Saturday, May 22, 2010

Class collaborative project, or doing art in public at Greenlake

My Fiber Arts Certificate course continues to be a fabulous learning experience. As we go into the final week before our exhibit opens (see for details), I'm focusing mostly on finishing the detail work on the piece I'll be exhibiting. But I promised to blog about what we're doing as we do it, so I want to show off our collaborative project. A group of six of us decided to do an interactive public art project for our collaborative group project. We decided on doing a group weaving project - creating a frame, bringing fabric strips and yarns, setting up tables at Greenlake Park near the hiking trail, and inviting anyone who walked by to participate. We split up the basic materials, scheduled slots for being at the tables, and assigned other tasks, such as creating the frame, or, my task, writing a blurb and creating a booklet for participants to sign. Here's the text that went on the sign, and on the back of the booklet:

"Community comes in many forms and is made up of each member contributing their own abilities, like color and texture from threads in a woven cloth. On May 15, 2010, we are creating an opportunity to symbolically create a cloth representing the community here at Greenlake. By selecting a fiber to weave into the cloth and using your own preferences as to how the fiber is inserted, you can help create the final cloth just as each of us creates the community by the way we participate in it. Please use the booklet provided to record your thoughts about community, this project or what your choice of fiber symbolizes to you."

The reason I mentioned community is that Lois, the creator of the frame, also took the initiative to go talk to the staff at the Community Center and arranged for display of the final piece after our class is finished.

We started out setting up on 2 tables, and having to create a sign to try and draw people in. This turned out to be somewhat unnecessary as people were curious about what we were doing and usually we had at least 1 or 2 people at all times, and sometimes were on the verge of having a line for people to participate.

Once we had things set up, and had started the weaving in a couple of directions, we were off and going.

We had a wide range of participants, of all ages, genders and backgrounds. And lots of interesting conversations with people. It was really clear that the people who stopped valued the opportunity to participate in creating art.

By the time my shift ended at noon, we had almost half the frame filled with materials.

I haven't yet seen the finished piece as I missed the most recent class due to the pinched nerve in my back, but I'm looking forward to the PowerPoint presentation next Tuesday when we present to the class. This was a good exercise in working in a group and gave us an excellent opportunity to do some publicity for our upcoming exhibit. I can certainly see doing something similar on a regular basis, although it's likely I'll pick a park a little closer to home.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Guerilla Art (Fiber Art Program)

One of the assignments for my Fiber Art class was to do a site specific piece of public art. Since I walk at the greenbelt near Larsen Lake almost every day, I decided to do a piece for the pier at the lake. I selected pictures I've taken that represented each season, and a detail image to go along with the larger landscape picture. Then I put them together in a banner. I had originally intended to include a strip of green fabric representing the greenbelt, and silkscreened runners on the belt but once I got the images on the banner, I decided that additional layer would be too much.

I had some interesting conversations while carrying the banner from the library parking lot to the pier as it's about a half mile walk on the greenbelt. And I learned some things about creating art for a different presentation. I meant for the banner to hang over the lake but that didn't quite work out due to several problems. I got the angle wrong, the bamboo poles I used, to evoke fishing rods, weren't long enough, and I completely forgot about the predominant wind direction. If I'd gotten the angle and the rods right, the wind might not have been such an issue but as it was, I had to move the poles to a different hole in the railing so that the art was visible.

Lots of learning going on this quarter, that's for sure. And now that I have my new computer installed, and most of the things I need transferred or installed from the old one, I'm back in business and will be blogging about what's going on in the course at least once a week.