From the Studio

thoughts on art and process in action from a contemporary artist

Archive for the ‘embroidery’ Category

Cubic (sound)2 Opening Dec 5th

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cubic(sound)_Invitation  I have my first sound piece in this show.  Storytelling in SF.  Come see… and listen.

There will be five performances, including one by Laetitia Sonami.

I will have an interactive piece in the show built on participation.

At the LAB.

Written by Mary Corey March

November 27, 2013 at 9:00 am

machine text

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machine testsRound three of the machine tests for “Write me for Art” has finally yielded some results I’m happy with!  More, I did some sample parts for covering/framing the machine embroidery to give it the commercial, generic, electronic device (+ voyeur?)  feel I’m after.  This half of the piece I’m now very pleased with and I feel like I can keep going from here knowing what I want to do.

Yesterday I was still really wrestling with how I wanted to install the hand-embroidered work.  I met with another fantastic lady and got some great feedback.  It’s funny how it’s rarely a case of someone offering a suggestion that I then take- never that I can remember.  It’s more that when certain people can’t connect with a piece or aren’t seeing what I want to pull off it tells me where I need to connect, lean, etc.  Sometimes it’s just explaining the piece to a new person and the way you need to explain it to them (as that person rather than some other person) helps concentrate what you’re really after and guides you to a better method.

In this case I knew I wanted people to be surrounded in the space by the handwritten ones.  I wanted them to have a presence like a crowd of people.  I wanted you to walk through them and encounter them, look them in the eye, look again, not see the writing until you found a new angle.  I’d been wrestling with how that would happen.  Now I think I found a way to do that.  The exact detail of how I physically attach the written part to the forms I want is still in the air, but I’m nearly there.  With fiber, every method has history and symbolism.  Just doing the most practical physical method may not be the way (though it could be).  I have to think of the connotations of different methods and their visual impacts.

Written by Mary Corey March

October 17, 2013 at 3:56 am

Broad Strokes

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*a continuation of the “Write Me for Art” participatory art piece.

I had a very productive talk this afternoon with an awesome lady in my studio today which led to me figuring out the broad strokes for the “Write Me for Art” installation!  I’m very pleased.  Sometimes no matter how many times you’ve asked yourself certain questions, the right person at the right time asking the same question can be the tipping point.  In this case the combination of her lecture on the Text/texture/material (fabric), the encounter, fetish, surface, intimacy… in conversation with structuralism and post-structuralism primed the studio visit perfectly.

Sometimes I need someone to suggest something that I know instantly and instinctively is Wrong for the piece.  When I step back and answer to myself why it is wrong it gives me a better idea of where my subconscious has been going and I can unpack it and name it better.  Then I know where I am going and why.

In this case one thing that had been a stumbling block was somehow thinking I had to keep the computer text and the hand embroidered text together.  I don’t.  I want to treat them totally differently and so it’s okay that they be physically removed from one another within the space.  It also makes people search a bit, make the connection of the identical responses themselves rather than having it spelled out.  They get to make the relationships.  I learned other things too.  None of which she suggested to me (even indirectly), but the conversation helped get me into a space where I could define things.

The part of this project that was hanging over my head and making me drag my feet a little is cleared.  There is plenty to work through still (and plenty of physical work to do), but the broad strokes are there now.

 

Written by Mary Corey March

October 11, 2013 at 9:44 am

social fabric

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photo(7)Write Me for Art continues… I tested out a new fabric for the machine text today.  Or tried to.  Funny how sewing machines can cause sudden fits of swearing.  Embroidery machines are another level of complex, and therefore a lot more obnoxious (especially when many different people work on them and do who knows what to them each day).  That said, I think the fabric is a perfect fit for the project.  Second round of text-size adjustments.  I still don’t have single correctly printed statement yet, but I think I’ve found the right size, embroidery method and fabric.  Whew!

Mail for the project trickling in most days.  I love it.  There is something so wonderful about getting actual, physical mail.   I have postcode-stamps from New York, San Francisco, Vermont, Portland Maine, Iowa, Chicago, and France.  So far just French and English, but I’m hoping some of my Spanish ones come back (I did  some instructions in Spanish and handed out a fair few.  I think I should make a Chinese one for passing out here because That would cover the three most spoken languages in SF. So many statements!

