MMMM Performance Collaborators

Mater Matrix Mother and Medium’s    new multi-media performance “Saltus Chori Aevum”  is almost here, and I am awash in realizing what a great pleasure it has been the past few months of collaborating with some very generous, humble and talents artists: choreographer/dancer Jessica Jobaris, performance artist/vocalist Saskia Delores, harpist/poet Monica Schley and filmaker Rodrigo Valenzuela.   My initial seed for this project was to bring several people together who don’t work together, haven’t worked together, but all of whose work I feel incredibly drawn into, like I am disappearing into a well of deep water.  So it has been an experiment, throwing people together and seeing what happens.  There is rawness, and refinement and some intense crystalline moments of people making work that they wouldn’t be making on their own.  It has been a feast of influences to be a part of the creation of performance, and I believe it will be a feast of sensations to experience as a viewer.  The creation of MMMM, the entire project, has always been about celebrating process over end-product;  the crocheting has a life of its own as it grows and is impacted upon by the environment.  And I see this performance blooming out of that same process.

 

Also, please take a moment to watch Rodrigo’s film Diamond Box, which is up for the Vimeo documentary awards, and Vote for it here!  Voting ends tomorrow April 30th.

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Revisiting influences…

 

Clootie well

Clootie well

 I’m listening to “Pagan Poetry” as I work, and it brought my mind back to one of the early influences on this project….cloth tied in the woods, healing, rotting, pilgrimage…

The Clootie Well is a rather weird remnant of an ancient tradition once commonly found in Scotland and Ireland, of holy wells to which pilgrims would come and make offerings, usually in the hope of having an illness cured. The tradition dates far back into pre-Christian times, to the practice of leaving votive offerings to the local spirits or gods in wells and springs…..

Pilgrims would come, perform a ceremony that involved circling the well sunwise three times before splashing some of its water on the ground and making a prayer. They would then tie a piece of cloth or “cloot” that had been in contact with the ill person to a nearby tree.

As the cloot rotted away, the illness would depart the sick person. An alternative tradition suggests that sick children would be left here overnight to be healed. Presumably any with the strength or spirit to survive what would have been an exceedingly creepy ordeal were pretty likely to recover anyway.

From Undiscovered Scotland   (land of my People)

 

“Water Calling” Public Art – Temporary Projects

Ack!!! Just realized I did not have a direct link to “Water Calling” information on this blog, the series of temporary public art projects that MMMM is a part of.  I have been truly swamped this past month.  But literally two more days of install…

“Water Calling ”   Public Art – Temporary Projects.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We all make art

I found this environmental fiber/community fiber-based art practice by Iranian artist Atefeh Khas on another friend’s website (another amazing environmental/fiber/community-based writer artist, Abigail Doan).  I came across these images just as I was beginning to work my river into the trees, and just as all the storm of the Iranian election was beginning.  I, of course, feel a great deal of kinship to the work I am seeing on Atefeh’s website, and am reminded of the freedoms I have to do and share what I love.  I am also reminded by her work of how patterns, materials, impulses and desires for beauty, kinship and meaning span all cultures, and art can shorten the distances between us.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inspiration for MMMM at Columbia City Gallery: Another performer collaboration and another crochet event

This Saturday May 30th from 5-8pm at the Columbia City Gallery , I have work in a group show called “5280; Ten Artists Living Within a Mile of the Gallery”.  I’ll be showing a little bit of inspiration for MMMM — another product of a collaboration with an incredible performer. Last summer and fall, I collaborated with the luminous performance artist, Haruko Nishimura.

the Slug Princess

the Slug Princess

 

dusk at Smoke Farm

dusk at Smoke Farm

 Together we created a hybridized mythological creature, the Slug Princess — an arion slug goddess —  with my work as the lumbering undulating skin and Haruko’s work with Butoh as the mercurial spirit of this creature of appetite.  We then worked with filmmaker Ian Lucero to create a short film called “The Silvering Path”, shot at Smoke Farm in Arlington Washington.

 

filming

filming

 

 It was an intensely inspiring experience for me, watching my work, shredded fibers and yarns crocheted and beaded, pulsing and lumbering through tall grasses, twisting around rocks, picking up dirt, moisture and life.  

 

little creature on my creature

little creature on my creature

I believe the three of us together created something really beautiful and unsettling, and I wanted more.  More collaboration, and more of seeing fiber breath to life, not just because it was wrapped around a body, but because it rubbed and caressed the natural environment.  I knew I wanted to do work that didn’t just use the natural environment as a site for action, but would become entwined, enmeshed with all the processes, however minute, of the environment.  I wanted to push my work with a performer further away from “costume” & literally interweave the body into the landscape using stones, trees and flowing water interacting with changing fabric. I wanted to explore using the environment as material not simply backdrop, to create an installation that is in & changed by the elements.  

an early sketch

an early sketch

Then this SPU project came up, and of course those desires and ideas from the Silvering Path directly inspired what I am trying to accomplish now with MMMM and the interaction with the landscape at Camp Long.  So, at the Columbia City Gallery I’ll be showing the slug wearable element as well as these giant magic crocheted cabbages from the film.  It’s a group show celebrating 10 years of the Gallery, as well as celebrating this little hub of artists down here in the south end.  More about “The Silvering Path”…

