Monday, June 10, 2013

Photo Installation in progress

(Above:  Shadow, my new "studio assistant", helping with the photo installation.  Click on any image in this blog post to enlarge.)


On May 13th I blogged about a hair-brained idea that I had ... and put through a successful experiment.  That post is HERE.  Basically, I took randomly selected vintage photographs purchased at auction, fused them to off-white fabric (also bought at auction), cut them out, glued them to Pellon's Stitch-and-Tear, stitched them into a grid, and tore away all the Stitch-and-Tear.  This left an arrangement of anonymous photos all connected via stitch ... a grid of photos.  At that time, I wrote that my intentions were to create a giant piece ... roughly 5' x 10'.

(Above:  Steve ... my temporary "studio assistant" ... tearing away the Stitch-and-Tear from the reverse of a grid of photos.)

By the end of May, I had plenty of "small grids" of photos.  Since Charity, my studio assistant, moved to Virginia.  I solicited my husband's help.  Nightly, we tore away Stitch-and-Tear from the reverse of these "small grids" ... approximately eighteen of them.  I wrote about this HERE.  So ... now I was ready to connect all these "small grids" into one, giant piece ... which has ended up much larger than originally planned ... approximately 5' 8" x 15' 6". 

(Above:  Creating a giant grid of anonymous photos at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios.)

In order to do this, I needed a very, very large space ... like the atrium at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios which is just outside my studio door.  Of course, this is a rental space.  A show was on view at the time.  In fact, Artfields Extended was on view ... including The Canopy, my piece!  Thus, I had to work after hours ... like after demonstrating dry felting at EdVenture for the Mini Maker Faire on Saturday, June 1st. 

(Above:  The large grid of anonymous photos ... drying on the floor after the current exhibit closed for the day.)

I went to the studio around 6 PM ... after the show closed/after making dry felted bookmarks with kids from 9 - 5.  I lay out plain white paper to protect the floor.  Then, I laid out the eighteen smaller grids.  Between the grids, I put wide strips of Stitch-and-Tear ... and lightly glued them to photos on both sides of the space between them ... effectively attaching them into one large unit ... at least "underneath".  Next, I added more anonymous photos to these spaces ... filling in all the gaps ... until it looked like a single unit. 

(Above:  The large grid of photos ... drying under The Canopy ... over night ... on Saturday, June 1st.)

I worked until nearly 9 PM, working to combine the individual, smaller sections into one, giant grid  ... clipping photos to fill the gaps ... adding dabs of glue to the new photos.   I allowed the glue to dry over night ... and got to the studio before 8 AM on Sunday morning.

(Above:  Detail of the large grid.  If you click to enlarge, you can see the spaces that exist between the smaller girds.  These are the spaces between photos that are not stitched to one another.)

(Above:  The large gird ... rolled up for the week.)

That Sunday, June 2, I rolled up the giant grid.  In the photo above you can see a few of the strips of Stitch-and-Tear that link the smaller girds to one another.  I stashed the roll in my studio ... waiting for the next weekend ... waiting for Sunday when no one would be in the atrium. 

(Above:  This weekend in the studio ... same place ... no show in the gallery ... Sunday morning ... getting ready to stitch the "smaller grids" together.)

Currently, there isn't an art show booked into the gallery.  The space is simply hung with work by the resident artists ... including me.  I guess I could work in the atrium at any time ... but this was going to be tricky ... really, really tricky.  I wanted to attempt this work alone, quietly and without stress.  I decided that yesterday, Sunday morning, June 9th was the right time.  

(Above:  Midway through stitching the giant gird of photos.)

There is no easy way to stitch into the middle of this grid.  There is no easy way to keep the shifting grid flat ... except close to the floor.  I set up my Bernina in the atrium.  I put a folding table (folded) on the floor ... I taped mat board behind my sewing machine ... all in an attempt to make a surface relatively level to the sewing.  I also brought an over-sized (40" x 60") piece of poster board on which to place the bulk of the giant gird ... as a way to "move" it more easily.  I got down on the floor to stitch.

(Above:  Stitching the giant grid ... in process.)

It took six hours with breaks about every forty-five minutes.  Why?  Well, I'M OLD!  I'll be 54 later this month.  I can no longer sit hunched on the floor with one knee bent under the material and the other leg trying to push the foot pedal!  My back needed stretched.  My legs needed stretched.  I'd frequently paced the room just to restore circulation ... BUT IT WORKED!  I'm very, very pleased.  It is one, giant grid now!

(Above:  Tearing Pellon's Stitch-and-Tear off the back of the giant grid.)

Of course, the stitching is now complete but it work isn't quite finished.  I am now at home ... in front of the television ripping the Stitch-and-Tear away from the sections that attached the "smaller grids" together.  Thank goodness the living room is large enough for the piece. This is going to require several nights ... likely all week.

(Above:  Removing the Stitch-and-Tear ... with Shadow, our cat.)

My husband Steve took these photos.  He hasn't decided if he wants to help remove the Stitch-and-Tear ... even though he was quite capable when tackling the "smaller grids".  He says I don't need TWO studio assistants and that Shadow, our cat, has obviously volunteered to help!  (Yeah ... if only I could lay on my back and get something done!)  Next ... I've got to tackle the hanging device!  I've got another hair-brained idea!  Please remember, I intend for this giant grid to be suspended in front of a wall at least six inches ... casting its shadow onto the wall.

(Above: Shadow, the new furry, home studio assistant hard at work.)

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


Kathleen Loomis said...

Susan -- just checking to see if you can receive this comment.

Gayle said...

I can't wait to see this piece up and hanging.

Nancy said...

Susan, not sure what the problem is. I rarely leave comments. so much happening too little time.
Love the work, as always.

Els said...

I'll try ... I think it was the Google + ... when I tried to write something, nothing happened at all !?
I think it will be alright again now ....

Els said...

Ha !!! Yes !!!

Rayna said...

Susan, I had trouble leaving comments on people's blogs - not only yours (see previous post) -- sometimes I have to change browsers and sometimes it is just Blogger being ornery. This seems to be working.

Frieda Anderson said...

I am leaving a comment after reading your post on SAQA. Seems to be working now.

Kathy said...

So you should get about 300 comments today from people checking your blog settings! I'm seeing comments so something must be working correctly!

Margaret said...

Another comment checker! Love your two studio assistants. The furry one certainly knows what he/she's about, eh? I don't always comment on your posts, but...fairly often...hope this is working now!

Regina B Dunn said...

Are you sure Shadow wasn't inside the grid roll? My cat would've been. Love your work.

Judy Ferguson said...

Wish I was 54 again. This is a really ambitious project. Anxious to see how it turns out. I am not a fan of Google plus. It makes no sense to me.

Lisa Chin said...

This is an amazing project! So glad that you were able to fix your commenting issue so I could tell you just how much I love this project. Keep up the good work!

Wanda said...

holy moly!!! What a project! Totally awesome! The real question though is how much do you have to pay your temp assistants Shadow and Steve? I would imagine that Shadow works for food...or maybe she doesn't remember even that. Now Steve...THAT'S a different story!! ha ha

DM said...

I buy old photos at flea markets and yard sales, mostly from the late 1800s..early 1900s, since I can't bear the thought of someone's lost ancestor being forgotten. So I think your Grid of Photos is absolutely wonderful! I suggest an appropriate name would be "Shadows", to both capture the essence of your art piece and honor your beloved cat. Sorry for your loss, Susan.