Identity Tapestry at SVC
All in all that was a pretty wonderful experience. The college was so glad to have Identity Tapestry there and so welcoming to me. I had the help of a whole team of students to help me install, as well as staff. Both were wonderful. It is a great thing to be invited somewhere, to be welcomed into a community and have your work celebrated and made part of that community.
This will be the first start-to-finish commissioned permanent installation I’ve made. “Dream Blanket” did get purchased for Sage Colleges and there is another piece in limbo as to whether it stays where it was done, but this one was made to be part of this community and it feels great.
The results were so different from previous iterations! I expected things like “I love being in nature” being very full in this group- they are in Vermont after all, but other things were surprising. I’m attributing the large number of people who have seen someone dying to the nursing program, but I don’ think that’s the whole picture and it was wrenching to see.
There was a lot more strength of love in this one- “I have loved deeply” was mobbed and there was at least one iteration where it was much more empty. There was also a sense of perseverance that came out to me, of growing beyond the past perhaps that reached across many statements. A love of learning and a quest for personal betterment was all over the piece. It came out in people being ashamed of their pasts, but proud in the moment, of many of the “I try” statements being so full, and many of the jaded ones being more empty. An openness, eagerness… but also a pretty seasoned group. I’m pleased to see the community expressed in the piece.
During both my artist’s talk and the Opening I was taken by the change that came over people. While there were many people already excited about Identity Tapestry, there were a number of people who might have been reluctantly brought over by a spouse or teacher or friend and I got to watch those faces open up and take on interest and eagerness.
In some ways I think I’m still a teacher at heart- witnessing those “aha moments” are what we live for. As an artist it’s that “aha moment” plus that moment of reaching someone- of seeing the artwork get right through their walls and connect with something more tender, of making them examine their thoughts and feelings, definitions and assumptions, to feel something intense and unexpected. That’s what it’s all about.
I had many excellent conversations with a whole range of people; students, faculty, staff, visitors and board members. I already have new feedback and ideas for the projects I’m working on, and one conversation resurrected hopes of doing something I’ve been wanting to do for a while now- an interactive home installation that takes place over years.
Other possibilities are opening up. More and more I think that soon I’ll be able to create in some large and spectacular spaces. There are so many projects sketched in my mind waiting for the right situation and location to flesh them out and give them life.
* If you haven’t seen the piece, this video from previous iterations gives a better sense of the interaction, motion and growth.