Due to COVID-19, art exhibits that I was a part of were postponed and art supplies could be challenging to get a hold of. I, like many artists, questioned how art could be helpful during this global event. I began to consider the reasons why I exhibit my work – which is often installation based- and the benefits to creative projects during a time of crisis. Through this inquiry, I kept coming back to the relationship between art and one’s community and the unique act of communicating with others through creative acts. With art galleries and museums closed and much art being only available mediated by a screen, I began transforming my porch and front lawn with a fibre art sculpture to connect with my neighbours and community.
Using embroidery thread from my own art supply reserve, I began creating a home-based installation working in the historical context of other installations artists who have used a home as the install site (re: Merzbau by Kurt Schwitters or Womanhouse by Judy Chicago and Miriam Shapiro). Over the course of four weeks in May/June, the laborious and repetitive process of working with fibre arts in this way allowed me to chat with people walking by, engage in conversations about art and life with the neighbour’s children, and watch my own kids playing in the driveway. The response has been awesome! Unexpected and nostalgic, the installation grows from the ground near the sidewalk reaching out to my porch like lines of energy mapping the space between each other; between ground and sky. Moving gently with the wind, the fibre vertically extends up to the ceiling of the porch as flexible bars both protecting my home space and drawing attention to the architecture.
The installation is not permanent – it will face the entropy of nature. Yet, it offers a moment to consider something different than heartache and restriction, and hopefully inspires others to keep making art and connecting with their community.