I have been experimenting all year with recycled materials in preparation for this residency. I am ready so, switch up and plan B, turning lemons into lemonade mode…
I enrolled in a ZOOM alternative weaving and basketry intensive program at the Textile Arts Center (NYC) later this month. It isn’t Kenya, but I am moving forward advancing my skills using bottle caps, wine corks, plastic bags, ribbon gifted to me by so many of my favorite people. You know who you are.
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…