Saturday, April 4, 2009

Water Tapestry

Back to the drawing board for the Sub Zero festival concept with some new ideas for the water themed banners. I am dropping the actual water usage in the tapestry as it is too wasteful a design. Here is the Sub Zero site:

There are many artists using plastic grocery bags to weave with. Helle Jorgensen is a wonderful example. Here is her work:

Visitor component:
The creation of a variety of simple diatom shapes ( unicellular organisms found in water) out of recycled plastic bags and wire. The diatom shapes would work with the theme of water as these algae bloom when water ways are clogged with trash.

Diatom photo above from

I created a water themed kimono for Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Santa Clara a few years back that included diatom elements. You can see them here in this
work in progress shot. They are the yellow wire elements.
step by step:
1. Visitor is given a piece of paper with a the outline of a diatom on it and some wire. Information about diatoms and trash in local creeks and The Bay could be on this sheet. It would also be nice to include information on organizations that do the trash clean ups in the creeks and Bay such as Friends of Coyote Creek and perhaps Friends of Guadalupe Park & Gardens.
2. Visitor shapes the wire to the diatom outline.
3. Visitor is given strips of plastic bags to weave in and out of the wire form.
4. Completed woven diatom is added to the tapestry by hanging it from an earring hook.

Completed Diatom form above.
I would create three or four different diatom templates for people to wo
rk with. I realize that most grocery bags are white. I hope to be able to collect a variety of colors despite this fact.

Also, I knew there had to be diatom craft projects for children on the web. Here is one I found.

Standing tapestry above or hanging banners below.

I am thinking of a fabricator in the East Bay for the large tapestry frame. But it would certainly be cheaper to have the tapestry suspended from a pole that hangs from the street lights. I will have to go look and see what support structures may be used outside the Quilt Museum. If I am able to hang these as banners, then perhaps 2 or three can be made and staggered along the path of pedestrians.

The base tapestry (The dark blue areas in the first digital sketch above) would be created by stitching together bits of fabric and mesh donated to me by Walker Bag. I would also perhaps use plastic bags and iron them together in the style of Virginia Fleck. Her work is very inspiring, too.

This abstract background pattern would echo an ariel view of the Bay and waterways. Here is the image I used for reference in my top tapestry sketch above. This image is from this site:

I love this quilt like image on the Hidden Ecologies website.The poster are images from the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project.

I still would like to have illuminated elements at night. This would be appropriate as diatoms appear to glow.

Pulling elements from the tapestry to create a garment for a dancer would be really interesting and dramatic. I envision the hat (see previous blog) to be a giant glowing diatom pulled from the tapestry. The garment worn would include the recycled plastic bag diatoms from the tapestry and, man, I still envision the recycled baggie fully of water in the garment being smashed by the butoh dancer as she moves to music concrete (water recorded sounds from local creeks and Bay). Perhaps an exercise in brainstorming here, but I hope can somehow have this come to life at some point, either for this project or another.

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