600,000 pennies from 2005
2,000 cow bones
800 communion wafers
Mission/missions(how to build a cathedral) by Cildo Meireles.
600,000 pennies from 2005
2,000 cow bones
800 communion wafers
This exhibit is a commentary on the conversion of the native people of Columbia to Catholicism by white missionaries and whether it is done for money or love.
A painting by Ellsworth Kelly in the modern art section of the major Austin art museum, the Blanton, located at UT. I am really interested in ways that a wide range of people can be encouraged to engage with artwork in gallery settings, they can be intimidating places and many people feel excluded or that the gallery is 'not for them'. When we entered the museum Zoe (my 12 year old sister) declared 'art galleries are SO boring!' I have worked at the Whitworth Art Gallery a few times in their engagement workshops for young people looking at how to encourage a wider range of people into their gallery space and I decided to try and use some of the techniques I learned from observing the facilitators there to help Zoe get excited in a different way and to help her to see that her opinions are valid, regardless of her knowledge of art. I asked Zoe to find her worst piece of art, her favurite, and a piece that made her feel something. The piece she hated turned out to be hardest and she never actually chose one, however the other two helped us to have some really interesting coversations, I talked to Zoe about the things she could see in the paintings and shared my own thoughts about them, something I have been learning through working on Patchwork Stories. By the end of our trip both Zoe and I had only positive things to say.
The whole time we have been in Texas the weather has been very un-Texan. There has been a lot of rain and it hasn't been nearly so hot as usual. Today we had several tornado and flash flood warnings. After the storm was over we went for a walk to look at everything. It was beautiful. This view is overlooking the graffitti park I visited on our first day.
Manchester Metropolitan University
New Zealand-Based Artist
UT Austin, Counseling & Mental Health Center
Lynn Hoare, Kelsey Lammy, Marian Trattner
UT Austin, Drama & Theatre for Youth & Communities
Megan Alrutz, Jenny Arffmann, Briana Bower,
Tamara Carroll, Becca Drew Emmerich,
UT Austin, Integrated Media
Kate Ducey, Lacey Erb
UT Austin, Performance as Public Practice
UT Austin, Scenic Design
University of Exeter
Fiona Macbeth, Ally Mearing,
Chris Mearing, Nora Williams
UT students and soon to be alums,
risk-takers, Skybridge Academy students,
UT Counseling and Mental Health Center staff,
friends, colleagues, and family.
Over the summer I would like to transform both quilts from the project into pieces of artwork, both in their own right and as a part of the ongoing Patchwork Stories project.
For PS14 our over arching question was: WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO TURN TOWARDS ONE ANOTHER IN TIMES OF DIFFICULTY?While this year, for PS15 our focus question was: WHY DO WE TURN AWAY FROM THE PEOPLE WE LOVE?
I would like to create huge quilts/wall hangings that have these huge questions embroidered across them. I am also planning to sew the smaller questions we used during interviews and some quotes collected from the interviews into the seams.
I am imagining an exhibition space, years from now filled with 10 or so of these giant quilts, with stories spanning the years playing out and over lapping each other...
Patchwork stories 2015 has come to an end. The whole project ran over 12 days this year and the installation was divided over two days, it was a massive success! Along with a team of 3 designers I was in charge of the installation space. We wanted to create a welcoming, cohesive and exciting space. We took inspiration from the tale of Tatterhoods Voyage and the idea that inside us all there is a kingdom. We used a colour scheme of white, green, blue and red and took imagery from the ship filled with questions.
On entering the space participants were greeted by a member of the project team who invited you to take a map for your journey. They then passed through a curtain hand dyed to reflect the colour scheme and into the listening space. Each listening station was set up around a nautical object (for example the anchor station for stories around feeling settled in a new place) that abstractly related to the stories. Following this participants were guided through into the sewing space. I spend most of my time there, advising and helping with sewing patches onto the quilt and facilitating discussion around what had been listened to, encouraging the telling of stories and sharing my own. Finally people were invited to move between two sails into the story sharing space. Paper boats were strung up from s fishing net carrying question and participants were able to write down their stories. We also had facilitators available for interviews or more private conversation.
The space was transformed from a teaching room into a calm and very 'other' place. I felt very safe and it was clear to me that both project members and participants were able to share in a way that is not possible in normal interactions.
This year we started the project with a story...
