I have been on the road a lot, back and forth to Michigan. My 93 year old father broke his hip two weeks ago and I have been trading off responsibilities with my sisters while he is at the rehab center and we try to sort out next steps. I bring a studio in a laundry basket when I come, but have found it hard to focus. I am working on a boro style playmat for my new baby grandson, so that is pleasant, repetitive work. I was going for something like sashiko stitching, but I am not precise enough for the real deal. The back is a lovely piece of woven cloth from Guatemala.
The piece below, originally made for a Women's Caucus for Art show, is on view in Ann Arbor, at the University of Michigan Stamps School Alumni Exhibit. This is a work constructed from an old cotton red-orange work shirt I wore years ago, deconstructed, then reimagined in a boro style with a lot of my favorite indigo blue. I discovered the traditional boro textiles from Japan a few years ago on Pinterest. The mended and patched beauty of this cloth is an aesthetic that resonates for me on many levels. Boro Shape Shifting 1, was constructed improvisationally, working with fabrics I had on hand. I made some marks on the red shirt with fabric paint, then embroidered in the negative spaces. Sometimes it looks to me like the red figures are little pokemon-type anime characters. One of my favorite art units for middle grade students was to create anime characters, with unique personalities and powers. We would do some guided drawing lessons, (me on the overhead, students on paper), and practice different head and body shapes, features, extremities...then later mix it up into something new of their own. Teaching is a lot like shape shifting sometimes.
Boro Shape Shifting 1
Boro Shape Shifting 1 can be seen at the Stamps Gallery, 201 S. Division St., Ann Arbor, MI, from July 18 through August 17, 2017. Check out all the works on exhibit at the link below.
More Good Reading
I just finished a wonderful book, Mink River, by Brian Doyle. This book reads like poetry and is full of a sense of place and human and animal wisdom. Moses, a crow, says, "Stories are not only words, you know. Words are just the clothes that people drape on stories". (p. 315)