AiR Green 4 artists – 4 interviews autumn 2019

AiR Green 4 artists – 4 interviews autumn 2019


I work from both the United
States and India Growing up in India has been really great for learning more
about textile. and.. I have seen so much
weaving, a lot of.. Like just the touch of textile that has inspired me to do it
more. One of the instances that
really bring back my memories is When I was growing up my
grandfather would only use a specific yard of
cotton Every year he would go buy it
from Like the the hand woven.. we
call it khadi which is hand-spun cotton from
India, and he would go buy it and have clothes made for that
year only from that yard of cloth. I applied for AiR Green because
of the focus on textile. I was doing a lot of ceramics
before with textile. I was using textile and dipping
it in clay and weaving yards of muslin, but I really, really
wanted to weave. So I looked at.. I stumbled upon
AiR Green one day because I was like, textile
residencies.. and applied and was looking
specifically for some in like in Northern Europe, Norway,
Sweden, Iceland. And then also coming to a
different place you really understand the culture of
textile and how people clothe themselves to keep them warm. I travelled to Northern Norway
and really understood how important it was for people to
know how to make clothes well because it was a matter of life
and death for most of the people
that went out to sea but it was also making use of
all the material that was there. Being here at AiR Green has been
really great. So I have been able to weave and
make the projects that I had in mind for a very
long time and also been able to meet three other incredible
artists that we keep bouncing ideas from
and off. The project that I am working on
up here I came with an idea of weaving,
to spin wool with steel wool so basically when the steel wool
and the wool is spun together it will rust the wool slowly And, when it is woven into the
fabric the fabric will reveal images over time, and also
disintegrate I was really interested in
making this fabric with words from.. words such as like “I
see”. So thinking about consciousness
and this relationship between the self and seeing, and how it
creates a perception of the world But the idea morphed as I was
here, it extended much farther than I
imagined which is amazing because then it
brings new possibilities. And, then I bring a lot of
forest into my work and the metaphor of making a forest
of a metaphor of being a forest. So it’s amazing to have a forest
here to walk into it’s so alive mushrooms and fungoid,
different types of fungoid Just the trees and shrubs, it’s
a very alive forest. The landscape is a very
important part in my work itself I start thinking about the
relationship between the human and the landscape within the
body and the landscape of the land itself. And, to be placed in an area
where this is so prevalent where the forest is so close by
you’re in a quiet area, you can see the stars you can
walk by the water for a while. It helps connect that for
someone who lives in the city a
lot of the time. I’m from Taiwan, I am a full
time artist I do a lot of community projects
where I work with kids, and adults. It’s related to
education Taiwan is like an island; the
ocean separates the country from other places A lot of the time I feel
isolated but that has also made feel like I want to be an
outsider and go travel to many different places and see many
different cultures. And then look back to my
background. Like in our culture,when I was
a kid my mom always knitted the sweater for us to wear,so I
think textile is kind kind of like visual line but it
is also an invisible connection between me and the people and
the society so I’m using textile as a
material but it is a metaphor for the connection between human
beings and society and nature and the environment. so I applied this AiR Green
residency because I know the Northern region has the special
sheep from here and that is how I can get this information. If I am in Taiwan and other
countries, in Taiwan we don’t have sheep, we only have sheep
for tourists to see. But we have a lot of goats. So,
every time I want to work with with raw material I have to buy
from other countries so rather than order the material on line
I prefer using my personal experience to be there.
