THE BACK STORY: In January 2016 I launched "Well Used, Well Loved" (WUWL)a long term community art project that explores age, beauty, impermanence and attachment through a hand woven dish towel and reflective writing/drawing. Eight households from England to Oregon "adopted" a hand woven linen towel to use however they wish. Every other week I sent a prompt for reflection to be recorded in a small journal that I provided. The response to my initial call to participate in WUWL was overwhelming. Over 50 households expressed interest in taking part in the project and I only had 8 towels.

So I created a secondary project that dovetailed with the first one. This second group of ultimately 38 households (Maine to Arizona) wrote and drew on kozo paper (a special Japanese paper) to record their response to my prompts. Thru a hands-on workshop at my studio I taught local folks from this group how to spin their kozo paper into thread using a Japanese technique called Shifu. I created a video tutorial for those who wanted to learn to spin their paper from afar.

Prompts to both groups were the same. For example Prompt #6 was: "The materials for this project are hand woven linen and Kozo paper. Both are created from plant fibers, known for their absorption qualities. Absorption can also been seen as dissolving boundaries. In that light what parallels or connection do you observe between your own ability to absorb, to soak up, to empathize? What connections do you perceive between your linen/paper and the action of union, of dissolving boundaries, connection? What value do these actions have today.

In September 2017 I began to collect the 8 towels, the kozo papers and the journals to wrap up the project. The journals, the used/loved towels and the completed four panel piece woven from the community threads combine to create an installation that honors and reflect the spirit of this project.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Behind the couch

Towel III. Lurking behind the couch.
What lurks behind your couch? Between the cushions, hidden away? Is it something that you intentionally hid there to avoid confrontation? Or is it something neglected?  Or simply something forgotten in the busyness of life?  

In our Well Used, Well Loved project we are on prompt #8: which examines the connections between beauty, economics and impermanence.
  • What connection do you see in your own life between your economic survival/well being and your age/beauty?? Are you in a profession that requires a certain maintenance of image/beauty?
  • What connections do you see in our culture between economic survival/well being and age//beauty?
 In a manner - this is something that gets stuffed behind the couch - not talked about - but when the topic is brought out to the light - I am not surprised at the energy that it consumes. Just ask any woman of a certain age about her choice to color or not color her hair.

In reality though, I think hair coloring is just the surface of this topic.

I am curious about the conversation that lurks behind the cushions.
What do men have to say about this prompt? 
What lurks behind this topic?