At the residency, I continued to work with tyvek, a high density synthetic
developed by DuPont in 1955—a 'barrier' material which covers, protects,
resists & stands up to elements, penetrated only through cutting. Inspired
by volcanoes of the Icelandic landscape, I shifted to another process—burning
and discovered that fire doesn't penetrate tyvek; it melts and shapes it.
[video width="202" height="360" m4v="http://www.brookeholve.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/cuts-make-you.-burns-too-Wi-Fi.m4v"][/video]
Back to Iceland:
Several years ago on my last trip to IcelandI purchased several kinds of tanned
fish skins including lax (salmon), wolfskin and cod. In New Zealand I purchased
possum skins — all covering materials for my constructions. But as things happen,
these materials took me to a deeper place; they became more than visual textures
from a country. I researched and also found language and stories about the skins.
The fish skins still hang on a line in my studio waiting for a place in my work, serving
as a memory of Iceland and now an inspiration for making my own skins here at the
residency with art materials —fluid acrylics. A few samples are displayed below.
While making them, I started gathering Icelandic & English idioms aboutskins and
in the process found a way to learn about the Icelandic people. Language has
become a skin that captures the character, history and cultural practices of a people.
About the Fish Skins:
I purchased the fish skins at the factory inSandarkrokur that processes up to
200,000 fish skins per year. Once tanned, the skins fromsalmon, wolffish, cod
and perch become strong, durable, thin and pliable — a flexible material to
Fish skins were used in Iceland for centuries, mainly by those who couldn’t
afford lamb leather. The untanned skin was considered poorer quality because
it was brittle and disintegrated easily. People would measure distance over a
mountain by counting how many pairs of fish skin shoes you would wear walking
Modern tanning techniques take advantage of fish skin’s unique microscopic
crosshatched pattern. When tanned, it’s stronger than most skin you can get, 10
times stronger than lamb leather of the same thickness.
Icelandic Fish/Skin Idioms: (literal translation and meaning)
pikkur á honum skrápurinn - tough skin; one can endure much
tröfaldur i rođinu - double in your skin; a shady character, two-faced
In English, we might say, "to talk out of both sides of your mouth"
which means you say one thing and mean another and implies
what you say is untruthful and contradictory.
rúginn ađ skinni - only the skin left; money or something lost
In English, we might say "only the shirt on one's back"
vera i ham - to be in a skin; energetically working with a focus
húđlafur - skin lazy; slept in bed all of the time in cow skins
skinniđ mitt - my skin; term of endearment to a child, my little darling
eigi einhamr - not of one skin, or shape
Ađ fara hamförum - to move from one shape to another, to
shape-shift, meaning to go beserk
Researching Icelandic idioms made me think of our own
expressions using skin as an image.
A few below:
by the skin of your teeth no skin in the game get the skinny
more than one way to skin a cat skinny dipping
And then there are other kinds of skins, this one from a resident here at Gullkistan.
more skins in Reykjavik:
I have been invited to teach a workshop at the Pyramid Atlantic Art Center outside of Washington DC this summer. The description of the workshop is online under "book arts" and you can enroll by visiting:
More about the class:
Explorations with Urauchi
a Japanese method of backing paper to cloth and/or paper
August 8 & 9, 10am-4pm
Urauchi is a procedure of pasting a paper backing onto cloth or paper using only natural fibers. Traditionally, this method was used to mount Asian scrolls and cover books. Once backed, cloth and paper have more body and strength and are much easier to manipulate. The backing also provides a protective layer and prevents glue from staining the cloth when covering books.
In this workshop, participants will learn the simple procedure. However, the focus of the workshop will be experimental and hands-on, exploring it as an art medium. On day one, a variety of materials will be sampled, treatments tried, and materials sandwiched between. On day two, participants will make a sampler book with their experiments.
Recently I applied and was accepted to Haystack's Open Studio Residency. Haystack Mountain School of Crafts is an international craft school located on the Atlantic Ocean in Deer Isle, Maine. The school offers intensive studio-based workshops in a variety of craft media. The Open Studio Residency, now in its second year, provides two weeks of uninterrupted time to work in six studios (ceramics, fiber, graphics, iron, jewelry, and wood) to develop ideas and experiment in various media. The program accommodates approximately fifty participants from a variety of creative disciplines. Participants can choose to work in one particular studio or move among studios depending on the nature of their work. All of the studios will be staffed by technicians who can assist with projects. Haystack's fab lab will also be open, providing an opportunity for experimentation with digital fabrication as a way to augment and complement creative practices. This new artist studio, established in 2011 in collaboration with MIT Center for Bits and Atoms, offers another way of looking at craft in a broader context. I will travel to Maine for the residency that runs from May 25th through June 6th. While there I intend to continue my exploration of "cutting" as theme and process as it relates to material and form. I intend to rotate among studios, observing and collecting sensory data from each of the crafts. My question is how I can translate this data into new ways of seeing, using the new media in the fab lab. I don't pretend to know the possibilities but am curious to explore other ways of finding forms that are referential to its making.
In Material: E-Book
The last few shows that I have posted have come about due to work that I created for the In Material exhibit at Quicksilver Mine Co in Forestville, California last year. The exhibit featured my work and the work of two other artists, Susan Field and Elizabeth Sher. We explored materiality through various materials and mediums including stones, book remnants, digital technology and algae. The e-book documents the exhibit. Take a look.
You can also find a review of this exhibit on the blog of Satri Pencak, an independent curator in Sonoma County.
In Material blurb book