By Katy Daiber
First year fine arts students at CCAD just finished their installations. First, they were assigned to collect a lot of what they loved. The items could be old, new, manufactured, handmade, edible, large, small, soft, hard, common, rare, etc. Many students turned to nature, grocery stores, and thrift shops to search for their collection.
The students later found out that they were to make conceptual installations, functional designs, or sculptures using only their collectibles (and helper tools like string and glue). The goal was to take their objects out of their regular context. Some even pushed their installations far enough that their collectables became unrecognizable.
Professor Brittany Campbell told them, "Now you must examine the possibilities of how this object can take on different forms/functions when used repetitively. This project is meant to exercise the essential skill of being able to work in a way that is responsive and intuitive. You may alter your items as much or as little as you would like, but do not change your item.
After working in the studio for two weeks, students spent a class critiquing each other's work. The critique discussions were centered around these questions.
How does your project "shift the ordinary"?
Does your project show a strong investigation of materials, risk-taking, and creativity?
Is there a high level of craftsmanship being displayed?
Does your material have a relationship to your concept?
These fine art majors also wrote an artist statement about their work. Their statements explored what they collected and why, how their choice of materials related to their concept, their research of other artists and techniques, and the process and material tests of their projects.
As a fine arts freshman, I also created an installation. I collected a ton of buttons and pins. My original idea was to manipulate white fabric, hang it by the ceiling and dangle the buttons and pins from threads. But as a started unraveling and stitching the cloth, my professor told me that she thought it was beautiful the way it was, and to collect more curtains. I agreed with her that the buttons and pins would probably be too much. So I explored thrift stores and found more fabric. I began manipulating them, by cutting, ripping, taking seams out, stitching together, pleating, and pulling threads free. Some pieces that I spent a lot of time on, were actually thrown out of the installation. For example, I worked for three days, destroying a towel, but then decided that it was too heavy compared to the curtain and sheet.
Then, I hung them from the wall, and continued to work on making the two fiber installations become one. Lastly, I added a little bit of red thread to contrast against the white. It symbolizes blood, pain, and anxiety; whereas, the manipulated white fabric speaks of loss of innocence and sexual assault. This was a therapeutic process for me, the unraveling of taking out seam after seam and thread after thread. The end result was beautiful and elegant even though it was made out of something unwanted and destroyed.
Katy Daiber is a freshman dual majoring in Fine Arts and Illustration, a first degree black belt, teaches art classes for SMAC, and loves nature, 60's folk music, and posting her artwork on Instagram.