experience the environment, what kind of culture environment
create this kind of material. It’s not just the material it
also relate to what kind of loom people are using for weaving and
what kind of tool or the nature. How they treat the animal. So that’s what attracted me to
come here to continue my research. The raw material has come from
the sheep and wool it has many different kind, the same as in
human beings. Everyone is from a different culture and different
race. We have different colour skin
and hair. So that is why I am trying to
put together the human being and the
environment. For example I actually bring
some of the sheep wool I have collected before from New
Zealand and like this is from here I did quite a lot of different
residencies from before AiR Green is the first time I
have residency next to a lake. I was quite inspired by the
environment also because I was working with
nature. Every morning wake up and first
thing I see is the lake view I was thinking what can I do in
this beautiful landscape as well but Taiwan is an island so water
is everywhere and like seafood is part if me, it’s inside from
birth so after I got here are we going fishing? I actually went out fishing once
and then we got this fish first time I really had to
takeout the fish from the net and try to deal with them and
cut them, I have to kill them and clean the skin and Kristin
was like trying to teach me how to cut the fish. So we had to throw the fish skin
away and slice the meat. So I was like, they died for me
so I don’t want to waste any part of it So then she was saying in North
region you have this culture is using fish skin to make the
boot. So it gave me the idea that I can use them, they can be
one of my resources of material As well and also like working
with sheep and wool It’s part of the nature. So I
had this idea working with fish skin and try to turn them into
fish leather. It’s kind of like this AiR Green
residency gives me the environment that I can totally
merge into the nature, merge into the material and
everything around me to give me the inspiration. A lot of residencies I have done
before they are not particular focused on textile or fiber art
so I feel like this time we four different artists, from
different countries,we are all all interested in textile but
actually everyone has different expectations to get into this
material or technique and different view in seeing the
same thing, the same environment. I think artists is kind of
inventors, you have to always create something new, something
different. It’s like trying to bring some
new perspective of seeing things so people will think and the
world will be better, maybe. So making art, this process, as
a learning process, teaching myself new things. For
example I never make skin leather before, so it’s like
giving the opportunity to observe the world, observe the
new technique, observe different different environment. I think
it’s very important to be be somewhere unknown, like
unknown giving you the opportunity to learn and create
something unknown. So I am currently an artist
working in Phoenix Arizona in the US I’m a professor at Arizona state
university, I’m running the fiber and textile program there So when I’m thinking about
textiles and textile art I’m really thinking about them
within an academic and university setting. My practice really focuses,
revolves around weaving of way to create a textile, but
it’s also the sort time and it’s like a physically
based creation of cloth It also provides a place and a
time to think through what is going on sort of
conceptually within the work So a lot of my work has to do
with landscape and has to do with place but takes the sort of
the ecological and textile thinking that happens within it. My work has been routed in the
idea of landscape for maybe the the last 10 – 15 years but
different sort of understandings of what landscape is to an
individual and I use textiles as a sort of intermediary So thinking about of the idea of
the textiles in that they are are deeply human and sort of
like the closest thing that we think of to the body as the
primary form of shelter So to give a concrete example of
that I use a lot of flags that I’ll hand weave and hand dye for
a space so, a project I did pretty recently
was I made a flag for the certain
rocks that live in this landscape, so I had these rocks
within my studio and I decided they probably didn’t belong
within a studio but I found the landscape that
was comprised of them, of the sand of them. So I took these
rocks that had been within my studio, wove flags for them and
then took all of them out to the sort of national monument that
was to them, that the government had already decided was a
national monument to these rocks so thinking about it as a home
coming or a potential for a conversation between
objects So I think of myself as a
facilitator of these potential dialogs between things. The idea of coming to AiR Green
was really exciting for me because of the sort of historic,
the family lineage the sort of ansestorial
relations, the difference in in landscape and also the focus
on textiles is not very often that we find textile specific
residencies I came in to the residency with
pretty open expectations of what what was gonna happen here. It
helps, I’ve found to not have too specific of, sort og goals
for what’s gonna happen especially if it’s not like..
You have to create an exhibition at the end. It’s a lot nicer
working in this sort of way because you can allow what’s
present in a place to inform the work into inform what the body
of work is your gonna create. So I think the work in the
projects that I have started here are going to, I mean I
can’t say this for sure but It feels like this is a project
that is going to be ongoing and and going to be something that
will probably become a larger project that couldn’t have
happened if I haden’t been here and had time in this place. It’s also been really really
lovely to have time to work with three other artists from around
the world. We’ve had a really nice dialogue and a nice
reportoir within the house and within working within spaces
with each other It’s often times a rare
opportunity where you have people around that you trust to
like talk things through with and get feedback from and have
just general conversations with so to have that access 24
hours a day is something that’s that’s special and I think the
fact that we’re all housed in sort of the same quarters Even though we all like move out
during the day we come together for meals every now and again
and to be able to casually talk through things we’re trying to
think about whether it’s sort of more general things about like
what we’re coming for what are histories are, as like
different artist working with textiles,in sort of different
situations There’s been like a nice
dialogue that’s happened I came from Iceland about 30
years ago or more. Or more.. There was no particular reason,
it just most was that I was I wanted to change the
surroundings and do something else and was like 19 years old. That’s one of the big themes in
my life, in my artistic life. It’s like nature and to begin
with mostly using the colours and I’m back a little bit with
the colours But I continued and I was
working especially with the the harsh and great nature in
the North, like glaciers in Sptisbergen, Svalbard. And
Iceland also the volcanoes and black sand. But, after a while I needed the
touch of the textile That’s something I really like.
