Title

Love Labors

Date of Award

May 2021

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Department

Visual Arts

Committee Member

David Detrich

Committee Member

Beth Lauritis

Committee Member

Anderson Wrangle

Abstract

Quilting-making carries associations of domestic and traditionally feminine labor and an intersection of art and life that lends itself to the layering of perspectives. It is an art form that is greater than the sum of its parts. The tactility of the quilt extends a metaphoric engagement centered on our sense of touch, how we are touched by nature and how we touch it. The quilts in this body of work draw upon deliberately slow and sensual processes of construction that employ physical and visual texture, expansive ranges of color usage, photographic image, stitched lines, and pattern to describe encounters with nature I have experienced over the past year. Those experiences range from relocating to my family’s farm due to the coronavirus pandemic, tending to a garden, walking through the forest, and raising silkworms. Combining historical photographic contact printing processes with textiles, I expose images onto cloth and further illuminate them with embroidery thread applications. I also gather and cultivate natural materials for dyes that likewise index the local landscape. These photographic images along with the sourcing of dye materials position the pieces within the environments they represent. Some works contain organic elements that will inevitably decay or are already decaying. This inclusion replicates the fragile and ever-changing state of the environment as well as the beauty of natural cycles. Direct contact with nature drives my artistic process but also describes a human need that is ever increasing in the digital age. Increasing mindful contact with the natural world, through whatever means available, leads to the realization that we are part of nature and not apart from it. Understanding this will hopefully lead to more sustainable practice, and a gentler touch, as we consider our role as stewards of the earth.

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