“Hand Tied” is a project proposal that I am working on, to send to the Kohler Arts Center for their artist residency. This piece includes ideas I have used since the beginning of my MFA studies exploring hand knitting and building a physical connection between individuals through touch and textiles.
In many ways this piece connects with the project that I am trying to develop with Pate Conaway. His process involves hand “weaving”, which is actually closer to a style of crochet. This allows for him to connect his body physically to his work and the materials he uses (typically found or recycled objects). The performative aspects of his work are closely tied with his first moments of learning to crochet, and the pleasure he receives from sharing his work with others. In some ways his work evokes the ideas of legacy, community driven art, and the craft circle.
My own work is heavily inspired by my desires to educate and share process with individuals. I want others to have the opportunity to physically connect themselves with my art and my process through their own hands.
Above: Example of early hand knit project.
Photo: Example of knitting loom, which uses the same process as finger knitting, but with a stationary object.
Above: Photograph of practice molds I made using alginate to create a stationary object to interact with while performing “Hand Tied”.
Below is the description used for the proposal for Kohler’s Residency:
The intention of “Hand Tied” is to manufacture functional knitting looms, which would be comprised of dozens of hands. These interactive metal sculptures would then be placed in various locations where audience members could participate with them through performance related activities using fibrous elements.
Throughout my stay at Kohler Arts Center I will construct several metal knitting looms out of hand molds. I will create performative instructions for audience members to follow as they interact physically with the looms using fibrous materials such as yarn. The kinesthetics of the loom will create an opportunity for open dialogue and a collaborate experience for individuals to relate on a social level of interplay between audience, artist, and model.
During my residency at Kohler Arts Center I would require the tools, location, and assistance to do the following: • Create hand molds of various individuals (use of alginate preferred)
• Construct molds and casts to recreate the hand molds out of metal using the foundry
• Build base structures for the hands to attach to in the shape of knitting looms
• Design instructions for performances that interact with the sculptures
• Arrange sculptures in public spaces or on display in areas for individuals to interact with]
Above: Sketch of two different ideas for “Hand Tied” manufacturing process.
Below: Stills taken from video footage of performance with sculpture pieces.
Through this piece I would like to explore social interactions between individuals, and the process of learning and transferring information through hands and body language. Additionally I am interested in the metaphor of string, how it can represent the “life” and essence of an individual, and how it can be a thread that ties individuals together.
I chose the name “Hand Tied” because I think there is something to be said for the negative aspects of linking ourselves to one another. When connections become too sloppy, or to numerous, we can begin to lose ourselves and our control. Each connection that can be made through the performances with “Hand Tied” begin to take their toll on the sculpture, its identity, and its freedom. I want to explore the duality of human connections and binds through the creation and performance of “Hand Tied”.