I discovered how much fun it was to hang out with the good folks at Adobe Books and sew with whoever showed up.
It's an interior space that speaks about the confinement of imagination. Installed at the Headlands Center for the Arts, 1998.
Last week I was asked to present my work to Angela Hennessy's class at the California College of the Arts, called The Dying Salon. This studio class for graduate and undergraduates explores themes of death, loss, and bereavement in contemporary art. I was honored to be included in the syllabus. I presented images of the Passage Quilting™ and Prayer Banner projects, along with two other projects on afterlife, and transformation.
When I was in art school at Bard College in 2004, I presented Passage Quilts and the Prayer Banner for my third year critique. The question of whether my work was considered "Art" or not came up, as it always did while I was at Bard.
In 2011, the debate at CCA seems to be around conceptual vs. embodied art. My work falls in the embodied camp, but when I was in art school the frames used for defining "Art" were still under the spell of the post modern and avant-garde critique.
Recently a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, writing a story on the How-To-Homestead Tour, asked me this question...
In your opinion, why are traditional homesteading skills important in this age of technology and convenience?
The physical movement of our bodies in the act of making things imparts knowledge that can not be discovered conceptually or by thinking something through or by viewing a youtube video.
Then she asked me to rephrase for a broader audience, something less esoteric. I responded with...
The human genome project has shown that knowledge is encoded on a cellular level through our DNA. As a crafts person I believe that we can know certain things only through the repetitive and skillful movement of our bodies in space.
Body knowledge allows the potter to throw a perfect bowl, or a musician the ability to play their instrument with success. Mastering such things with our bodies or through our hands connects us to our physical environment in ways not possible through thought alone.
Where do you stand on embodied knowledge or embodied art? Have you learned things through your hands or your body from practicing your craft that you wouldn't have learned otherwise?
The images above are from my MFA thesis installation called the Realm of Complete Joy. More on this later...