By Brit Davis
Fiber is tactile and industrious, but when used as an act of creative expression it can be soothing and meditative.
Judith Scott discovered the freedom and joys that working with fiber can provide. In 1943, Judith Scott was born as a fraternal twin in Cincinnati, Ohio, profoundly deaf, mute, and with Down Syndrome. Her twin sister did not exhibit signs of having any developmental disabilities. Judith spent the first 7 years of her life at home before being institutionalized at the Columbus State Institution. Her family described the institution as dark and overcrowded with children lying on the floor. Her sister claims that one day some kids were drawing and Judith showed interest in participating; however, the staff at the institution believed she was “too retarded” to draw. Judith left the room in tears, her sister explained. After spending 35 years at the Columbus State Institution, Judith’s sister became her legal guardian and she moved to California. She began attending the Creative Growth Center in Oakland, California, which provides access for people with mental and developmental disabilities to the tools needed for total artistic freedom. In time, Judith discovered her ability to create extraordinary works of fiber art and today she is known as an internationally renowned American fiber artist. Judith died of natural causes at age 61, outliving her life expectancy at birth by nearly fifty years.
In January, I had the opportunity to view Judith Scott’s exhibition, “Bound and Unbound,” at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art inside the Brooklyn Museum. When I walked into the exhibition space, the room was quiet, yet full of so many people admiring and studying the shapes that were presented before us. The room was filled with sculptures of all sizes that were entangled with materials such as yarn, plastic, wire, ribbon, wood, or paper towels. Each piece was wrapped so intently that you could almost see the layers of her story, confining, yet free and wild with objects hidden inside.
As an artist who works with intellectually and developmentally disabled individuals, to see the work of Judith Scott was beyond impactful. Observing her art caused me to contemplate my own creative process, as well as how I can utilize her artistry to influence the lives of the individuals with whom I work.
*Brit Davis is an artist and direct care worker living in Swannanoa, NC. She is working on her Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Expressive Arts Therapy through a low-residency program at Goddard College in Plainfield, VT. Over time, Brit’s art has become more psychological in nature. She currently is working on a series of photographs that explore the notions of emotional comfort. If you would like to participate in this project, you may contact Brit at britdavisphoto[at]gmail[dot]com.
As a photographer, I have seen a lot of cameras. As a woman, I have seen a lot of bras. I have never seen a camera made out of a bra, however, and I wonder what the implications might be. What kind of photographs does one take with a pinhole bra camera? I need to know.
Visit The Light Factory, and check out Pinky/MM Bass’ exhibition, “Corporeal Veils Unravelled”. This exhibit is a stunning delight of diversity, presenting to the viewer an array of visceral themes to study and unravel.
Finely embroidered prints, illustrating systems of the body, are enclosed in sterile stainless steel and plexi-glass frames that jut out of the wall (themes of physicality). Beautifully messy, large pinhole photographs are stuck up with thumbtacks (womanhood, religion). Strangely embroidered capes, are trailing little balls of yarn… but wait, they aren’t little balls of yarn, they’re little embryos made of yarn (motherhood). On the wall next to these embroidered objects, dreams are scrawled on the photograph itself, once more, big and messy; the images are full of mystery and anxiety. And these are just the images found on the wall. A stash of handmade pinhole cameras are piled on a table in the middle of the room. Among the many objects that have been constructed into pinhole cameras are: a lipstick tube, a beaded evening purse, a jewelry box, a Bible, and yes, a bra. Is this for real? Look for the little flap and the hole underneath it. These camera conversions would make any Inspector Gadget a little jealous. There is more. In a corner sit two old land cameras, a wooden guitar on a stand, and a decrepit model-form wearing a black evening coat. All these objects spew reams of photographs with holes punched in them, and look to be waiting, connected by sewing machine foot pedals. These are Pinky Bass’ “Photographic Music Boxes”. Can I step on the peddle? Do they play real music? I must find out.
In the gallery room next to Pinky’s work, is Doug Baulous’ exhibit titled, “Bright Filament/Dark Effigy”. A roomful of photographic based installation works to ponder, Baulous’ work is multilayered and expansive. Created with bound books, collage, ceramic birds, religious motifs, and found objects, Baulous’ works are worth close inspection. Latent with meanings to unfold, they quietly invite the viewer into a secret world.
Please don’t miss this show. Be sure to visit during the week, when you can meditate on what you are seeing. Come back soon to Fab Oversight for an interview with Pinky Bass!
Contact The Light Factory for open hours, and more informations: (704) 333-9755, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Reception happens soon, with a talk from the artists:
*All images are copyright the artists.
Here’s a chicken sitting in a sled and that can only mean one thing: Christmas Art Sale at Flaming Chicken! Sunday, December 21st, 12pm-5pm (4927 Silabert Ave., Suite B, Charlotte, NC 28205). Look here at some of the works that will be on sale, and then a make an art-to-buy list, check it twice, and then spend more money than you were planning to! Because these items are gonna be worth it!
Cyanotype print bags by Art Badger aka John Dearing!
