From the Studio

thoughts on art and process in action from a contemporary artist

Living Guestbook, Installed

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blankLast night I got back from installing my latest piece Living Guestbook in a private collector’s summer home in Vermont. It was wonderful to get a little moment of New England fall.  While the travel itself won some kind of prize for horrific in both directions (lost baggage, 6 hour delay) the install itself went smoothly and all people involved were incredibly sweet and hospitable.

Here is the finished weave.  The weft is spaced to make room for the dyed silk cards which guests will write on in response to one of three questions.  I lost count how many, but more than 200, possibly 300 of them.

The first order of business was working with the carpenter to put up the custom cherry brackets he made for the piece.  Together we worked out a design via email so that we could tightened the tension if needed.  It worked beautifully.  When he saw my 5-minute hack at making a shuttle out of layers of thin cardboard sandwiched with wood glue (I couldn’t find my shuttles while packing) he quickly ran back to his workshop and made me 6 lovely oak ones!shuttles

I had the warp (the up and down threads) and half the weft up by the time I went to bed that day.  The warp is a linen-wrapped steel and is nearly invisible, but strong.  The weft is a rough Japanese silk thread.  Together they are very delicate with an organic quality.  The finished empty weave reminds me a little of an Agnes Martin painting, and I love the shadows.


I have a trick of making a loom-piece to separate out the warp quickly without lots of nails.  Wooden molding "rope" is wonderful stuff.

I have a trick of making a loom-piece to separate out the warp quickly without lots of nails. Wooden molding “rope” is wonderful stuff.

The following day was for finishing the weft creating a good display and storage for the silk cards.

Physically I planned the piece as being done over years and fitting seamlessly into the rural settling and her craftsman-style home.  This meant the silks would have to be tucked away, but ready to display, so inside existing furniture made sense.  We agreed on this drawer.

I found a handmade paper was happy with and made display sections for the chosen drawer, which turned out like this:

in drawer2

I can’t wait to see the piece as the responses fill the weave!

Written by Mary Corey March

October 22, 2014 at 8:21 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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