As part of my recent re-introduction to NYC, I was finally able to soak up 'Teem: an installation' while visiting the Textile Arts Center in Brooklyn last Thursday for meetings and a Japan fundraiser event. Created by artists Mary Babcock and Christopher Curtin, Teem's site-specific dream space references bodies of water in a meditative and completely immersive manner.
"Suspended horizontal planes of lightweight, translucent silk are blown by rhythmically timed fans as audience members are beckoned to lie beneath this "screen" of textiles that mimic the constant flux of the ocean's surface. Six shibori hand-dyed silk "rivers" rotate in negative space above the billowing white silk surface below. These "rivers" interact with the ocean as the large silk surface is gently blown up into their paths. Each is affected by the gentle caress that takes place, and the result is mixing of the diaphanous silk and the ephemeral, fleeting movements of the river above."
- from the "Teem" proposal by Mary Babcock and Christopher Curtin
The timing was perfect for my visit as 1) I was still a bit jet-lagged, so the opportunity to stretch out on Teem's floor futons and gaze overhead at the waves of silk and the shibori-stained waterfalls in the front windows was completely restorative, and 2) I was able to donate to and at least catch the first part of a shibori-dye workshop that TAC was sponsoring as a fundraiser for Japan. The event raised $300 U.S. dollars for World Vision and participants were also able to learn more about an ancient dye process in conjunction with the opportunity to discuss recent events or simply the day that had unfolded. This is why TAC is such a valuable resource and paradigm for how to build community. Understanding textiles helps one to decode what connects us as well as differentiates us, as decisions are made about materials, techniques, and the intentions put forth in what one is crafting and envisioning.
Shibori workshop participants sharing and deep in dialogue
Shibori flowing beyond borders
all photos by Abigail Doan