Project Highlight | Walking Libraries (2016-2019)

Project Highlight | Walking Libraries

Handmade | Trend Tablet

Posted on: Tuesday, January 29, 2013

'Fete for the Senses' in the 'Handmade' section of Trend Tablet

So thrilled that Fete for the Senses was recently celebrated and reviewed on Trend Tablet

Rhiannon SIlver Gilmore, a visual researcher, maker, and creator of the blog, Intelligent Clashing, wrote a very thoughtful piece on the December event that I created in my home with a hand-picked selection of artists, designers, and slow design advocates.

image: Abigail Doan (left); Balmaseda (right)

In my interview with Rhiannon, I shared the following regarding my vision for the event:

"The idea itself came from Dali’s Les Diners de Gala, a 1971 publication with extravagant fete recipes and surrealistic visuals that explore the pleasures of taste and unbridled artistic passion. Inspired, Doan wanted to apply this spirit to the organic realm, one ‘where fibre and slow craft methodologies might be at play and seem rich’ connecting people with their senses and so providing them with vital information for meaningful decision making and more balanced consumption choices. In this way Fete for the Senses was meant to be more than a party, an exhibit, or a showcase but ultimately a way to sensitize each person to experiences that better inform them about what their true passions might be and in turn what they are hungry for and attracted to. In Doan’s own words, ‘Desire is something that needs to be examined both as a way for creating deeper relations but also for gaging how sustainable strategies are ultimately implemented and shared."

More multi-sensory projects and news to come from my current stay in San Francisco.

Spherical Themes in the Studio and Beyond

Posted on: Monday, January 21, 2013

Matthew Harding's 2010 graduate collection inspired in part
by Naum Gabo's spherical sculpture via Kingdom of Style

So as a continuation of last week's inquiry into studio practice, social media sharing, and the parameters of one's day-to-day creative process, I am continuing to delve into a few long-overlooked topics by examining where art, fiber, textile, and fashion initiatives meaningfully overlap and when and where they should perhaps remain separate.

These thoughts (re) surfaced for me again last week as I began to really assess just how much time I have to do things effectively and with real purpose, and how/why it sometimes might not make sense for me to spend so much time looking at fashion when in the end I am not a designer per se, a fashion theorist, an editor, or an expert on any of these topics.

One might insist that divisions of this sort are truly a thing of the past, but when one really gets down to it, these separate disciplines or labels sometimes also exist for a reason – at least academically or even economically. A fashion designer basically has certain things that they must accomplish in order to stay a float as a name or brand while also preserving the respect of their professional peers as well as a broader, consumer following.

Artists, similarly assess each other's work with a time-tested set of criteria that seems to basically carry over from year to year, regardless of how much one chooses to deviate or throw off the shackles of traditional art world models. Let's face it, the notions of publish or perish, or exhibit or fade away, exist for an often limiting reason.

Detail of work by artist/sculptor, Naum Gabo

With all of this in mind, I guess that I am now in a mode where I am looking to operate in a more spherical manner – with softer boundaries, more pliable dimensions, or via smart collaborative intersections. That said, in the end this sort of evolution makes you neither an artist or fashion thinker, but perhaps just a material poet or a carver of shared aesthetic experiences and much-needed cultural/environmental tools. 

Intention is what seems to pull me through space more than any end goals per se. How this will be viewed over time is something that may or may not be fortified by selective social media sharing. And does collaborating in virtual space, in terms of mutual support, have any lasting value? We shall see.

Documenting | Process

Posted on: Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Workspace materials documented with Instagram

I had an interesting catch up with my artist friend, Brece Honeycutt, a week or so ago, and one of the topic threads that came out during our conversation was how and why (even) more documentation (of process) should be a part of my work. This observation was coming from me actually, despite being some one who probably shares more than she should online before critical details are resolved from both a material and conceptual standpoint.

It is curious to me these days how one is often tempted to take a photo of a work in progress via Instagram – particularly when one might want to test how a certain studio scene or new form might look with an applied filter.

Eve Hesse with her work – seeing the artist in this manner 
seems integral to better understanding her process at the time

I know that Eva Hesse would never have done this. (I suspect.) Why is my ego currently connected to this mode of documenting just because the technology exists and the sharing promises to link us to other like-minded creators and visual storytellers?

Alyce Santoro's Sonic Sail installation
 photographed with Instagram at Gasser Grunert Gallery

I thought about this more when visiting Alyce Santoro's exhibition in Chelsea last week, particularly as I snapped photos of her exquisite sonic fabric installations and Philosoprop and ontological apparatus creations. Was I doing her a disservice by providing an immediate recording of the event – even if folks seemed to be really "liking" what they were viewing in my virtual community? 

"Documentation" is a definitely a subjective act these days, and one where the goals are not always clear. Perhaps this is what I am struggling with. A record of making that allows for open-endedness, both in terms of a genuine process and the inclusion of a wider audience. 

There are also performative aspects to creating work, documenting it, and then sitting back to absorb the feedback via social media. The real issue is that critical feedback does not come in the form of mere "likes" or virtual heart icons. The art world is surely tougher than this.

Detail of a collage from 1997 photographed with Instagram

I will try something that straddles the road perhaps. A playful documentation process and then a bit of privacy to create things that must hold up to the scrutiny of unfiltered viewing. I will say that documenting old(er) work with a new filter, like this collage photographed one morning with Instagram, does allow for seeing things in a new way, or rather in a way that reminds you of who you were before the onset of social media sharing.

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