Saturday, May 29, 2010

Inspiring experience....

I haven't been weaving at all lately because I've been involved in an amazing project with Savannah College of Art and Design's (SCAD's) visiting artist, Ju Yeon Kim. My boss in the Exhibitions Dept. asked if anyone was interested in helping her and I said... I'd love to! Well, it has been an incredible experience! Getting to know Ju Yeon and have the honor of tracing about 150 of her drawings using PhotoShop has been a privilege.

Let me back up a bit... Ju Yeon had been involved with SCAD at the Savannah campus teaching here a couple years ago and again last year at the Lacoste, France campus. She was chosen to do a collaborative installation with the SCAD Fibers and Sculpture students. The finished installation will be exhibited at the Museum of Women in the Arts Museum in Washington, DC opening June 25th. (The museum will have a Closing Reception September 13.) So... the problem was a deadline rapidly approaching and students in Spring Fever mode (in love, stressed with work they had put off for other classes, and I hate to say it... for some, lack of motivation... having their work in a major museum just wasn't cutting it...) So... I offered to help and also recruited some of my Fiber Guild of the Savannahs friends to help too. Those of us who have participated look forward to doing a program for the rest of the guild when the installation returns to SCAD Savannah in the Fall. It then moves on to SCAD Atlanta and SCAD Hong Kong. Read more about the installation on SCAD's website:

The installation will include 2 major pieces that represent human figures that represent different phases of the human condition among them... depression, to happiness, to natural resources and pollution and ways to die. A masculine sculptural piece and a more feminine embroidered fabric piece. Visitors will be able to part the hanging panels to reach a calm meditation space at the center.

The one that I am working on is the Fiber piece... 108 strips of fabric that are each 9 foot long by about 9 inches wide. They will hang from 3 concentric circles... the outer white layer is the Future -- heavy free machine embroidery in white, beige and golden threads done by the Fiber students... the middle layer is the Present and JuYeon has drawn the figures on the white strips and colored them with paint for the students to add embellishments. I am working on the inner layer... the Past which will be on gray fabric panels stitched in white primarily with a fancy computerized embroidery machine (which JuYeon taught herself to use!) Some of the guild member are doing some embroidery on this layer using a free arm sewing machine technique and others have helped by cutting and taping the fabric panels and ironing the finished panels. My job as I mentioned was to trace Ju Yeon's drawings so that a computerized embroidery machine could read her images and embroider them on gray fabric strips.

Then there's the sculptural piece... JuYeon and the students have created 3 dimensional relief sculptures of the human images reminiscent of Rodin's Gate of Hell but the forms are much larger. They are sculpted in modeling clay that is reused after the finished form is molded and then a casting is made in an acrylic resin. This casting is then affixed to wooden panels... 6 of them that make a hexagon. The images will be painted a medium weathered gray and will be in the inside of the meditation space. Viewer will enter through an archway and be met by these forms of people and animals and plants and trees... At the top panels are attached sloping in to make a circular opening at the top. The outside of the piece is furniture grade wood.

Yesterday SCAD held a preview reception of the work to date. As today is graduation many students are going home for the summer and won't be here in Savannah the next few weeks when the finishing touches are made. I too will be leaving in a week... so my involvement is coming to an end. The illustration above is of one of the Future embroideries by the students. I also traced this image for the Past panel. I'm attaching that tracing and the drawing done by JuYeon, as well as the embroidery done in white thread on the gray panel... it is from the Historic Leaders panel which also included people such as Ghandi, Buddha, the Dalai Lama...

the original drawing...
my tracing done with PhotoShop
the embroidery of my tracing done with the computerized embroidery machine

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