Welcome to A Conversation with Art
Today’s theme is stitched lines.
We are going to look at artworks where the lines are created by threads, stitched on fabric, or used to create a sculptural work, actually, a sculptural necklace.
The intertwining lines created in this work were made with colorful thread and copper wire. The continuous interwoven lines form shapes that support each other and the mannequin helps us to imagine the necklace being worn. Don’t you want to walk around the necklace to follow one of the threaded lines? The connected shapes become headwear, a scarf, or maybe a hairdo puffed up for an evening outing.
Let’s have a conversation. If the threaded lines that make these varied shapes were filled in, how would the artwork change? Would it feel different? Maybe cumbersome? Or maybe the shapes would take on a cube-like form, it wouldn’t have a hairy feeling anymore or feel like it could be blown by the wind, which is the title of the sculptural necklace. Grab a paper and pencil, follow the lines in the artwork. Try not to pick up your pencil, making one or two continuous lines. Do your shapes resemble those in the necklace?
We looked at threaded lines that create shapes, and now let’s look at woven lines that build a screen, a wall of transparent texture. The artist used mixed media, fabric, and netting to create the artwork. She built up darker shapes that are masked by the netting fabric but look closely, there is an opening for the viewer to visually peer in. The artwork is titled Women of the Mills, do you think the women in the mills were making the netting used in this artwork? Maybe the materials are a symbol of their hard work. Either way, the artwork has a dark side, an ominous, gloomy feeling.
Let’s have a conversation about the darker shapes behind the screen. What do you think? The markings don’t look like figures, but maybe that’s what the artist was trying to portray, that the feeling is more important than a figural representation. Take a moment to write a few words that come to mind when looking at this work of art.
The stitched thread in this work is being used to make bean bag-looking creatures, hummmm, no they are bunnies or rabbits stacked on top of each other. Curled up, snug, tightly packed together. Do the rabbits look relaxed or sleeping or actually are they no longer living? There are words on the top rows of the rabbits. It’s a children’s rhyme. “Bye baby bunting, father’s gone a-hunting, to fetch, a little rabbit skin, to wrap, the baby bunting in.” It must have taken hours to stitch the nursery rhyme in a reddish thread on the sides of the rabbits. Why did the artist feel so strongly connected with the rhyme to use it in her artwork?
Let’s have a conversation about the rhyme. This nursery song first appeared in England in 1784. It was written a long time ago, babies needed to stay warm, rabbit skin was used to wrap the babies in to protect them from the cold. This sounds practical. But in our day and age, killing animals for a coat or a blanket is not acceptable, activists protest the killing of animals for their skins and for the use of testing products. Take a moment to sketch several of the rabbits in a row. Add your own words, a poem, or rhyme to redefine the meaning of the artwork.
Sewing materials and threads were common in this artist's family, his father was a tailor, he made men’s suits. On one particular visit home, the artist was raised in Slovakia, he asked his father to sew with him to make part of a jacket. They collaborated together but the father couldn’t understand why his son didn’t clean up and cover up the process of the construction, the sewing seems. Not only was the construction of the garment showing, but the artist also turned the pieces inside out, they are exhibited in reverse.
Let’s have a conversation. The artwork is titled Reverse which is like a right side. The more important side of the jacket is the inside, or maybe this is a metaphor for his father, the core of him is not the skin of the clothing but inside who he is. Look at your own clothes you are wearing, find a seem that is hidden. Take a closer look and sketch the detail of the folds, sewn edges, and threads holding it together.