ru Wan's "Sprouting Within" is made of two ikat weaves with acupuncture needles and glass test tubes.

“Weight on my shoulder”

“Weight on my shoulder” detail

“We are on the same boat"

“We are on the same boat” detail

More links for Jan-Ru Wan:


Elizabeth said...

ooooooh! It sounds so so so wonderful! Please make sure to tell us all about it when you get back.

p.s. Are you still going to Snow Farm this summer?

roskos said...

after reading this i thought, pockets are kinda vag'ie... intimacy, and stolen privilges... (of course I would think of that)
what about the pick pocket? the pick purse pocket?
also... ladies historically tied pockets around their waists and just had slits at the side of their garments (i'm sure you knew this)
much like today's coveralls have pockets and then slits to allow access to the pockets of your pants.
also.. do i need to say "reveal, conceal" sorry...
i found it also interesting that she defined pockets as a place to put your hands... that's kinda heavy... expression, gesture, hands of us crafts people... and pockets= their resting place: nests: beds: place to hide and recouporate:safty: womb: circle back to...
pouch pocket
pocket rhymes with locket
now i'm stoked too..!
So excited for you!
ps. so... you can't have animal crackers anymore...??

Sasha said...

that's very cool. The art museum has a similar exhibit of making beautiful things from ordinary objects. you should go see it if you have not already.