I took an Art History course that focused on landscape and place within our local context. It was interesting to learn about local history and to gain a better understanding about the debates associated with landscape painting such as the works of the Group of Seven and Emily Carr.
In the studio classes I was able to turn my attention to felting and surface design.
In Fibre 312, we were given 4 concepts or ideas to work with.
I chose to focus on identity in general rather than my identity. The message was that despite our differences, we have a great deal in common with the rest of humanity - recognizing our commonalities can help us to understand and empathize with “others.”
Repair was another concept. In Heirloom Legacy I created an installation of items that I have inherited - the focal piece being my grandparents' lamp which I refurbished. The biggest challenge was recovering the lampshade with felt. It worked beautifully and is now a fully functional piece in my home.
In the third project we were challenged to create a garment that addresses a concept. The Gaze is intended to disturb the experience of looking at a garment and the body lying beneath it. The subject/object relationship is called into question as the subject looking at the garment becomes the object of the garment’s gaze.
Growing up during the feminist movement of the 70s I believed that I would, as a woman, have the opportunity and the agency to be a strong individual. For the most part, this has been true, but there have been challenges and compromises along the way. Since then there have been systemic changes that make it easier as a woman to obtain an education in a broader range of fields, to participate more equitably in employment, and to maintain personal safety, but issues clearly still remain and traditional values about the “female role” still pervade. It is more than a little dismaying that the Oxford Dictionary still defines femininity as: “having qualities or an appearance traditionally associated with women, especially delicacy and prettiness.”
Given this societal context, how does a woman frame herself as strong and yet feminine? Duality is about this challenge but also about celebrating the potential to be both – it is about embracing our own inner strength, taking hold of our own destiny, and framing ourselves as we want to be.
In Fibre 312, which focused on surface design, we were asked to define a series of our own objectives for the course and to create four to six projects that would help us achieve these objectives. This was perfect because I have a huge list of things I never get around to trying. I wanted to learn more about using different types of dyes and using resists and tying techniques.
I particularly wanted to take the time to experiment with different surfacing techniques on felt. It was great fun and I can't wait until next Fall when I return to classes. This winter I am busy working in my studio, travelling and teaching workshops - life is great!