Tuesday, October 06, 2020

The Clothesline Installation and mini workshop at Great Basin National Park


(Above:  Newest pieces for The Clothesline Installation hanging outside the Lehman Caves Visitor Center at Great Basin National Park in Nevada.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

Sadly, my two-weeks as the artist-in-residence at Great Basin National Park came to an end. I will miss the quietness, the aspen leaves changing colors, the mule deer along the trails, and the Milky Way nights.  I learned much about myself, my approach to art making, and the benefits of solitude.  I will not miss the frustrations of poor Internet connectivity.  I'm back home now and able to post a few more entries about the experience ... like the opportunity to hang new pieces in my Clothesline Installation.


  The Clothesline's newest pieces.)

I brought a small collection of recently uncovered household linens and vintage fabric.  After arriving, I went to work.  Newly cut fabric hand prints were fused and zigzag stitched and then hung under the covered walkway leading to Lehman Caves' entrance.  They stayed up until the day before I left. Unfortunately, there are no tours of the cave at this time.  There is no way to social distance a cave tour. 

(Above:The sign I stitched for the installation.)  

In order to let viewers know what and why these pieces were hanging, I stitched a sign on an old handkerchief atop a piece of heavy upholstery fabric.  I hung it with a line of safety pins.  The sign reads: The Clothesline is a reminder to save energy through line drying, to do more things by hand, and to help stop the spread of the virus by washing our hand. Created by artist-in-residence. Susan Lenz.


  (Above:  Detail of the Clothesline while hanging at Great Basin National Park.)

Each one of these pieces is attached to the zigzag cording that serves as my clothesline with a clothespin, but each one is also safety pinned to that cord.  The wind can really kick up at these high elevations, flipping the pieces.  I took these images right before taking down the installation.  The sign really shows the force of the wind; the edges were raw and definitely frayed after only ten days!


(Above: Cutting out a fabric hand print.)

The Clothesline Installation was important part of my art residency. It was the inspiration behind a mini-workshop for local home school students.  I prepared several pieces of vintage fabric by ironing Wonder Under (a heat-activated adhesive) to the reverse side.  The participants traced their hand print on the facing paper of the Wonder Under and cut each one out.

After cutting out a hand print, the facing paper was removed and the hand print was ironed onto a vintage napkin.

Each person had a turn zigzag stitching around his or her hand print.

After the zigzag stitching, I stitched the machine to free-motion stitching.  Everyone wrote their name in thread on their hand print.

(Above:  Four of the five participants holding up their finished piece.)

It was a great way to inspire people to stitch, to talk about the low humidity in the area which really makes line drying easy, and about the common sense ways we can help stop COVID-19 from spreading to others. 



Catherine - Mixed Media Artist said...

interesting how the "clothesline installation" truly had not much to do with covid-19 and now it's turned into a great way to understand the importance of hand washing and drying...

the children look happy to show their produce and at the same time learn a skill - the sewing machine. Said sewing machine might be at their homes right now, but further down the track as an adult that might be the ticket to a lot of things...

Woolsey Family said...

Indeed! This installation has many layers of meanings that bring awareness to being environmentally conscious and maintaining healthy habits.

I was with the students at this workshop and they had a fantastic time learning new skills. Susan is such a creative and enthusiastic teacher! Thank you, Susan!! The hands they sewed proudly hang in their homeschool room.

We have a sewing club in town where these students continue to explore the world of sewing by machine and by hand. Never ending fun!