Tuesday, April 04, 2017

ArtFields 2017 ... Threads: Gathering My Thoughts at Deanna's Bath and Body Boutique

(Above:  Detail of Threads: Gathering My Thoughts, my installation for ArtFields 2017 at DeAnna's Bath and Body Boutique in Lake City, South Carolina.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

I'm behind in blogging.  Of course I am!  Steve and I returned from a week in Italy (where I shot just over 2000 images) in time to clean house/business/studios for Columbia Open Studio which was over the weekend.  Then ... yesterday ... I loaded the van and headed to Lake City, South Carolina.  My installation Threads: Gathering My Thoughts was accepted into ArtFields 2017, a nine-day art competition and festival with over $100,000 up for grabs in prize money. 

 (Above:  Kiwi, the shop cat at DeAnna's Bath and Body Boutique ... happily inside the installation.  Obviously, my work is in "good paws". LOL!)

Now, I'm not foolish enough to think I stand much of a chance at one of the prizes.  That's not why I entered.  There are over four hundred works scattered through the town's businesses and galleries.  Odds are long.  If "money" is considered the only "success", odds are disappointment.  Instead,  I enter because ArtFields provides venues willing to host installation art ... willing to allow an artist freedom to transform a given space into a unique experience for viewers.  Not every exhibition can accommodate installation art.  DeAnna Campbell Hansen, however, offered her front display windows and entry way.  She also provided a very curious but hard working assistant ... Kiwi the Shop Cat (who she rescued several months ago.)  

 (Above:  Threads: Gathering My Thoughts, in progress.)

Kiwi carefully sniffed each and every basket and even the wire I used to suspend them.  This installation is significantly smaller than it was at the Mesa Contemporary Art Museum in Arizona or when I mounted it at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios here in Columbia when it looked like this:

(Above:  Threads: Gathering My Thoughts at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios.)

It made no sense to ship over 130 baskets back from Arizona.  Shipping would have run more than the cost of most of these baskets.  Yet, I didn't need all of them for the smaller location in Lake City.  I shipped back only the most unique ones.

(Above:  One of the front windows ... installation in progress.)

There are a few Longaberger baskets, egg baskets, golf ball wire baskets, Easter baskets ...

 (The other front window ... installation in progress.)

... a pine cone basket, grapevine baskets, and others.  DeAnna even had two to add to the collection.

 (Above:  Three baskets outside the front doorway ... between the two front window displays.)

My idea was to create a small entryway in threads  ... inside the door ... threads dangling down as if a narrow passageway for visitors to walk under and through in order to enter the shop.  Unfortunately, one of the other artists with a piece at DeAnna's Bath and Body Boutique had not yet arrived with his 9' x 6' x 4' work.  His delivery vehicle's spare tire blew up inside his enclosure trailer ... damaging the piece.  He had to return to his studio in order to make repairs.  He will be coming later in the week.  Thus, I had to alter my plans in order for his artwork to easily come through the doors and into the building.  My solution was to hang three baskets outside, over the doorway, between the two window display units ... and three others on the interior.  These baskets effectively link the two area but unfortunately can't have the thread dangling down as if a thread-tunnel.  This is one of the many issues when working in the medium of installation art.  One most "go with" whatever the situation dictates and be flexible enough to adapt to the environment one is attempting to alter.

 (Above:  Threads: Gathering My Thoughts.)

There is no easy way for me to capture the installation in a digital image.  The light from the street is quite strong, and the glare on the front windows is impossible.  Fortunately, the installation looks great in person and has successfully transformed the windows.
 (Above:  Threads: Gathering My Thoughts, detail.)

Because this installation is significantly smaller than the last two times I've mounted it, I had an entire leaf-sized plastic bag full of unraveled thread leftover.  I deposited half into each of the two window displays ... piles of thread!  It was fun!

 (Above:  DeAnna's Bath and Body Boutique from the street.)

But the most fun was working with Kiwi!

How could I resist playing with this adorable cat!

How could Kiwi resist exploring all my threads.  As soon as the first bag was opened, Kiwi went right inside!

By the end of the afternoon, I finished the installation and left it in Kiwi's "good paws". She was quite pleased with the way it turned out and took a nap.  If ArtFields allowed area cats to vote, my work would win ... paws down!

DeAnna took a video and posted it on her Facebook page.  CLICK HERE to see it!  It is absolutely adorable!

I am linking this post to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays", a site for sharing fiber arts.


Linda Laird said...

Loved the video and photos of your assistant. There were some great baskets at the gallery in AZ; I like that you released them back into "The Circle of Thrift". Good job modifying the installation for the smaller space. Hope you can put up the thread tunnel when the other artwork arrives; the tent-like effect was my favorite part of the Mesa installation.

Margaret said...

My name is Miss Pookie, and I approve this installation! ;-) (A message transcribed by my slave...)

Gwyned Trefethen said...

You had me with Kiwi. Actually, I'm impressed with how easily you go with the flow, whether it is needing to change your installation plans due to unforeseen circumstances, or having a four pawed assistant help arrange the thread.