A Flaming Chicken (or is that a rooster?) print by Troy Tomlinson!
Still prints from films by Adam Doenias!
Photogravure prints (framed or unframed) by Laurie Schorr!
The Fat Face Band are the 107th cool thing to exist in Charlotte’s 250 year history. A lovely 3 piece with NO drums: tuba, guitar n’effects and trumpet + a bit of melodica is the layout and the drift from a modern glacial to down home jam is dexterous without said drums. St James Infirmary can be played with the proper spirit, then a swooning dirge can take you to a melodramatic moment in a silent film; relaxed musicians always charm. In addition, tubist Molly Brown runs a Star Trek radio show on Plaza Midwood radio that is top notch. Qu’y at-il à dire?
“My origins from the deep south have instilled in me a morbid sense of humor, empathy for the downtrodden, and great taste in Barbeque.”
This is Danny Martin, y’all.
From Alabama, but now in Arizona, if live in Tucson, then you already know him. His newest project “Tucson Sketchbook Project” is pretty fantastic, with beautiful drawings of Tucson landmarks and interesting buildings, some of which are no longer around. We need someone to do this for Charlotte, please!
If you’re not from Tucson, then you should see for yourself what he’s all about anyway, because who doesn’t like zombies and skulls? And because his artworks are pretty great. Some favorites of mine include this print (of which you can also purchase as a t-shirt), “Hipster Death”:
*all images copyright Danny Martin.
If you know what a selfie is, then come to our art show and find out what a selfie is not. More than an impulsive snapshot, Charlotte artists turn the mirror around in the ancient tradition of self portraiture. Seeking an examination of the self that we are, faces and identities are revealed… or are we merely inventing a new fiction, another mask?
…I made some new self portraits, just for you. But what’s even more exciting than that, is all the other artists who have made self portraits for this show! Seventeen other artist! All local and making artworks here in Charlotte. We have several artists who have been featured right here on Fab Oversight, such as Jill Martin, Gregory Banks, Laurie Schorr, and Troy Tomlinson. The
Opening Reception is Tonight! Don’t miss it!
thursday, october 23rd, 5-8pm
525 n. tryon (@ 9th st)
Here’s a sneak peek!
drawing, painting, photography, multimedia works by:
Ellis Graham Busch
Interviewed by Molly Wilbanks
You can shop at the Mall and find a pretty beaded necklace, made who-knows-where, that you later see everyone else wearing, or you can shop at Agate & Elm and find a sculptural Fibonacci necklace, crafted here in your own city, and be seen wearing a unique and special piece of jewelry. Amy Wyckoff is the creator and crafter behind the jewelry of Agate & Elm. You can find her wearable works at The Bechtler Museum gift shop, The Frock Shop, and Ecolicious, in Plaza-Midwood, as well as at her Etsy shop online. It was a perfectly pretty day last week, when I came to visit Amy in her brand new studio.
Molly Wilbanks: How long have you been making jewelry?
Amy Wyckoff: I’ve been making jewelry for three years. I started by taking a class at John C. Campbell Folk School, in the North Carolina mountains. It was Beginning Jewelry. Since then, I have been teaching myself.
MW: What was the very first piece that you made?
AW: I made a sterling silver charm bracelet. It was my first time using a torch which was really scary, but really fun. Each link was soldered, and to this day, it is still one of my favorite things to do – to fabricate my own chains.
MW: What first inspired you to take this class?
AW: For a long time, I was making all kinds of various types of art. I was doing a little fiber art, drawing, lots of hands on things, creating 3D objects, but I never found a craft that I felt I was really good at, or that I could pursue long term. I dabbled around, until I thought ‘well, I really like jewelry, I’ll try this.’ It was the right thing for me.
MW: What continues to inspire you now?
AW: I am mostly inspired by experimenting with metal. A lot of times I don’t start with an idea in mind, but I just kind of play, and since I’m self taught, I see what I am able to create with the techniques that I have. Experimenting is what inspires me to create new pieces. Also, the nature around me, and natural textures.
MW: What is your favorite material to work with?
AW: I work mostly with sterling silver. I do like mixed metals, brass and copper. I really like natural stones, so I try to incorporate those into my work also, turqouise, agate, and jasper.
MW: Do you have certain motifs that you use a lot in your work?
AW: I do a lot with the Fibonacci spiral, and I love that because it has the negative space to it. I sculpt it with metal, and you can see through the piece. That shape really appeals to a lot of people. That has been one of my top sellers. Other than that I use a lot of geometric, and round shapes. In my work, I experiment with hammered patterns. I appreciate handmade work where the artist’s mark is really clear. Hand hammered textures have this effect.
MW: How did the name “Agate and Elm” come about?
AW: A lot of people can’t pronounce my last name! I get all kinds of strange pronunciations. I came up with that name because I was using a lot of textures, and I wanted something natural, that incorporated a stone. When I created the name I was working a lot with agate.
MW: I like the name, it is very fitting for your style.
MW: Are you able to make a living from your jewelry sales?
