I started off the semester with the concept of connections. The connections between people and objects and people with one another; and how technology and our material, throw away culture changes our connections. I was thinking about the fact that our connections are changing, we’re losing traditional connections and making new technology assisted connections. We are disconnected with craft and the handmade. And are on a search for authenticity, are connections as genuine online as they are face to face? The idea of Technology vs. Reality and 3-d rendering and CGI vs. real life was also on my mind. I wanted to work through this concept using found object as my primary material.
There were several ways that found object could make a connection. Making a connection with place, where it was found adds to its meaning and importance. Making a connection with objects, what is attractive about them why “save” them? Making a connection with people, blog, Instagram, distribution of work. I liked the idea of “Found in the wild” a term amongst fountain pen collectors which describes finding a pen at a thrift shop, antique shop, or flea market where it is not sold by a collector or valued appropriately. Also I wanted to put some effort into dignifying commonplace objects, taking something off of the ground and making it into respected wearable art.
The first multiples project of the semester was to make five rings. I’m used found object as my material for the semester and had a huge pile of rope that I found over the summer in Campobello Canada. I decided to start with the rope because it could be cut down into ring size elements easily unlike most of my other found objects.. I loved how these turned out, they bring the rope to a new, wearable level and work as valid design elements. So why rope? When on the beaches of Campobello it seems like almost everything is a treasure worthy to be picked up and brought home. The rocks are gorgeous and there’s such a variety of shapes and colors that it’s impossible not to walk home with a pocket or bag full on every trip. Theres shells, urchins, crabs, and lobsters and then there’s the rope. I’ve been to Campobello on multiple occasions and the rope never really attracted my attention. This trip however I was looking for some fly tying supplies and started picking up rope figuring I could use it instead of fur. Once I started looking for Rope I couldn’t stop there were so many colors sizes and widths that over several days I had filled a 2 gallon ziplock bag. There’s a ton of fishing and lobstering on the island so I imagine the rope was run away pieces that washed up on the beach. I took these castaways and did indeed make some nice flies but I brought the rest down to scad to see if I could give it some new life as jewelry. Each rope has a story to tell, how worn it is, if it’s frayed or cut, the color and thickness. Each of these ropes originally had a purpose and a job to do. With my rope ring series each rope is getting a new job and showing off its personality and color in the attempt to adorn and make a connection between the wearer and my lazy beach combing on Campobello.
I started off working with materials from Campobello but then moved into materials sourced from the streets of Savannah I found a quote from found object artist Carol Cole that I felt truly fit my own finding habits. “I am a beachcomber, not only at the shore but on the city streets. I walk with my eyes down and find treasures everywhere. I shop for art materials in junkyards. I am a gatherer, not a hunter. I don’t know what I am looking for until I see it. I don’t know what I am making until it is finished.” I love how she describes her practice of finding as a constant. That she is just always looking for things. I often feel the same way. I take long walks and find myself watching the side walk and edge of the street for little finds looking down so much that I forget to notice the world around me. I also love how she finds and makes without a plan. I felt that my new work was more compositional and that makes it more symbolic than the actual objects themselves. By combining objects all found in the same place I think it gives a greater feeling and connection to the place where the material was sourced. In this case all the objects used were found in Savannah. My instagram posts show what I found on each outing and gives the location of where the objects were found. This documentations adds to the connection with place and its importance in the work.
I then moved away from the Savannah only work and went back to things found at the beach. I was thinking a lot about my multiples series involving found objects from the sea. Mostly those things that I found in Campobello but a little from Tybee as well. I was trying to decide what the works symbolized. To me they symbolized happiness and memories. They bring me back to walking the rocky shores of Campobello with family and friends; and searching for the perfect stone amongst billions. The freezing cold water even in the middle of July. Playing games in the evenings and waking up to fog so thick that it was impossible to see anything outside the window. The bits of Tybee bring back memories of visitors to my new home in Savannah. It’s impossible for anyone to come for a visit and not go to the beach at least once, sometimes three or four times. The little bits of Tybee also make me think of escape. When I go out alone to get an hour or two of solace between classes or in a busy day. When the sea breeze and waves can at least for a moment erase my worries and troubles and bring clarity to my hectic life. I think that many people have a similar connection to the sea. That it brings them back to family vacations and happy memories. Those stolen moments from real life and its worries. I hope that my sea themed collection can bring memories of rocky shores and sandy beaches to the wearer. So that they too smile when they put it on as much as I smiled when I picked up its components on the beach.
For the Necklaces I decided to go into a more direct multiples direction. I used all 3 necklaces to work through the same idea. I used 2 in a very similar way with settings for multiple found objects in the necklace. All three turned out nicely and I loved the backs of the stones being all nice and polished. The combined elements worked nicely to bring out my ideas of the beach and memories.
After the necklaces I was considering my recent attempts to combine elements. I was thinking about combining really disparate elements and techniques to make a finished piece. I dissembled one of my stone necklaces and took the stones that I did some lapidary work on and scanned them into photoshop and printed them out full size. I then doodled some simple flower forms around them like my previous laser cuttings. I’m then cut them out of wood with a hole in the middle which was almost exactly the same size as the rocks. This way I can combine the laser cut wood with the found, cut and polished stones.
Now that I have the new combined elements pieces I’m pushing the idea even further. I tried the flower like doodles with both the rocks and with some found glass and ceramic shards. The symbolism behind my recent laser cut and found object pieces is twofold much like the objects themselves. The inside is what I’ve found and the outside is what I’ve made. This goes for me as a person and the pieces. Inside are all of the things that I’ve found and gathered together that make up who I are. My collected memories and experiences the good times and the bad all make up what I hold inside. The exterior is the persona that I have made. The clothes the temperament, the smile on my face are all at times contrived to be the person I want the world to see and not necessarily what is on the inside. Although both parts are beautiful one is natural or incidental while the other is drafted and edited to become exactly the way I want it to appear. These pieces allow the viewer to see both the inside and outside the core and the exterior growing off of it.
The laser cut combination pieces speak much more about multiples then anything I have made up to this point in the semester. They fit both conceptually but also in style and form with one another. They are very functional yet different which fits my aesthetic nicely. Future plans include making some designs that reflect what’s on the inside on the outside, and trying some different materials. I also want to try to put multiple pieces together in to one piece as kind of a combination of combined elements. I really want to push this idea and hopefully come out with something even better at the end. It’s important to continue working in multiples to see how far I can push a single idea. How many iterations and permutations it can make and still retain its meaning. I could see the found and made object series becoming an instillation someday where all the little individual elements combine to make something much large and stronger.