Art in the Heart of Harvard

My artwork is currently on display at the Harvard Cultural Collaborative, along with the work of several other artists. This is the artist statement that I wrote to go along with the work on display.

One of the questions I am often asked about my work is: “How long did it take you to make this?” I generally reply, somewhat seriously, “17 years.” Weaving is an exacting art/craft. Creating well-executed cloth is only possible with lots of time spent at the loom followed by brutally honest evaluation of the resulting textiles. Perfecting the actual physical act of weaving consistently good cloth takes hundreds, probably thousands, of hours.

 

Somewhere along the way during these past 17 years, I moved from thinking solely about what makes technically good cloth, whether it be functional or decorative, to thinking about the nature of textiles themselves. Are textiles purely functional? Are they art? Or are they something in between, able to cross both of those boundaries?

 

This small collection is the start of an attempt to explore those boundaries. Is Meander a wall hanging, purely decorative? Or could it serve as a table runner or decorative bed runner? The pieces Sense of Place I and II are clearly meant to serve as art - but they are derived from topographic maps of our local area, so perhaps, on some level, they could be functional, too. The snowflake twill scarves are meant to be functional; I drafted the twill design as Winter Storm Grayson was starting to enter our collective consciousness, and finished weaving them during the height of the storm. So these scarves could be considered wearable art - a tangible, wearable momento of this particular place in time, the first big storm of the year 2018.

 

I hope that the softness and tactile nature of these pieces, made of alpaca, silk and cotton, the deliberative nature of the practice of weaving, and the unique cloth created as a result of these materials and years-long practice stand in stark contrast to the polished and harsh edges of our modern technical culture and fast-fashion ethos.