Inside you there is a Kingdom, this kingdom is surrounded by snowy tipped mountains and under these mountains are blue-green forests and under these forestsare meadows of wild flowers, bursting from the dark earth with their cups full of honey.
This Kingdom was ruled by a King and Queen who were loved by the people, not because they ruled without tyranny but because they were known to them. The King and Queen walked amongst their people, sharing with them their happiness and joy. Everyone knew them and had felt the warmth of their presence. And that is why, when a pall of sadness fell over the King and Queen, the people felt it, and saw that the sadness of their King and Queen had begun to move out over the land. Barley began to dip and the fish began to lie still in muddy shallows.
This grief that hung so heavy between them was that they could not conceive a child. They so longed for a baby daughter they had tried everything, every hedgerow remedy, every doctor, every prayer.
Because the people felt this grief they wanted to help, so throughout the land they gathered to talk about what could be done. There was in one village, a small child with a small voice but a big heart. ‘They need to ask the great, great grandmother’ she whispered, and this whisper was passed around. ‘The great, greatgrandmother, the great, great grandmother’ they murmured. The great, great grandmother had lived for so many years deep within the forest they had forgotten her.
‘Of course’ they cried and they turned to the small child ‘go and fetch her and take her to the palace. ‘
The great, great grandmother was not a pretty sight, she was toothless, gnarled and stinking and her voice rasped with lack of use. She arrived at the palace with the child and stood before the King and Queen.
“I don’t know why she’s brought me here’ she snarled.
‘You know, you know how to help them have a baby’ whispered the small child.
‘’Well maybe I do, but I don’t see why they want one anyway, there’s too many children like you around already.’
The queen ignored this, her face was bright with hope “could you, please help us?”
‘I don’t know as I’m interested in helping you’ she uttered and turned to walk away.
‘Quick, offer her whisky’ said the small child.
‘Go on, get that special whisky you got from the ancient Bard.’
‘No, darling, not that whisky’
“Now is the time’ she said sternly.
As the great, great grandmother swigged back glass after glass of the bottle of this hallowed whisky, she began to mellow.
“Hmm, maybe I will tell you how to get pregnant.’ She drained the bottle, ‘but then again, maybe I won’t’. And again she turned to walk away.
‘Cigar, cigar’ said the small child.
The King grinned and turned to the Queen, ‘give her the special cigar you were given by the ancient Muse.’
There was a flicker of hesitation from the Queen.
‘Now is the time’ he said sternly.
Now full of the whisky and enjoying her cigar greatly, the old and stinking woman surveyed the King and Queen.
‘You sleep up there’ and she pointed to a very, very, very tall tower. They nodded. ‘Well that’s a nonsense’. She turned to the Queen ‘you’ll never get pregnant there, your eggs will get dizzy that far from the earth, and as for you’, she turned to the King, “there’s no seed in the land can be fertile that far from the soil.
The King and Queen were nodding so hard their necks were aching.
‘What you must do, is carry your bed down to the stables in the yard, and place it on the dark earth. And there you must sleep. But that’s not all, you, Queen must have a bath in water drawn from the rivers and there you must soak away the heady smells of the dizzying heights you’ve been living in, and soak into your skin the sharp tang of the hedgerow and the musk of the soil’ and so saying she directed the servants to the forest to gather leaves and twigs.
‘When the bathing is done, the water from the bath must be carried in buckets and poured beneath the marital bed in the stable. You must sleep in that bed and do what you do to make a baby.’
All this sounded perfectly manageable to the amiable King and Queen who were already looking forward to it.
She continued ‘and in the morning, when you wake up, Queen, lean out of the bed and underneath you will see two flowers growing, one white and one red. You must pick the white flower and eat it. The white flower is balanced and pure and will bring you not only the daughter you desire but also a long, long life. But whatever you do, do not eat the red flower for it carries in it wildness and untamed fury, neither of which you desire.’
The King and Queen did as they were told, the bed, the bath and the night of baby-making. And sure enoughwhen the Queen leant over to look under the bed the next morning there were the two flowers, one red and one white. She reached out for the white flower, but, as is the way, her body overtook her mind and she found her herself grabbing for the red one and shoving it quickly as she could into her mouth.
Oh my, how the longing to face danger and the unknown courses through us. As soon as she’d eaten the red flower she regretted it. ‘why, oh why’ she moaned, and reached for the white flower hoping beyond hope that it would make things right again.
