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.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Happy birthday "Well Used, Well Loved"

Happy birthday "Well Used, Well Loved"
     One year ago I launched "Well Used, Well Loved". From an open invitation to participate, I received about 50 requests from a wide variety of households.
     I selected 8 households to adopt a hand-woven dish towel and journal. This group became the Linen Team. Since I wanted as many people to participate as possible -- I created an additional leg of the project. This second group became the Paper Team. The exact details of the project can be discovered in previous blog posts.
     In September I began to gather the used towels, the journals and the papers from the project participants. I also collected feedback via a project exit survey.
     This Sunday I will be heading to The Vermont Studio Center in Johnson VT for a month. I received a partial fellowship to continue my work on "Well Used, Well Loved".
    In preparation for this retreat I have been organizing and packing for a few days. One of the things I am bringing is the 8 journals from the Linen Team. My plan is to read the journals and select passages that inspire me. These passages will then be hand transcribed on to Kozo paper (similar the Paper Team) and then spun into thread. This Shifu spun text will supplement the Paper Team threads.
Journals and threads going to VT
     I have a rough idea of what I will be creating with these Shifu threads -- and over my retreat I will design and begin work on this final project of "Well Used, Well Loved." I will continue to post my progress from VT.
    I feel much gratitude for the gift of support from my community to continue this important and collaborative work. Thank you -- we have much to celebrate.

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