One thing that has surprised me is the similar feelings that people chose to share- even with less than fifty so far there are some distinct trends.  The hand embroidery goes slower now that the semester has started but I’m pretty pleased with the results so far.

In other news it seems like I have an exciting commission piece coming up in the summer- a new Particapatory Installation that will take place over the course of years.  So exciting!  It’s wonderful when you are so on the same page with someone that you don’t even have to ask the question “am I willing to sacrifice my artistic integrity here?”  Something I tend to say No to as a rule.  I’m flexible and good at fitting ideas into harmony with mine, but outright against I won’t do.  This project is exciting enough to be a little distracting, but knowing it will be there waiting for me in the Spring is a wonderful feeling.

Written by Mary Corey March

October 7, 2013 at 9:01 am

Machine tests

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machine test2Here is the second test for the machine-embroidered text in the “Write Me for Art” piece.  If you’re just joining me here, I’ve been passing out envelopes to people all over with personal questions inside.  They answer one question in their own handwriting and send it to me anonymously.

I then hand-embroider the response in their handwriting.  I will also be doing the same words all in machine handwriting.  I’m still working out different ways to program the embroidery, the font and ways/sizes to do it, the fabric, etc.

This is the second proper test on the machine.  It failed midway, but it showed me enough to go on with.  The poly satin used on the wrong side has the artificial and shiny qualities I wanted, but it’s pretty damn squirrely under the machine which can make the writing and fabric irregular.  We’ll see.  There may be something that both works better with the machine and has the visual qualities I’m after.

I’m also have tempted to leave the machine’s little working lines in there, and am considering hiring someone to do these once I have the process down.  Just as the ones I am personally hand-embroidering using the actual handwriting are full of attention and touch I want these to be on the other side of the scale, so removing myself entirely from the actual making once I have the process set might fit into the piece.

Written by Mary Corey March

September 30, 2013 at 5:14 am

Backstage

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photo(7)So tonight I passed out more envelopes for “Write me for Art” backstage at the Opera- to all sorts of people from the top of the production down- makeup dept, dressers, chorus and others who will remain unsung as it were.  I’m very pleased with this project so far.  I’m getting new mail coming in every day from all over the country and outside it!

I’m enjoying the exchange with people when they see me working on the project (as at the Opera) and ask me about it.  I then get to explain and hear their reactions and give them an envelop.  I like having people actually see the care that I put into each person’s words as I embroider them so that they know how their words will be treated.

I made sure to pass some out at the airports in Chicago and New York, on the planes, in the shops…  I pass them to waitresses and cab drivers, on buses…  wherever I can to as many different kinds of people as I can.  So far I’m personally passed them out in Vermont, New York (twice), Chicago, New Hampshire, Boston, and SF.  Friends have taken them to Chicago, Iowa and Maine.  I’ve even gotten one or two in strange envelopes from out of the country which may have begun here online.

I do not want to comment on the sorts of responses I’ve gotten and how they relate to the project, but believe me, I’m thinking about it plenty.

Tonight I also started blocking out the files for the machine-embroidered versions of each response.  As I get more responses I’m starting to get images of how I want to put them together as an installation.

PS: If you were wondering how or why I was backstage at the Opera it’s because I’m on stilts in the SF Opera’s production of Mephistopheles.   I’m a supernumerary , which is the Opera way of saying “extra”, but we get called “supers”, which I love.  I did it because I can and because these are the things that feed my art- a life rich with varied experience.  In this case I think this particular stilting experience may have spawned a new participatory piece- I’m still thinking it through.

*If you want to be included in “Write me for Art” follow the link.

Written by Mary Corey March

September 21, 2013 at 10:33 am

Let it go

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let it goThe latest two in the “Write me for Art” project.  It’s coming along in stolen moments, but it is coming.

The writing is from responses to questions I asked sent in to me by hand or mail in each person’s own writing.  If you want to participate, follow the link.

The other half of this project is computer-mediated.

Written by Mary Corey March

August 20, 2013 at 10:35 am