From the Studio

thoughts on art and process in action from a contemporary artist


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My next project is a 5′ x 3′ binary weaving with a warp in LED-lit optical fiber/paper-silk and cotton  and a black silk ribbon weft.

threadcount sortedOften to make something (particularly sculpture) you need to build something else to create the finished object: a mold, an armature, scaffolding, a pattern, a digital file, etc.

For my next new piece, it’s a frame loom.  And to make this loom with a 16 per inch thread count I need to drill 8 holes every inch for 5 feet and put nails in each hole.  Double that (top and bottom).  Then double it again, because my warp (the vertical bit you weave through) is made of both natural fibers and optical fiber.  To separate the optical fiber and give it space apart from the other fibers to put it together heat-shrink couplings (to attach them to the lights) I need a few inches distance… so another row of nails.  It comes to a little over 2600 holes and nails.  Why drill?  Well, as you can see in the test loom (left), when you don’t drill, the wood splits, and the loom breaks.

The image to the left is the finalized thread-count and materials composition after some tests.  I will use the black and white squares to create an image, just like in the  previous (smaller!) Binary Drawing turned-weaving.

IMG_4055Right now I’m nearly halfway there with drilling (you can see some corrected mistakes on the left row), but a few more holes to go on this board.  I have to space out the drilling to avoid RSI in my hand and arm.

I’m getting a shocked reaction from a lot of people in the program about how much work I put into my art.  They are used to conceptual artists using lots of ready-mades (they buy it in a store or find it in an alley).  Ready-mades are fine if that’s part of your actual concept, but I have to say it seems lazy if it’s not.  If your idea has value, you should make sure the thing is exactly what it should be.  If I don’t know how to make something when I have an idea, I learn.

Written by Mary Corey March

January 4, 2013 at 3:40 am

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