AW: I actually work full time as a teen services librarian, so I don’t have the pressure to make this my full time job. There are a lot of days I wish I had more hours to work in the studio, but I also really like my job at the library. I am lucky that I have two careers that I really enjoy. I probably work in the studio about 20 hours a week. It depends on the time of the year too; around the holidays I spend more time in here. It also depends on what I want to pursue that week… I can fill orders for the week, or I just can spend time in here, experimenting.
MW: Do you see any relation between being a librarian and making jewelry?
AW: Yes. I spend my days researching, and I get a lot of inspiration from that, from what’s in the library, and from what I find online, especially old books. For a while I was doing etching, using old drawings, and illustrations. I was hand drawing my pictures, but looking at those images for inspiration. The library is an inspiring place for me, from looking at books on nature, to researching mushrooms, for example. I also have a lot of freedom and creativity at work, in a different way than in the studio. At the library, we have a lot of freedom to try things and fail, sometimes, but to learn from those mistakes.
by Ross Wilbanks
Ghost Trees is stuck with being germinal here in Charlotte, NC. Who else is playing the out-sound jazz? Modest when approached, hell, the drummer Seth Nanaa, says he prefers Jawbreaker.
“So why do you play what you play?” I ask.
” ’cause it’s the most fun.”
There you go. So take ‘em that way.
My first image listening to their second record, The New Gravity, is the calm of a spring snow. Perhaps I’m taking their burning-scattering powers as a duo for granted, but what sticks out to me is the strings, laced in the record by Ben Kennedy. Harmonically, they almost sound like a synthesizer. These sounds play throughout the record and seem to offer the listener a push, a gravity, when the ear is locked in hypnosis. It’s a nice touch.
Plus, the clear vinyl design. Check these grooves!
*Ghost Trees will be playing this Wednesday at Snug Harbor, along with many talented friends. Here’s your chance…
by Ross Wilbanks
I don’t know anything about the associates of the band The Mineral Girls. I just introduced myself to Brett Green the other day praising Something Forever, their first full length album, recorded over 2 years. It has the best pop-hooks within the smoothest lo-fi sound of any band around here. It takes me back to 1993, lovingly.
They are playing this Wednesday at Snug Harbor with a plateful of other interesting acts.
Definitely see this band.
The only time I’ve seen them live, a few weeks back, the bassist had the prettiest powder-blue bass, the drummer stuck the tambourine on the bass drum, and Brett was playing what looked like a pretty cheap guitar with confidence. All that spells a quiet ingenuity that I don’t see too often.
by Ross Wilbanks
By way of short introduction, Bo White’s music over the past 5 years has bloomed into a variety of ensembles. His last 3 albums: Same Deal/New Patrons, Adornment, and now Millennial Tombs run the gamut from a 9-piece ensemble with horns and strings, to a stripped down guitar and drum-machine ditties. To talk about Bo’s music would to take awhile and so today I thought I would just focus on his lyrics, something he takes very seriously. Lyrics are often an afterthought in pop music today, disposable at best, often they are terrible and should be forgotten, but Bo’s latest album, Millennial Tombs, struck a chord with me after I read them over. You can check them out here: http://bowhite1.bandcamp.com/album/millennial-tombs.
It looks like Bo has abbreviated the album. I had focused on the full 11 track album so some of the lyrics reprinted here are no longer available on his bandcamp site. So, buy the album.
Perhaps my favorite of all Bo’s lyrics, mainly because they can be read by themselves without any musical-help. Read these lines out loud and hear all the rhyming ‘i’s':
‘The doldrums grind. The drones all follow single mindedly.
Lost in these depths alone, craving light.
Just one more night, could be the death of you.
It’s within your power. Lo the golden hour.
Shun the crowd who would hesitate.
It’s a daunting climb but no better time,
Nothing binding your fate.
Who knows their plans? The granite cold in greedy hands.
Now tombstones are obsolete, working stiffs.
Just one more shift, could be the death of you.’
The song to follow, seems just the opposite: perfectly molded phrases to fit the catchiest song of the album.
‘Fearless as a new born pup
Urging everyone to get messed up
Finding random fools to fill your cup
For the personal riot’
..and the chorus:
‘This could be your matinee’
…deemed officially catchy by the echo of my 3 1/2 year old bopping around in the house.
Patient and Walls of Health have the courage to carry the emotion clearly, lines like, ‘At least I’ve got the people I care about’ and ‘The walls of health came tumbling down, something no one should see.’ Bo avoids the cryptic. You are free to assume the personal expression in both of these songs, something rare in the underground music culture, perhaps because it is so gaudy in many mainstream cultural products on TV.
A couple of side notes to songs no longer posted on the bandcamp site: The chorus of Not Jamaican being a difference of one letter:
‘It’s not Jamaican
It’s not Jamaica’
As a quip too, it’s not bad.
Bo also keeps the grand tradition of re-titling classics. In this case Only the Lonely becomes Only the Lonely 2 complete with a re-imagining of meanings in Roy Orbison’s song:
‘Spying on neighbors is nothing to savor
luckier the could not be
Now he’s greeting the misses with hugging and kisses
When only the lonely want me’