So for our second Projects Projects this semester, we had a pretty unusual opportunity. The Fleisher Art Memorial, a gallery and community center here in Philadelphia gives out a prize semi-annually to artists they feel are making a difference in our community. Each year previous, they'd been awarded a traditional-looking cast medallion. This year, they decided to try something new, and asked our Projects class to come up with an 'award' to present to the three artists being honored this year.
It was a bit of challenge for me. Originally, I planned to make a box in the shape of a cut gem, and cover the outside in rhinestones. I was immediately told to not do so, despite spending two weeks planning and diagramming out the angles and sides. It was revealed to me if I didn't change my focus, I would become a "group show" artist, which I think is a nice way of saying "gimmick artist." I suppose I understand where they are coming from, but I still genuinely love pushing "crafty-craft" way further until (I hope) it becomes "Craft" simply by nature of being sort of bizzare in it's workmanship compared to it's content/material.
Ah. But anyway, I decided to start working within a narrative that I was also using for Advanced Fibers. This post is already quite long, so I won't get into it, but basic parameters are that I 'm working with characters from a comic idea I had a few years ago. These people use only recycled materials in making their clothing, and at one point in their history, were not permitted to use colored dyes--restricting them to black, white and shades of gray--at least, visibly. I'm working with the idea of using color on the insides of garments/objects.
So I made a bag, because I couldn't really make a garment, considering there were three award recipients of different ages and genders.
Materials--one pair of French Army Boots, some piece of a Dutch Army blanket, pieces of French Army pants, old wool weaving yarn I found, old crewel yarn and linen from old embroidery kits, and black buttonhole thread.
As it was presented to Fleisher people (on a plinth) because I'm really starting to hate seeing my pieces on pedestals or mannequins.
Believe it or not, that 'split' area and the part coming up from it are the same technique for making friend ship bracelets.
I also made the cording myself, don't know what the technique is called, I've been doing it forever.
Color embroidery on the inside
Apparently my piece started a bit of a disagreement among the jury. The woman who had originally given us the opportunity saw it and really liked it, but the rest of the jury was completely confused as to how it was an 'award.' After we'd, as a class, been told not to make it specifically 'award-like.' They ended up picking pieces (which were totally beautiful, don't get me wrong, I think the people that got picked deserved it) that were the most traditional--a bowl, a set of vases, and a bronze box.
Oh well, I suppose you can't always know what people are looking for.