Monday, December 31, 2012

Student Mail Art Exchange

 I don't care what anyone says, I love the post office. But before I climb too high atop my public vs private enterprise soapbox I'll tell you the most recent reason for my love. You may remember some of my past forays in mail art- so, I was over the moon excited to participation in a mail art swap with my friend Michael's high school sculpture class. I don't actually know much about how he started the project- I would be curious, actually, to hear what prompts he gave to the students. We, the artists participating in the swap, were just told to respond to the piece we received in the mail.

Piece 1: Student work

The writing on the front of the wood block reads, "solid."

 The back reads,  "cracked."

The sides are labeled with the same two words.

Piece 2: My work

I decided to respond predominantly to the first piece's state of contradiction:  the wood block cannot be both solid and cracked, yet it is. Fibers is the language I speak, so fibers is the language I responded with.

(The miracle of water-soluble interfacing.)

The text was another element of the original piece that I was drawn to. Therefore, I labeled my own postcard with a similarly contradictory word.

My postcard is both solid and flexible.

My biggest regret is how long it took me to get back to my partner. (Shaaame.) It's so different working in the "real" world... with  job and another job and a life... without the structure of a class to keep me on my game. (I'd like to say that my second response was any more timely but, let's be honest. Nope.) At least I wasn't the only one!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Fun-A-Day 2013

I always forget about Fun-A-Day until the last day of December. Every time.

Which is even more ridiculous when you consider that I helped (only sort of) to instigate Chicago's participation this year! Huzzah! Thanks mostly to the super-powers of Rachel Wallis and her team of heroes, our fine city's month-long projects will be displayed at the Threadless Retail Shop (3011 N. Broadway.)

The fun starts tomorrow with our official kickoff event, for which I’ll be doing the workshop on fabric yoyos! Also called rosettes, yoyo quilts were common during the great depression when inventive seamstresses had little-to-no funds for new materials. They’re a great use of scrap fabric. I love sewing them together to make jewelry, or onto clothes for a little extra decoration. A simple, beautiful project: perfect for fun-a-day!

You guys. I love fun-a-day. I've done it twice: the first year I only made it to the 22nd (Animal Combination Drawing a-day). Then I learned that the secret is aiming low so as to not got overwhelmed... and I ended up with one of my favorite projects! (Knot-a-day!)

I've been in sort of a (3 year) art making slump... so I'm going to try to use the next month as a jumping off point for some new work.

Sky Swatch-A-Day!

This time for real. One swatch a day, and then I'll work through and complete a piece with the swatches in time for the show in February. I have a few ideas... and I'm excited to start!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Actually Love Actually

Look, I love me some Love Actually. I await the month of December with bated breath and tingly feels of anticipation for Love Actually Season. I usually instigate my first viewing upon the first of the month and watch it an embarrassing number of times between then and Christmas when I force myself, a little heartbroken, to put it back on the shelf for another whole year. (Absence make crazymoviefeels grow stronger?)

I mean I love it. Actually.

But here's the thing.

Love Actually presents itself as a heartfelt romantic movie with someone for everyone to relate to. It's characters range from older and married to elementary-aged schoolkids and the relationships they stumble through don't all end up happily ever after. That covers all the bases, right?

Yeah, no. What it covers is romantic entanglements for upper-middle class white people. Some of whom are over fifty! (No, no it can't be true!)

Take, for example, the relationship between Hugh Grant's Prime Minister and his (slightly pudgy) staffer. (Did you guys notice how pudgy she was?) He's a rich, white man with GOBS of literal power and she's... not even a political aide. ("Who do I have to shag around here to get a chocolate biscuit?" Get it? Cause she's fat.) Their strife strikes in the form of another rich, white, evenmorepowerful man who takes advantage of the staffer's shyness and lack of self-confidence. (Why wouldn't she be confident? It's not like she's fat or anything.) I mean, it must have been her fault. Better punish her.


I mean srsly. Besides the obvious power/gender dynamic at play here, the comedy of this storyline falls so heavily on fat shaming that we're supposed to think even higher of Grant's character because he sees past her weight. (Except for, you know, when he teases her about it at the end of the film. Because it's not a big deal, right?)

Okay, I know what you're thinking. Enter Ms. Feminist Killjoy and, yeah, that might be kinda true here but remember- I LOVE Love Actually and have no intention of putting an end to my annual squealfest over Martin Freeman's perfect perfect face. Maybe the crux of it comes down to this: how do you reconcile escapism when the paradigms of that fantasy are not based on a reality you support even if they make you effusively, squidgily happy?

With that said, I present to you a proposal:

Actually Love Actually:

A movie with the same concept- finding love all around us in the real world- but one that actually shows diversity: age, race, class, hetero/homonormativity, disability, weight, power/agency, etc.
The premise of Love Actually (the original) is that "love actually is all around us;" that within the thrum of mundane, regular life lies the potential for drama, romance and, yes, love. How powerful would it be to see that kind of casual acceptance, even exaltation, of individuals outside the hollywood spectrum?

Somebody please, please, write this movie.

I'll help. By sending you chocolate biscuits. No shagging necessary.

Now excuse me, I have to go watch Love Actually and flail around my apartment.


That's it. I quit. Nothing will ever be as perfect as this wall covering.

Two summers ago I printed some wallpaper that was the weather worn shingles found on the buildings at Maine's legendary Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. As an experiment I found it interesting and it lead me to do a lot of thinking about outside vs inside walls and verisimilitude, etc etc.

But this?? Swoooon.


This wall covering is a perfect example of the simple, graceful design that grows naturally out of following a material from it's source all the way to it's destination. The wool for Filature Arpin (located in a small mountain community in eastern France) is harvested from local sheep and is processed on site: the company estimates that their fabric goes through 17-24 stages in the production process including shearing, washing, drying, spinning, weaving, and fulling/felting.
Did I mention Swoon? Because SWOOOOOOOON.

(Photo and story found in the most recent issue of Salvedge magazine.)