Project Highlight | Walking Libraries (2016-2019)

Project Highlight | Walking Libraries

Archaeology and Surfacing

Posted on: Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I am drifting through a variety of projects right now, and it feels as if the deeper I plunge, the more that the surface of things dazzles me and carries me along in a sort of pacifying way.

This is not to say that I am becoming complacent or seduced by images alone, but as one gets into the thick of things certain details suggest whole universes until themselves. Part personal archaeology and part messy layers, it is a process that one might consider navigating with all of the senses and faucets wide open.

Algae photographed by pathikbar

I mean if they can just discover cave paintings such as these in Mexico, 'layers' as we think that we know (and have tagged) them are still quietly rising to the surface. Why wouldn't one's own personal archaeology be the same – undiscovered until just the right time?

Somewhat like a reef or coagulation of self that drifts by for possible re-attachment.

This realization is liberating somehow, particularly when it comes to 'tackling' and 'hauling in' the work that needs to get done without causing harm.

I say that now is the time to drift all that we need to in order to anchor ourselves to something textured and resilient that was probably right under the surface all along. Loop back if you need to, and do not worry about the slow crafting agenda. It's not the tempo that ultimately matters, but the ability to recognize which layers propel us forward and backwards in uniquely transformative waves.

Katrin Sigurdardottir | Foundation (2013) in Venice

Posted on: Friday, May 24, 2013

Please enjoy my review of Icelandic artist, Katrin Sigurdardottir's project, Foundation (2013), a site-specific sculptural piece for the Lavenderia/The Old Laundry at the Palazzo Zenobio during the Venice Biennale

Katrin worked with her team to meticulously cut and place artisanal tiles in complex patterns to create this slow design installation that will gradually wear with foot traffic and the elements in future locations.

Foundation (2013) will be on view in Venice from 1 June to 24 November, 2013.

Read more on Dwell.comImages courtesy of the artist and the Icelandic Pavilion.

Swimming Right Along

Posted on: Tuesday, May 21, 2013

(above images by Abigail Doan / May 2013)

Spring is flowing right along – textures and moments of subtle (hue) comparisons are very much on my mind. I am working on my first book project related to some of these finds. More details on this during the month of June.

I keep searching for the right combination of elements and instances – naturally, like the ebb and flow of my own coastal waters. A process that I reference in this personal SWIM story recently featured on Nomad-Chic.

Beautiful and provocatively odd moments just keep drifting in, and I always interpret these events as small signs that all is on course and often beyond my daily plotting. 

Richard Tuttle / Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge, 'Hello, The Roses' (2012)

To quote Richard Tuttle, whose works I have been studying of late, it sort of flows like this:

If you’re going to be a visual artist, then there has to be something in the work that accounts for the possibility of the invisible, the opposite of the visual experience. That’s why it’s not like a table or a car or something. I think that that might even be hard for people because most of our visual experiences are of tables. It has no business being anything else but a table. But a painting or a sculpture really exists somewhere between itself, what it is, and what it is not – you know, the very thing. And how the artist engineers or manages, that is the question – Richard Tuttle via Kathryn Clark

Maintaining The Hive

Posted on: Monday, May 13, 2013

Complexities of the hive via Bart van Didden

While on the road this past week plus, exploring and exchanging stories with good folks in the Rhodope Mountains of Bulgaria, I was reminded once again of the social complexities and true artistry of beekeeping. It seems as if everyone in this part of the world has some expertise on bees and their decline – regardless of locale. With good reason, beekeeping is an ancient agrarian pastime that serves as a valid barometer for the present.

(photo by Abigail Doan)

Our hosts in Gela had these amazing beehive forms on view in their home – a reminder of traditions that run deep in this rural region and the practical inclination towards cultivating a dialogue with the land – regardless of modern changes and recent technological advances.

'Made by my Dad, Smokey, a public school math teacher in 1992/ 
restrung in 2000' via f-i-e-l-d

This got me thinking more about swarm theory as well as the ways that we mark our own productivity and historic interaction with others. How might we also embrace (map) the old in ways that defy the new? I grew up in a household that had a spinning wheel whirling in the background while evening television was on. I realize now that this was not really the norm.

We are so accustomed to stratifying the old and new in ways that no longer really work for us. Slow and fast fashion? Are we really so primitive that we need to create hierarchies for the layers of clothes that we don and how this links us to our environment, global production atrocities, and social injustices?

The hive consists of a queen bee and her workers, but no queen – at least in terms of style – should vainly sacrifice her makers. The hive itself is organically regulated unlike the factories of textile and garment production, which leads me to ask – why must we still be so cruel, even though we know that the queen and our craving for trends will always die off? 

It's an old story and one that deserves a new ending, at least where humans are concerned.

The Warp and Weft of the Rhodope Mountains

Posted on: Friday, May 10, 2013

Detail of a handloom weaving from the Smolyan region (photo by Abigail Doan)

Detail from the bottom of a wheat threshing board
on view at Villa Gella in Gela, Bulgaria  (photo by Abigail Doan)

Textile tools on view at Villa Gella in Gela, Bulgaria  (photo by Abigail Doan)

I just returned from several days in Bulgaria's Rhodope Mountains, and I am convinced more than ever, that this unique pocket of the world holds the cure for much of what ails us.

Gela hillsides at dawn (photo by Abigail Doan)

Describing the deep layers of space and perspective – all enveloped in the beauty of the Rhodope landscape, is a very difficult task. The micro and the macro play off each other like the local birdsongs that weave through stillness, leaving nubs of raw texture and soft accents on the undulating hillsides.

Ad hoc slate and tile work on a Gela rooftop (photo by Abigail Doan)

Handcrafted shed in Gela, Bulgaria (photo by Abigail Doan)

I wanted to share several images and details from my exploratory walks, prior to a more detailed story about the historic gems and cultural offerings of the region – Gela, specifically.

4th/5th century church face in Gela (photo by Abigail Doan)

I will be spending more time in the Rhodopes, as this region definitely strikes a chord in terms of ancient/future wisdom. One cannot over romanticize modern realities, though, as  local folks work hard to make a sustainable living and preserve their ways. We can observe what works, though, in the crafting of place and the slowing down and expansion of our own contemporary views.

A serene moment through Villa Gella's window (photo by Abigail Doan)

Gela and the Rhodope at dusk (photo by Abigail Doan)

Traveling Hues + Impressions

Posted on: Monday, May 06, 2013

Late day research in Greece wearing Loup Charmant's Scallop Dress

I am currently on a ten day journey exploring landscapes and regional crafts along the Aegean Sea in Greece as well as in the Rhodope Mountains of Bulgaria. My writing and commenting with be minimal during this time, but I will be doing lots of photographing and documenting for future projects.

Morning run along the Aegean Sea (photo by Abigail Doan)

Historic photo and dress from Greece, circa 1939

Botanicals along the Aegean Sea (photo by Abigail Doan)

While on the road you can always follow my visual trail at Lost in Fiber, here and here.

Safe travels, wherever you may roam this week.

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