I started this blog post several weeks ago about a project I’m doing in response to the pandemic, but that was before California caught on fire and we had to evacuate. Back home again, I’m also back to this project, so it’s a good time to finish the post too…
Here we are in the throes of a global pandemic, and what’s an artist to do? I started the pandemic by sewing masks—hundreds of cotton masks—for family and friends, of course, but also for essential workers and underserved communities. It’s satisfying to do something that contributes to community health. Here are some of the (1500+!) masks I’ve made.
Returning to my studio after the shelter-in-place, I rediscovered a project that I’d begun just before the pandemic hit. I had cut up a large painting from years ago, intending to reconfigure it onto flat panels. But after all that mask-making, I now saw fabric instead of canvas. The pieces were the right form-factor for masks, ignoring the size of course.
Here’s the original painting from 2013, and then the same painting after I had cut it into pieces.
So I started pleating and tried many different ways to modify and reassemble the pieces. My typical process is often lengthy, with plenty of trial-and-error, but this project is really taking a long time. Like a painting, every little change affects the entire assembled piece and requires revisions elsewhere. Anyway, we’re on covid-time now, so I just try to be patient and let the process play out.
Here are some photos from this process, but it’s not finished yet. The steel edging will most likely have a rust-patina finish, so imagine the color change from the raw steel. You check back into this blog for further updates and hopefully some photos of the entire piece, soon, I hope!
What a great allegory as we fold in on ourselves during this time of isolation and introspection. I look forward to seeing the finished piece.
Precisely, Kelly. I think you hit the nail on the head!
Always in awe of your work and so telling in these times! Love this idea!
Thank you Annette! This piece also has a lot of personal meaning for me due to these strange times we’re living in. It’ll be interesting to see it all finished.
I am so glad that you are sharing all of this.