Tag Archives: figures

Collage pick #1 – Arrowmont Reunion

I started my collages today for the Arrowmont Resident Artist Reunion.  It took more than a week and a half to filter through and download all the pictures I thought were good enough to pull information from.  All of my collages are put together in the computer using Photoshop.  Since I’m just trying to achieve a composition, I’m not worried too much about edge detail, so forgive the roughness of the collage image.  Here is the most successful one for the day.

Mrs. Profitt, Me as a child, Mrs. Reagan (Aunt Lizzie)

I made the above collage using the following photos:

Gatlinburg's first health clinic. Also, where I lived when I was a resident artist at Arrowmont in 1994-95.

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Mrs. Profitt was the housekeeper for the Boy's Dorm (left) Mrs. Reagan (also know as Aunt Lizzie) was the Housekeeper of Teacher's Dorm and also an accomplished weaver.

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Aunt Lizzie spinning yarn most likely for her weaving.

Me as a child.

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New Monoprint Edition Started – Front Porch

Well, I’m embarrassed that it has been so long since I’ve posted something.  I guess the move, and new (old) house renovation has just taken over all of my free time!  I’ve finally “carved” out a studio space in the construction zone to get back in the creative side of my brain. This summer, I’ve taken a break from the house stuff and made time to finish a new stitching to use for my “printing plate”.

Front Porch collage inspiration

Front Porch collage inspiration

Remember the days of sitting on the front porch and greeting your neighbors as they walked by?  Ahh…the days that people actually knew their neighbors and interacted with them….(Actually, I must say my new neighborhood is the friendliest I’ve lived in for a long while.)  Anyway, this print series is inspired by one of my old family photographs (in which I did not recognize anyone).  I inserted myself as a child in this one, and the lady in the dress is a mystery, but she must be connected in someway to my family because her picture was in my grandmothers collection. Maybe they were neighbors?….You know, back in the day when you knew everyone in your neighborhood.

Introducing: “Front Porch” 

Below is the results of the top print.  (I print 2 at a time: bottom and top.)  This print has 3 layers of ink.  (I’m still layering on the bottom print, and will show you when it dries in a few days.)  I’ve been trying out some new techniques, so I hope you like it!  Stay tuned for more prints from this stitching soon!

” Front Porch”  30″ x 17″

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Studio: Synthesizing my Assimilations (WHY?)

Well my graduate review is coming up very soon, and it is time to write an artist statement about what I’m doing in the studio at the moment. However, before I can do this, I must really think about what I am doing. My classmate, Virginia, has challenged all of us in the graduate program to “ask ‘WHY’ in everything we do in our studio practice.” This challenge came at the perfect time for me. I have been gathering all this information and researching ideas, but it is time to absorb and reflect to come up with my own ideas. Below is what I’ve been thinking about, and the ideas that resonate with me the most. I will jump from here to begin an artist statement this week.

MATERIALS

Recycled Linens and Fabric:

Recycle is the key word here. Unfortunately, we are in an age where people buy new things and dispose of the old. I was brought up in a family that used things until they were broken beyond repair, and only then were new items bought, and only if you couldn’t get it used. My family was not only frugal because at one time we had to be, but also because it was a way of life. As time has gone by, society has become more and more wasteful.

  • Giving a new purpose to something that has been discarded.
  • In the past, worn items were darned, reassembled in patchwork, used as diapers, or dust cloths. In WWI scrap fabrics were used as bandages. Some societies even use scrap fabrics for paper pulp.
  • Owning linens at one time was to own something very precious. With the increase in production of cotton, linens were more accessible to people because the price came down and was more affordable; thus made them more common.

Old Photographs:

Looking at old photographs, whether they are my family or not, has always intrigued me. There is always a story to be told. It is an inside peek into someone’s life. My family photos are a clue into my grandmother’s life, and what she was like before I met her.

  • I am interested in the history of my family and looking at my grandmother’s perspective of her life.
  • Old family photos generally chronicle the important happy events of a family’s life. I am interested in this positive aspect of memory. A positive, sometimes humorous message.
  • I am trying to keep the past alive, but not stop change. People are so quick to leave the past behind. I wish that people would learn more from the past and grow into the present by learning from the past. POSITIVE CHANGE.
  • My connection to old photos and old things is in part because I don’t like where the present is leading us into the future. We are a disposable society that makes decisions based on GREED. Older items seemed to last a lot longer than ones produced today. Things are not designed to last anymore. Companies slowly release upgrades in order to make more money.
  • Showing personal photos is an invitation to view it: a concept of TOGETHERNESS.