And in fact, on the face of it, it did. For nine months later to the day the Queen went into labour. The midwife and attendants were called and all in the land were poised to celebrate. But as the queen was sure she was about to burst, the midwife turned to the waiting attendants to warn them, but too late. Out of our fair and lovely queen charged a small and very hairy goat, and riding on that goat was a small and equally hairy girl, clinging onto the goat with one hand, brandishing a wooden spoon in the other, yelling ‘I’m here! I’m here!’
Well the attendants scattered so most of them didn’t hear the hairy child on the hairy goat shouting ‘Be cool, be cool, do not flee, there’s one coming after me, she’s the one you’re waiting for’. The gentle (and rather squeamish) King hadn’t left his wife’s side through out, his gaze was fixed on her face. And his cries of delight as the midwife passed him the second child, a perfect baby daughter, brought the scattered attendants back.
Whilst everyone cooed and praised the little princess, the straight-talking midwife took the hairy girl on her hairy goat to one side. ‘Be cool yourself’ she said. And the girl was. “I have two gifts for you, one is your name and this I give you now.’ She gazed at the child wearing messy rags and tatters with untamed hair sprouting everywhere and said ‘your clothes are in tatters and your face is covered by a hood, I name you Tatterhood.’ The girl considered the name and nodded, Tatterhood would be just fine, but she was a little greedy for the second gift.
‘The other one?’ she growled.
‘When the time is right.’ Said the midwife and then she was gone.
After the hullabaloo of the birth had died down, life at the palace settled into an easy rhythm. Despite the adults’best efforts to separate them, Tatterhood and the princess (who was never called anything else) stayed together and had a very happy childhood. Although to many it looked as though Tatterhood, often riding on her hairy goat, was the leader, pushing the princess to climb higher up the tree, dive deeper into the river, gorge herself more fully at every opportunity (cakes, steaks, risks and dangers, everything was possible for Tatterhood), it would not go unnoticed by a perceptive observer that wildness is the dance partner of discipline and Tatterhood and the princess were the best of dance partners.
All this changed on the eve of the twins’ adulthood. The King threw a fabulous party to introduce the princess to all her potential suitors. There was feasting and drinking and dancing and the princess was enjoying herself despite being dressed up to the point where she could hardly recognize herself. As the party reached its peak, a strange and frightening noise was heard. Thud, thud, thud. The heaving palace was being surrounded by a fearsome and ferocious army, drawn from all corners of the land. No ordinary army this was, but an army made of every ogre, every giant, every troll and every witch and they were descending on the polite castle.
In the midst of the panic this created, Tatterhood leapt astride her goat and galloped around the room, commanding attention.
‘These are my people, I will sort this out.’
She grabbed the princess by the hand and together they looked out at the threat. “Look, we are outgunned, we are outnumbered. If I go out there I will die. You know that don’t you?’ The princess nodded. “But I’m going anyway’. The princess nodded again.
‘But before you go, give me the arrows of your ferocious, ribald language that I may have something to hurl at the world when you are gone.’
Tatterhood looked into the princess’s eyes and yelledthese words
‘Let my life be wild and free, let me be surrounded by a herd of bears! I shall place my hand in the mouth of the wolf and I shall not count the cost. I shall suck on the sap of life and whoever tries to tear me from it will feel my rage!’
And so saying she leapt out into the fray and charged on her hairy goat, outnumbered and outgunned but she didn’t care. Her wooden spoon whipped around, the goat was nibble and they whacked and bit at ankles and legs and the army were troubled and confused; never before had that faced one so small who fought with such a combination of rage and delight. It’s a winning combination of course, and one by one the enormous, fearsome crew began to flee.
All except for one particularly canny witch who, at the last minute, spied the lovely princess peeping out of a window and in one swift movement reached out and grabbed the princess’s head off her shoulders, replacing it with the head of a passing calf and left with the head of the princess dangling in her hand.
Before the King could issue any desperate commands to the palace army, Tatterhood took him aside.
‘It’s no bad thing that none of these suitors will want to know her now she has the head of a calf, but aside from that, I do know where the witch will take her head. There’s a hut, at the end of two rivers where the old women gather and talk and cackle and play cards and drink. They’ll hang her hand on a rusty nail on the wall and she’ll hear everything they say and breathe in all the fumes of their degenerate talk.
