Sunday, August 05, 2018

Loss, a fiber installation

(Above: Loss, a fiber installation.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

Yesterday was magical, truly overwhelming with the widest range of emotions imaginable.  I've been dreaming about this installation for over three years.  Intuitively, found objects were collected. Here and there, a threaded needle was pulled through the antique garments, long running stitches in burnt red wool and masses of Colonial and bullion knots.  Tiny seed stitches now cascade down one, tiny infant's gown.  Many threads were left tangling, as if weeping.  I already had the hundreds of wrapped and tied pieces of lace.  They were leftovers from other projects.  Yet, until yesterday this installation was just a foggy vision.  I didn't even have its title until I'd suspended the work.

(Above:  The photo shoot in the remains of Vista Studios.)

One of the garments was stitched during a winter art residency at PLAYA in the remote Oregon Outback.  The two infant gowns were stitched at Bill Mishoe's auction house while watching the remains of other people's lives being sold.  In the back of my mind, I played with potential names for this installation:  Miscarriage and Estrangement were at the top of the list.  Why? Well, these are personal experiences.  When I suspended the four garments, however, I realized that this was a community of grief.  The work expresses more than my sadness.  It embraces all sorts of motherhood realities:  a stillborn baby, giving up a child for adoption, the "Empty Nest" syndrome, an abortion, infertility, and even death.

(Loss, detail of the four suspended garments.)

This work is flooded in tears, but yesterday did not find me crying.  I was HAPPY ... subtly, quietly, untroubled ... in a state that is best called "bliss".  I had returned to my element, a place in which I am very comfortable.  I went back to the remains of Gallery 80808/Vista Studios.  All the partition walls are now gone.  It is now just a big, empty warehouse with four wonderful skylights over an area that had been an atrium for art exhibitions.  The landlords are looking to sell.  I moved out over two years ago.  My first and former studio (for something like thirteen years) is just a tiny patch of dark blue paint on the massive floor.  In the photo further above, it is the location on the left in which the 8' ladder is standing.

I love this space, especially now that it is empty.  I love the natural light.  None of these picture have been altered except by cropping.  No fancy lighting was required (which is a good thing!  I don't own any!)  It is the perfect place to snap pictures.  While working for three hours, I thought about all the art I've photographed in just this place.  I felt like a pro!  I knew my "foggy vision" was becoming a reality.  From mind to matter to actual installation!  Yesterday was wonderful.

I snapped over two hundred and sixty images.  I culled them down to only a couple dozen.  I shot the installation as a group of four but also ...

... as individually suspended works ...

... including detail images and even a video of how these pieces slowly turn with the air conditioning system.

I shot every garment suspended above all three cradles, one at a time.

I shot various angles, looking up and looking down.

I also shot just one adult sleeping gown with just one infant garment.  Motherhood.  A family friend once said, "Children are closest when a woman is pregnant.  From the moment of birth, a child is not just growing up but growing away."  She couldn't have been more right.  This is Loss, in all its possibilities and for all those women who know exactly how it feels.

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


Els said...


Christine said...

Feeling it.
Very personal but makes me feel united with all the other Mothers of the world.
Thank you for sharing.

Mosaic Magpie said...

Suspended on heartstrings, illuminated with love.

Linda M said...

How wonderful for your vision to become reality, a very touching exhibit.

Angela said...

Your work and your words are so touching and heartfelt. One can't help but be moved.

Vera Holmgren said...

thanks for sharing, very touching

quiltedfabricart said...

The mark of a good artist is one who evokes emotion and this surely does that. Impressive for sure.

Deborah C. Stearns said...

Wow. This is really powerful. Thank you for posting.

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