I finally got the last stitches done on my new fabric sculpture, Shared Vision: Blind Goddess and her Seeing-Eye Dragon. I’ve named the goddess Iris, and the dragon Aurora.
I have embroidered the name of the piece and the characters in French-knots in braille on a grid that I downloaded from a braille translation site. It taught me a lot about the complexity of braille. I don’t know if my knots will be legible, but I like the design nonetheless.
It’s been a very challenging piece and I got to learn more about structure, armatures and the nature of cloth. Cloth is very versatile medium, but it does have a mind of it’s own.
I had originally planned to do Iris in all white with scraps of textured white fabric and knittings I had done, but they didn’t hang well together and the whites clashed. The bright whites muddied the creamy whites. I tried a dress I’d hand knitted for another piece I’d plan to make in the near future and Iris loved it. She also wanted a kimono made of gorgeous but fussy burn-out velvet. I think the results are pretty nice.
My pieces are hard to photograph. Iris’s eyes are made of prism beads and I painted the skin with a iridescent pearl paint. She has a soft glow that can be seen better in person. I took these photos outside for the best light but I think you’ll get the full impact if you come to see it at A Somewhat Secret Place: Disability and Art, a group show at PRESENTspace gallery from July 9th until July 30th.
I tried to give Aurora both dragon and dog characteristics. I hope the mood of this piece captures the symbiotic relationship between people and animals. Guide animals have a warm powerful energy that exists in relation to the power of their owners. I wish we were all schooled in this way of relating to each other and the world around us.
I’m putting together a story about this idea and this piece for the closing day of A Somewhat Secret Place, which I will present at the gallery on July 30th from noon til 2 p.m.
I will also be showing another, smaller fabric sculpture, the Survivor, and a fabric wallhanging called Not Out of the Woods Yet. There will be 28 artists, both regional and national, represented. The opening on July 9th will feature literature and performance art. It’s everything from the edge to the illuminating — and everyone will enter through the side entrance where the ramp is installed.
Here’s a list of all the events that will take place during this month long event. All the events will take place at PRESENTspace, 939 NW 10th Avenue, Portland, Oregon.
The Somewhat Secret Place Calendar of Events
July 6, 6 pm – A Somewhat Secret Place Post Hanging Party: A Preview for Donors:
Invitations to this event will go to all those who have donated $50 or more to the show through Kickstarter or the OWCA. It’s a chance to meet the artists and curator and purchase artwork in advance of the public. Tickets are still available – contact firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’re reading this before July 2nd, you can still make a donation to the Kickstarter campaign which we’re having to raise money for rent and artists’ stipends and other expenses. A $50. or over donation will get an invitation to this pre-opening private event. Please click this link to find out more:
July 7, 6 pm – A Somewhat Secret Place First Thursday Public Pre-Opening
Artist Carmen Papalia will give a talk from 6 to 6:30 and then the show will be open for those on the First Thursday Art-walk to have a peek. A free event!
July 9 – A Somewhat Secret Place Grand Opening
Noon – 2 pm – The Grand Opening starts off with a participatory workshop facilitated by Write Around Portland, where participants can find inspiration in the intersection of contemporary art and disability. A free event but limited to 80 people.
6 – 9 pm – Grand Opening Night Reception features one-time, original performing artists and author readings. American Sign Language Interpreters will be there as well as descriptors for the visually impaired. It promises to be the most accessible and hippest art opening in Portland history. A free event with refreshments!
July 14, 6 – 6:30 pm – Artist Talk with Andrea Rosselle, installation artist and sculptor, whose work explores the imposition of the medical object, and experience as a medical body, upon the act of every day living. A free event!
July 21, 5 – 6 pm – Artist Talk with Eric Ferguson: “A Wobbly Line: from Improv to Ink and Back Again.” A free event!
July 26, 7 – 9 pm – ADA 21ST BIRTHDAY PARTY! The Americans with Disabilities Act turns 21 and we are throwing a celebration to mark it. There will be a panel discussion on its impact, then the birthday bash with cake and drinks. This is a ticketed event. Invitations are sent to Kickstarter donors, and at the door tickets are $21 for 2. For discount tickets, check out A Somewhat Secret Place Facebook Event page.
July 30, 12 -2 pm – Artist Talk and storytelling with Joy Corcoran to engage children of all ages to explore the creative lives of people with disabilities. Children must be chaperoned. A free event!
July 30, 6-9 pm A Somewhat Secret Place Closing Party:
A performance by Elie Charpentier and several author readings will celebrate the conclusion of the exhibition. The after-party will be a great opportunity to mingle with the artists, writers and organizers. A free event with free refreshments!
I hope to see you at one of the events!