It’s a pleasure to make work for friends. This new textile piece, is heading south soon to one of them. It’s called, Skimp Mantle. Skimp is a word my grandmother loved to use, it was part of her personal vocabulary of economy in her everyday life. Made of found lottery tickets, this piece continues a series based on rising above loss, or protecting one’s self from it. In the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, in the textile area there is a small raincoat made of woven fibers. Made in China, the brown, tough and stringy fibers of some plant are woven delicately and made to keep someone sheltered. A lovely piece made from the local environment, and what was at hand. I tried to make something similar.
This piece began over four years ago when I met Andrea Graham at Fiberart International 2011. She is a multi-media artist from Canada, and I was also in this show with her, which featured one of my lottery ticket suits. She sent me a box of Pocket Slot lottery tickets from Canada when I got home, and they sat in the box waiting for the right project.
I mainly make items of clothing, suits, boots, gloves…fanciful looking items that are meant to be transformative from the bad luck of the losing lottery tickets I normally find in my neighborhood in Rhode Island. These tickets were a different shape and have tabs. I couldn’t put my finger on what to make until recently. Then the Gladstone Hotel accepted my work and proposals for Hard Twist 10, an annual fiber arts show in this historic hotel in Toronto. I knew I had to make something with them, and after a visit to the Rhode Island School of Design Museum in Providence, RI, I had my idea.
They have a new section upstairs dedicated to textiles and clothing, and fabulous drawers you can open up and look at smaller items like gloves, and purses up close in storage. A video monitor nearby can be touched and give one more details about the items in each case. Right now, there are several drawers filled with amazing fans of all kinds. Fans have always fascinated me. Besides being a useful item to fold up into a purse, there are more elaborate ones of feathers, beads, denoting ritual of secrecy, spiritual connotations or privacy. Maybe much more. So much to say with such a small item.
A lot of my work centers around luck; wishing for luck, wanting more luck, transforming circumstances. I thought back to a show I saw as a student in St. Louis. It was at a nearby community center in my neighborhood, and it was one of Nick Cave’s first shows as he was becoming a well-known artist. He had created these ritualistic looking objects from household items and tool; referencing his relatives who were hairdressers. I can’t remember all of the connotations of the work, but I remember the intimacy of the object; the care in which they were made.
I’ve been wanting to make similar items with the lottery tickets but related to my central themes of wanting something better, fanning the flames of luck so to speak. Rain Maker is one of the first of these items. It is a two-sided piece with a handle wrapped in dental floss. The central core is cardboard and felt, with the lottery tickets sewn onto it. A fringe of betting slips rings the perimeter. It feels good in the hand and makes a lovely sound with touch.
What a nice show to be in! Please go look at the work from across the country, related to nature in one way or another. My Icarus is part of the stellar group. Open from now until April 5, 2015. More here.