In the exhibition Material Identity, artists and makers are invited to explore the substance of material, paying special attention to their place in the world, either from a focus inward, or how they identify in. The show asks how does materiality represent who we are? Does the material you use dictate who you are as a maker? How does medium speak to who you are as an individual?
As a child, my grandmother insisted My sister and I learn how to sew. “These are important skills every young lady must know,”she would say. And even though I thought it was “old fashioned,” I learned to sew on a vintage Singer machine.
I vividly remember lying on the floor under the machine with my cheek resting on the cold metal stand while Grandma worked the pedals with her feet, letting out the hem on my pants to accommodate my growth spurt that summer. Whenever I see an old Singer machine this memory pops into my head, I can feel the cold metal on my face and smell a wiff of Grandmas perfume, Charlie.
My sister and I also learned needle point, crochet, beading, jewelry making from my Mom and friendship bracelets, macrame, basket weaving as Girl Scouts. My Mom was our troop leader. At the time, these were deemed important skills for young ladies to have… but somewhere along the way, after my Grandmother passed in 1988, I stopped doing “Women’s Work” and set aside craft in pursuit of “more important” things that would help me get ahead in the world, like scholastic aptitude.
My crafting skills lay buried deep in my subconscious for decades, until I rediscovered how restorative working with my hands can be. The repetition of knotting and wrapping has a meditative quality that silences the mind. My brain literally switches off and my hands just do their thing, fusing rope, yarn, ribbon and thread into something new. When I snap out of the trance, something miraculous rests in my hands. It never ceases to amaze me how insanely productive I can be when I stop thinking and just be. Counterintuitive, I know, but this how creativity manifests for me.
I want to honor the women who instilled my love of art, by elevating craft to fine art and banishing the perception that “Women’s Work” is not as important as other art practices. All there is to do, is just be and let it happen.
To prepare for this journey, I am taking a couple workshops for fun and brush up on my skills at the Textile Arts Center in NYC this quarter.
Bead Embroidery workshop on 02/06/2020
Intro to Macrame + Knotting, a full day class on 02/16/2020
Advanced Pompom Techniques workshop on 03/03/2020
Check this space and my Instagram @MissTheda to see what I’m learning and how I’m incorporate these techniques into my art practice. I am excited to see what happens…
Artists Talks: 6/22/19 Sat: Kimberly Becoat, Ibou Ndoye and Shoshanna Weinberger 6/23/19 Sun: Adebunmi Gbadebo and Theda Sandiford
Artists Workshops: 6/23/19 Sun: Theda Sandiford
Gallery Hours: Thurs/Fri, 5-8p, Sat/Sun, 1-6pâ€‹
â€œLet Me Tell You a Storyâ€, 5/23/19 – 6/23/19, presents five artists: Adebunmi Gbadebo, Ibou Ndoye, Kimberly Becoat, Shoshanna Weinberger and Theda Sandiford, whose works celebrate Black culture. Drawing from their rich and varied experiences, these artists explore historic and contemporary issues of race, gender and identity that African-American, Caribbean-American and mixed race cultures deal with. In these artistsâ€™ materials, scale, imagery and message, they proclaim their lives while exposing topics important to the lives of the communities with which they identify. Curated by Anne Trauben.
Im celebrating my birthday by opening my studio March 1st as part of JCFridays. Come take a tour of Garden Level Gallery. See new works in progress and maybe try your hand at wrapping some rope. All are welcome.
DATE: Friday, March 1st
TIME: 6:00pm -9:00pm
LOCATION: Garden Level Gallery; 315 3rd Street, Jersey City NJ. Between Cole and Monmouth Streets. From Manhattan take the PATH train to Grove Street. It is a short walk from there up Newark Avenue.
RSVP:Please let me know if you are going to make it so I get a headcount and can make sure there is enough food and drink for all….