THE BACK STORY


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 I began to collect the 8 towels, the kozo papers and the journals for a future installation. The journals, the used/loved towels and the completed art piece woven from the community threads will combine to create an installation that I am currently designing.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Shifu threads are all spun

Shifu in the shrubbery
 Yesterday I spun the last sheet of Kozo paper into thread. As some of you know I have the good fortune to be south in a warm place for the month of March. While here in the Bahamas I am not idle - I have been spinning, drawing, writing and continually contemplating how best to honor these threads.

  It was often a challenge to spin here -- as the wind can sweep away my bundle of cut paper - making it dance like a ghost.

  Today I took them all to the beach for a photo shoot. A few days ago I photographed a skein in the garden shrubbery.

  I rather like the threads wound in these small skeins. But I can't seem to let go of the idea of weaving them onto a black linen cloth - just a simple way to mount them.

  Obviously I am still figuring this last piece of the project out! But for now -- all the Shifu has been spun. Thanks to everyone for your patience and encouragement.
Shifu in the sand