CONCEPT

Memory and Time:

  • Connection to my family, but also bringing the PAST TO THE PRESENT by creating new stories from my grandmother’s memories.
  • NOSTALGIA – My grandmother’s memories: honoring the family and friends that were in her life.
  • Remembering the positive and carrying that to the present and future. What you do now will affect the future.
  • To be forgotten is to not be important enough to be remembered.
  • At one time photos were considered to be the TRUTH or evidence. With todays ability to manipulate photographs, this is not the case anymore. However, even in the past, photos could still be interpreted in many ways depending on the context, thus questioning still this ability to be EVIDENCE.

PROCESS

Layering Fabric

  • Layers of memory.
  • Accumulated memory .
  • Generations

Cutting Away Fabric

  • Taking away the negative and taking the positive forward to the future. (metaphorically)

Collage

  • Keeping some detail and erasing other detail: fading memory and deterioration of the past.
  • New memories: A new point of view (my point of view using my grandmother’s point of view.)
  • Bringing the past to the present.

Working Intuitively

I have brought a chance element into my daily photo collages. I am randomly picking 2 photographs and using only these 2 photos for the collage. These compositions don’t always work out to be successful, but every once in a while there is a HAPPY ACCIDENT. It is the happy accident that I am looking for.

  • The happy accident is what we learn the most from. The unexpected is what makes us take notice of what we wouldn’t normally see.
  • If more people would follow their intuition, they would probably be happier people.
  • By using happy accidents as a part of my message I hope to inspire positive change.

Whew! Well, It actually took me all day to come up with this stuff. My brain actually hurts! All of this thinking, and I haven’t even STARTED the artist statement! However, this has really helped me narrow my thoughts and is a good starting point to jump off from.

Earlier last week, I went to a graduate photography class to get some feedback from a different perspective other than my fiber friends. One of the things they really zoomed in on was the BACK of all of my sewn collages. They really wanted me to figure out a way to display my work in a way that you could see both front and back. They also thought this would go in line with my concept of memory, and the lasting IMPRESSION that certain events have on your memory. So, I scanned some visuals for you with this in mind. I accidentally scanned the front in black and white and decided that this perspective was quite interesting in its own right so, I scanned the other one this way too. I will have the color versions of these in my new PORTFOLIO section later this week.

What do YOU think of the back of these collages? Do you think I should figure out a way to show the back too? (I’m not sure how I feel about this.)

I think it is really interesting how it looks like he is going DOWN the stairs on the flip side. The back really works well in contrast to the front on this one, but I’m not sure about the next one:

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Daily Photo Collage Update

Today at the studio was a little frustrating, but I was able to switch gears and adjust my tasks to my mood. I think I’m going to change my mental day off to Saturday and spend Sunday in the studio instead from now on. I wasn’t able to do that this week because my boyfriend’s birthday is tomorrow. So, probably from here on out, I will be posting Sunday evenings.

When I got to the studio, I pulled out all of my xeroxed photos and played around with some compositions with the fabrics. I was completely uninspired, so I decided that my time would best be spent reading the book that I got from the library, Suspended Conversations by Martha Landford. It is a wonderful book about the history of and analysis of the family photo album. The examples she uses are from the same time period that my family photos are from. I’ve only just started it, but here is the inspiration and food for thought that I’ve grabbed out of it so far:

  • People typically took photos of events such as births, weddings, new cars, family reunions, and funerals.
  • Personal photo albums are anthologies, adventures, meditations, and shrines.
  • The photo album is personal, and to see it is to have an invitation to view it, and is usually accompanied by stories. (concept of togetherness)
  • Photographs with the same style border could suggest a few things: same event, same person taking the photo (camera), or developed at the same time.
  • pg. 18 “The removal of an album from a private situation to the public sphere does not deprive it of a context, but substitutes one set of viewing conditions for another.”
  • pg. 19 “In the afterlife of a photographic album, pure past is a mirage, a set of conditions seemingly visible yet irrecoverable even in the imagination. The world as experienced has been transformed by each act of translation (visible world to photograph; photograph to album; private album to public realm; public realm to individual reception).
  • The organization of an album reflects the working of the mind of its creator.

On that note, I will end this post with some visuals of some recent daily task photos.

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Studio: More Collages with Fabrics

After spending some time analyzing my daily collages, I decided to experiment some more with some fabric collages. I’m still getting used to working with fabrics in a collage way. I approach my daily collages and my fabric collages a little differently. My dailies are very random, and I’m still picking 2 random photos to use together to make the collage. With the fabric collages, I think more about which images to use and which fabrics to use. This is what I came up with today:

“The Grass is Greener on the Other Side”

“Contemplating Sexuality”

I would love to hear comments.

