Friday, September 14, 2012

A collaboration with Jeff Donovan in search of a title!

(Above:  Unexplored Territories or A Day's Catch.  Collaboration.  Boat by Jeff Donovan. Fibers by Susan Lenz.  Click on image to enlarge.)

My studio is one of thirteen at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios.  My friend Jeff Donovan also has a studio there.  He works in both ceramics and painting.  Many of his ceramic sculptures are created from his own 2D images.  Several include boats.  Jeff has constructed several boats, including this one.  He wasn't satisfied with this boat ... at least not for one of his sculptures.  We talked about boats ... symbolically, spiritually, figuratively, and finally decided to collaborate.  We talked further ... the journey of life, the mythological River Styx, lazy childhood days floating on a marsh, ethereal memories, threads of communication, unraveling thoughts, Alzheimer's, tall tales and yarns.  This is what we came up with.     

(Above:  Detail of collaboration.)

Jeff and I had this conversation before I went to my August art residency in Galesburg, Illinois where I made The Canopy.  Thus, I knew to save all the scraps that ended up on my studio floor.  To this I added even more strips of bridal gown lace, vintage tablecloths, a crocheted spread, and other assorted household textiles (generally damaged or permanently stained). 

(Above:  Another view of the collaboration.  Click on image to enlarge.)

It took more than five days for me to rip all the material, roll it, and tie each piece.  Slowly the vessel was filled.  (Believe me, I didn't think it would take this long!  This was one of those projects that seemed very easy, straight forward, and as if a day or two would find it finished.  It just didn't work that way ... and I'm actually a very fast worker!)  

(Above:  Detail of rolls of assorted vintage textiles.)

While ripping, rolling, and tying, Jeff and I talked about potential titles.  We thought about words that referenced aging, loss of short term memory, Alzheimer's, and life journey's that just don't move in straight forward directions.  We dismissed all these ideas.  Why?  Because there are so many other wonderful ways to look at a boat or contemplate a collection of fiber scrolls.  We tossed around other phrases and liked two in particular:  Unexplored Territories and A Day's Catch.  

(Above:  Detail of Unexplored Territories or A Day's Catch ... the choice of titles will be decided during Vista Lights 2012, November 15 - 17!)

So ... this collaboration is now scheduled to be on view during the annual Vista Lights exhibition at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios.  The show features work by all thirteen artists with studio space in the building and runs from Nov. 8 - 28, 2012.  The reception is on Thursday, Nov. 15.  Jeff and I will have clip board for viewers to vote on their favorite title ... or leave another suggestion.  We plan to post this on Facebook and I'll accept votes left as "comments" on this blog post too!  Please leave your vote/comment!

Also ... this piece will be included on Nina Marie Sayre's "Off the Wall Fridays".


Cynthia Nicole said...

First impression - it reminded me of a boat funeral (pyre?), or an offering boat.

wholly jeanne said...

LOVE this. Love the boat/vessel - the actual ceramic piece and the symbolism. Love the fabric scrolls. Love the collaboration. It deeply resonates with me, and it's fun the way you've written about it here.

Nina Marie said...

ohhh this really is interesting! it also inspires me to maybe get my husband to collaborate with me. He does amazing woodworking - I mean - like really amazing stuff so I could hitch my work to his rising star :)

Deborah OHare said...

I could look at this for hours.

Margaret said...

A wonderful collaboration! I am partial to 'A Day's Catch' -- reminiscent to me of that passage in the NT where the disciples have fished all night and caught nothing. In the morning, they encounter Jesus as they're packing up their nets. He directs them to go deeper and when they take their boats out again, "...they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break." (Luke 5:6) :-)

Gayle said...

I like both of the titles, but what I like most is that you never waste a thread. Seriously.....
you turn every fiber into art and that is an art unto itself.

Els said...

I agree with Gayle ... I love your new co-work ;-)

(that funny game: ... I'm going in holiday and I take with me ....) ;-)

Wanda said...

Beautiful piece! It looks like a heck of a lot of work too! I started thinking about boats and water and things and realize that I too have lots of memories in that direction. Very nice. I can't believe that Vista Lights is just around the corner already!