And the Gallery has also generously offered to host a crochet event on Thursday June 11 from 6-8 pm, so you can come crochet,see the show,  catch dinner at Tutta Bella and head to a movie at Columbia Cinema.  Columbia City has it all!!  The Columbia City Gallery is at 4864 Rainier Ave S | Seattle WA 98118 | 206.760.9843

“5,280” runs from May 27 – July 5th, 2009

At Delridge Library….all about the Mother

DSC_0225It’s been almost three weeks of really traveling the cardinal directions of Seattle.  Today I’m spending some time crocheting up huge strips of hand-dyed silk, alpaca and pearls for the wearable element of MMMM, and I also need to reflect upon and share some of the places I have been to.  Thank you Delridge neighborhood for joining in with MMMM!  

brother and sister crocheting duo

brother and sister crocheting duo

 

A diverse group of all ages

A diverse group of all ages

Now that Camp Long has been confirmed as the site for this installation integrated into the natural environment, interpreting and celebrating our urban creeks and watersheds, it felt good to be working just around the corner from the Longfellow Creek watershed at The Delridge Library , and sharing my project with members of the community the creek runs through.  

It was one of my best attended events that wasn’t a street fair, several children playing hookie from homework made long beautiful chains, including 2 four years olds.  Towards the end of the day, yarn was everywhere with kids running around the room eating animal crackers, and still crocheting.  I loved it!  For me, art and learning are both messy chaotic and wayfaring processes, full of sensory overload.  So I was quite pleased with the rumpus!  And glad I could create a space where children can mess around and babies can screech while mother messes around with yarn!   Even my doula stopped by, Betsy Hoffmeister who is an activist in her community supporting mothers and children with birth and breastfeeding support.  

Betsy and Becca

Betsy and Becca

We have hardly seen each other since she was with me during the birth of my son, so I am really thrilled to have a tiny fuzzy whirlpool made by her hands join this long river.   She sat and taught her daughter to crochet, as well as two other mother and child pairs.  

Brenda teaches her son

Brenda teaches her son

Crocheting has been a way for me to generate my giant installations in tiny bits of time, because it’s a very simple looping process I can keep in a little bag and carry with me throughout my daily life.  My ordinary experiences of watching my kid at the playground or waiting for a few minutes in the car get imbedded in the larger mythical narrative of my work.

I'm just waiting...not driving

I'm just waiting...not driving

 

 

  I always feel like this correlates with how myths or archetypes would have been created, the repetition of the ordinary story until it transcends the individual.  So to have these moments of mothers and  children, passing hands through hands, recorded in knots in this work, to me, gives it some powerful magic.

See the entire set of images here

Mariko and little one

Mariko and little one

Robert and Tenny hold back nothing

Robert and Tenny hold back nothing

 

babies don't crochet, but they sing for us

babies don't crochet, but they sing for us

 

 

already a crocheting ace, taught by her grandmother

already a crocheting ace, taught by her grandmother

 

a tiny pool

a tiny pool

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A HUGE thank you to Karin Skacel Haack at Skacel Yarn! Crochet hooks for kids!

This piece is bringing me in contact with so many generous people, freely giving their support (a hem, Sharon Arnold at dimensions variable), encouragement, their time, old clothes, old yarn, etc. etc.  But I have to just also give a gigantic thank you to Karin Skacel Haack , the president of Skacel Collection, Inc. , a Seattle-based family business importing yarns and beautiful German crochet hooks.  Karin contacted me during the making of my last project, The Silvering Path, and wanted to donate some yarn. crochet-party I believe she had seen Small but Mighty Wandering Pearl, and also one of her newest designers had helped me with some beading on that project.  She generously gave us a mountain of yellow yarn and other supplies.  She also came for a day and crocheted.  Karin and I recently got in touch again, and she again wanted to donate more yarn and asked me what else I might need for this new massive project.  I told her how I have been giving away my crochet hooks to kids who come to the events, and yarn where I could, to the point it was outside of my budget.  She said she’d find me some hooks too.

Well, her awesome web designer Candice, came to the Southwest Library crochet event with a giant bag of the most beautiful blue yarns, and a box of an unbelievable amount of glittery crochet hooks (yes, they have gold glitter in them, they are truly the glam rockstars of crochet hooks).  Not only has she insured that I can take this piece to the scale that I would like it to be without busting my budget, but also I can make sure to pass on a crochet hook to every kid I come across.  

Skacel yarn and hooks!

Skacel yarn and hooks!

Crochet hooks are like special wands of transformation, simple and elemental, archetypal tools that can create infinite variety through the single gesture of knotting loops inside of loops.  I don’t even know how old they are…..It feels good and full-circle to hopefully keep a kid working with their hands.  Handwork and reading were really the saving grace of my childhood.  Someone somewhere taught me the simple gestures that have shaped my life and set my hands and mind into the motions that will probably be with me for as long as I know.  Thank you Karin for such generosity.

 

 

crocheting at Delridge Library

crocheting at Delridge Library

 

four hands together

four hands together