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Daily Photo Collage: Organizing & Analyzing II

After having a pretty busy week at work, I decided to take Saturday off instead of my usual Sunday to clear my head and rest my body. I’m really glad I did, as I feel energetic and more focused today.

I continue to wonder what I am doing in the studio, so today, I start off with some more analyzing. I have a few more themes that I want to contemplate.

Collage with SAME PERSON:

When the same person is in the same collage more than once, it feels mostly like a memory that the person is having.

  • Memory of an experience.
  • Memory of a feeling.
  • An alter ego.
  • De ja vu.
  • Dream.

Collages with ANIMALS:

  • All horses and dogs. That makes me wonder if cats as pets were popular back then.
  • Show horses – pride – companions.
  • Dogs – companions.
  • Symbol of a wilder side – out of control.
  • Taming of the wild side.
  • My dad loved animals.

Collages with my POP:

  • Most of these collages are my Pop as a child. There are a few of him as a young adult.
  • His expressions are mostly serious, especially the ones where he is posing. Some of the more candid shots are less serious. He probably didn’t like to get his photo taken.
  • He loves animals and loved to show horses.

Collages of my MAW MAW:

Since all the photos I am using are from her collection, I feel like they tell a lot about her.

  • She was surrounded by friends and liked to spend time with them. They had a lot of fun, and she was very close to them.
  • She always had a big smile in her photos, so she must have been very happy.
  • These photos are her memories, and they are from her perspective.
  • They show the positive things in her life, of coarse who wants to take pictures to remember the bad things? I’ve always remembered her as a very positive person.

**PERHAPS SOME DAY, I WILL LOOK AT MY OWN PHOTO COLLECTION AND CREATE SOME COLLAGES. THOUGH, I’M NOT READY TO MOVE ON TO ANOTHER COLLECTION, YET. THAT WOULD BE A WHOLE OTHER THESIS.

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Daily Photo Collage: Organizing & Analyzing

Today I took a closer look at my daily collages. I made a list of themes that seemed to have appeared by doing them. For example: I started with the theme HUMOR. I looked through the stack of collages and pulled out all of the ones that I thought had an element of humor, put them aside, and took a picture of them. Then I looked at them closely and wrote down anything I could think of.

Collages with HUMOR:

What makes them funny?

  • Playing with the scale of the figures.
  • Facial expressions
  • Placement of the figures in the environment.
  • Creating an unrealistic situation.
  • Figures walking out of the picture.

Collages with SILHOUETTES:

When the figure has been taken out entirely, only the background is left. We rely on the environment for information. Sometimes there are other people in the photo to help figure out the story.

The missing figures could be:

  • Alter ego.
  • Guardian Angel
  • Death
  • Memory
  • Spirit
  • Essence
  • Intuition

When the figure is cut out, sometimes I just shift it over and replace it somewhere else in the collage.

  • This can be a play on TIME. Moving toward the future. Out of memory.
  • Change.
  • Remembering and moving forward.
  • The past.
  • Lurking negativity.

Collages with SURREAL ENVIRONMENTS:

What makes changing the environments of the people surreal?

  • There is a tension created by placing someone who appears to be calm, or is looking at you (the camera) while some sort of action is taking place around them, as if they don’t even notice.
  • There is a mystery to some of these because there is not enough information given about what is going on.

Many of the environments are unrealistic:

  • A woman feeding a baby sitting on a couch that is floating in water.
  • A figure bundled up on a cold beach, while a couple walks around on the same beach in bathing suits.
  • Two figures standing in front of a horse that’s about to jump on them.
  • Two figures appearing to come out of the picture because it has a fading background.
  • A figure from a different time period is placed in and earlier or later time.

Collages with NO ENVIRONMENT:

  • An emphasis is placed on the figure.
  • These collages don’t feel as strong to me. They feel meaningless.
  • The only one that feels like it has meaning is the top left one that has the figure sitting on the cooler looking away from the camera. It feels meditative and reflective.

Collages with CHANGE IN SCALE:

  • Many of these have humor because of the distorted scale of the figures compared to each other.
  • The larger figure demands a presence and dominates the collage.
  • The smaller figure becomes secondary.
  • An absurdity is created when children are as big as or bigger than the adults.
  • A smaller figure of the same person implies and alter ego, or a moment remembered.

That was as far as I got today. I also spent some time in the studio coating my fabrics with Bubble Jet Set, which is a chemical that you dip the fabric in so that when you print an image on the fabric through a computer printer, it will not wash out. I will share with you my experiments at a later date. Have a good week!

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