I will go with my calf-headed sister and get her head back, just give me a ship. No crew, just me.’
The King of course agreed and had the ship immediately stocked with food and water and within an hour Tatterhood was ready to leave. At the last minute, just before the ship left the dock, Tatterhood heard a whisper in her ear “the time has come for your second gift’ and turned to see the departing back of the midwife. At her foot was a woven, wicker basket that Tatterhood stowed away on the ship and immediately forgot about.
Tatterhood sailed the ship up the two rivers and moored in the dead of night near the degenerate hut. Leaving her calf-headed sister aboard she slunk into the night and with the utmost stealth and skill was able to approach the door without anyone hearing her. And there she waited until that moment when the dead of night becomes nearly morning and even degenerate witches in the midst of having a great time, will fall asleep. It took her only a second to get in the hut, grab her sister’s head from the nail on the wall, race back to the ship, and reunite her sister’s head with her body. Luckily there was a passing headless calf that much appreciated a new head so no one lost out.
Tatterhood saw that her sister, who had listened for many nights to the old women sharing deepest mysteries, was unchanged except for one thing, she now had three silver threads in her hair. From this moment she was known as Silver.
At this crossroads in the story, Tatterhood offered her twin sister a choice; to return home to their mother and father and a life that was known and safe, or to set sail together into the unknown and travel the world to find the Wise Ones to answer the demanding questions that Tatterhood’s wild nature drove her to ask.
Silver understood very well there was sacrifice and challenge of very different sorts in either choice. But I’m happy to tell you, she chose the journey with Tatterhood.How could she do otherwise, they were dance partners.
They set sail with Tatterhood’s questions filling their sails with wild winds and strange directions. The first person they met was the Wise Crone of the North.
They sat before her and asked their questions
Where does hate come from?
Why are people so afraid of difference?
Why is comfort not enough? Why do we feel drawn to take risks?
How do you know how much to give up for someone you love?
How do you know what kind of support to give someone?
What makes anyone believe they have worth?
And the Wise Crone said
‘These questions can be answered if you listen to the words of those you meet and walk amongst.’
And the twins said
‘We meet only ordinary people, young and old, all busy or tired with life. They won’t have answers for questions like these.’
And the Wise Hag said,
‘Listen to those you meet and walk amongst, there are answers for all your questions.’
Tatterhood turned back to the boat grumbling ferociously, ‘why is it that no one round here will give you a straight answer?’
As she leapt aboard she knocked against the woven basket midwife had given her.
‘Silver, it’s time to look inside!’
Together they lifted the lid and pulled out a small piece of material, and then another and another and as they laid them on the ground they saw in the colours and the weave, the heights of mountains and depths of valleys, the distance of skies and the horizons of seas, the songsof birds and scratching of insects and they understood that the voices they would listen to would be the thread to weave this material together.
So heeding the teaching of the Wise Crone, the twins set sail again, with the chaos of their urgent questions filling full their sails.
Through all of this an owl was watching and that owl flew all over the world and told people far and wide of what it had seen. One of those people was an Iroquois Indian woman and she told a wild man from Devon and he told me and I’m telling you. What happens next, you will find. And that is all I know.
Major source for this adaptation: Martin Shaw, Storyteller.
On Sunday Briana, Lacey and Cortney took me to a local theatre called Vortex to see a play called 'Emma when you need her' about the early 1900s anarchist called Emma Goldman. The play was a multi rolling, all cast on stage all the time kind of play. I had a fantastic time and it was great to see another side of Austin.
We are so close to the finish line now! For the last week I have been working closely with set, lighting and costume designers to come up with a concept for the installation space. We want the space to feel like a separate place from the outside world, somewhere safe and exciting all at once. We have been working with the idea of myth and journey and have settled in the idea of a ship. We don't want to make the space into a complete and obvious ship but have instead used a lot of barrels, rope and have the suggestion of sails throughout.
When entering the space you receive a scroll contains directors notes, a list of project members and an abstract map I drew of the space. You then pass through a curtain dyed to represent the 'snow capped mountains, green forests, blue rivers and deep red earth.' There are then six listening stations before you come to the sewing table where we hope people will linger to sew, and share their experiences. At the end of the space there is a fishing net, strung with paper boats waiting for people to write down their stories.
As soon as the setting up is done we will be gathering as a group to sew a panel each that will form the beginnings of the quilt.