Working in a three dimensional medium one must always consider how they must activate space. Because I have decided to work with organic natural materials I always look to nature for my source information. Sometimes the work that comes out of the studio is directly inspired by nature (like the image above) and sometimes it is indirect exposure that takes hold of my work (such as a basket, piece of ceramic, or even a hybrid of the two. Activating space need not be something that is shy or timid. You're activating space! Engage with the material. It's kind of like a dance. You have material in both hands and as you move and work with the material it begins to engage with your movements and vice versa.
The piece above is a hanging installation piece. I hung a piece of string from a tall tree branch and attached both ends to a single branch so that it would hang in space midair. That was the beginning. Multiple branches were added to that first lone branch. It hanged from the tree for several days. Over those several days I was able to accumulate more branches and add or take away from the the piece that was hanging. After the piece looked satisfied with the form it had taken I began to weave around and through the branches. Thus, creating a network of thin lines that consisted of being fluid, organic, and at times metric. Working on the piece mid air was an incredible process that I will soon return to. Seeing a piece instantly activate space is exciting, especially when it is only a start of what it will soon become.
On 10/3/18 I departed from the spoils of air conditioning and embarked on a journey in the woods. Assignment: gather materials for further weaving processes. Before I began I started to mentally prepare myself for what was going to happen and preparing myself to learn from a new material and different environment. Also reminding myself to stay true to only harvest what nature has cast aside and not harm a living specimen for the sole purpose of making art.
As a result from the process not only do I have a greater respect for those who harvest this material but also to the material itself. Cane/bamboo is a strong and durable fiber that when slit can be flexible and still maintain it's strength. Being able to work with it, even for a little while, has brought some interesting ideas for future pieces and the exhibition of future pieces. It has also inspired me to think large scale and the possibilities of how activating space should not be a shy and timid pursuit. This material alone when grown develops an exquisite and narrow forest.
Having a history of hiking through forests takes me back to so many memories and journeys. Looking at me now, I see that a lot has changed and some things haven't. I'm still hiking in the woods, taking my thoughts with me, and letting the physical journey help analyze the internal journey I have before and ahead of me. This is a mere glimpse into my art process and what I see and feel as an artist.
How do I make it better? This question is typical to us creatives in reference to a piece of work we created. We build off of our previous works, otherwise we are simply on a Mary-go-round going nowhere. Who doesn't want to create work that is engaging and has viewers in awe?! But here's the break. Are you making work solely for the enjoyment of others or are you creating work geared to challenge you? Part of that process is learning to let some ideas go. Some ideas build a passion in one's heart and hands to see if it really is possible. However, one should not be distraught if the sketch they once made remains a sketch for the next 5 plus years. Even when you make work that looks phenomenal, because the glaze combo fired just right, the pot didn't explode or misshapen, sometimes you have to just move on. Be grateful for the steps that have brought you were you are, acknowledge that. But, do not let the past control the work of the present. Grow. Add another layer. Throw another Yunomi. Stretch the canvas. Load the film. Weave a different row. Whatever it is you are doing always aim to be better than before and challenge yourself.