It’s something you kind of have to have between your
fingers So then I started with those
things that I have been doing most in the last years and
that’s like embroidering nature Like here, for this project, for
Søndre Green. When I applied, usually when I
go to artist in residency I would like to go abroad but when
I applied here it was also because I wanted to do this
special project. I wanted to walk in the hills,
in the wood and just go down by the lake and fined some
plants, whatever I wanted to use. And to
planting with herbs That’s what I have been doing,
it’s all kind of different colours and I really love it.
It’s so nice to just go out, find the plant, go in here and
boil it. Make the colours So I really like it. And, I spin
it, and card it and mostly I’ve been using these plants but
this colour like this is Iceland. It is Icecland It’s called “skovir”.. it’s very
light and it grows on the stones and these are very old. So you
are not allowed to pick them from the stones. But if they’re
lying around, because they have fallen off, then you can take
them I think they’re like 100, maybe
more, years old. So I took it with me, looking
very much forward to see how they were going to come out.
Mostly I got a lot of these brownish, greenish, little bit
yellow and then I got this I really like this. This is the
first and they have been lying in the water for like 10-12
hours And then I took it all out and
did it again. And this is the next. So it’s
got a lot of colour in it It’s the red colour, that’s
always difficult to get and I had read in an old book
about like the women in the Sagas tried to.. the richest
ones from the Vikings they had tried to make colours. I mean, those who had people to
work for them.. and make beautiful clothing, many people
just had the greyish white kind off-white kind of thing. there is talk about one of the
women, that she had this red dress and she had a red cape on
top of it. I was reading, it’s called
Iceland “høyrød” and “Hallgerdur Langbrok”, a
woman from this time She, one of the sagas great
women, she had this dress and I decided I wanted to find
out how it was made and it’s like… it’s called
Icelands lichen it also grows here.We use it as
a medicine plant always been used as a medicine
plant But if you boil it, if you get
the essence of colour out of it it, kinds of, gets a little bit
yellowish, yellow, greenish but then you have to have cow-
pee And you put it in cow-pee over
the night and then you get it up an hour or something or 2 hours,
and get a lot of air into it So it’s oxidated,I don’t know
how to say it in English But, anyhow it, kind of, and you
put it back in the bucket with cow-pee and you have to put more
cow-pee in it,If it’s old cow-pee 2 or 3 months old,is
even better. So it’s stinking but beautiful
colour is coming. And it took me me like one and a half week,I
think, before this,suddenly one morning I came out and opened it
and it was starting to be red. We are 4 of us and this artist
in residency is the only one I have been in, participated in
that everybody is is working with textile.I’ve
always been like in Rome in Circolo, you’re living together
in a big, big flat and working. But you are.. it’s all kind of
people, all kind of artist working there at the same time.
Even writers so it’s not just visual artists. But here.. you, kind of, have
this possibility to discuss everything around your.. textile
is.. It’s not so often you meet just people that are working
with textiles. And that’s very nice also that you come from 4
different countries and we are are in different age. I mean,
Kushala, she is younger than my children.She is like 26
years old, but it’s nice. And the different countries,
where we come from and how things are and who has been
where and you get a good connection network building,
because you hear about other residencies and maybe you should
go there But,another thing about being
here, it’s the cooperation between us has been nice, we are
not working together but we kind of, discussing and helping
each other. It’s like I’m coming down there
for some morning coffee, and Kushala,she is like: Målfrid
come here, what do you think? Should we do this or should we
do that and why and then somebody other comes
and we start talking and what are you doing there and what a
nice thing and we are kind of discussing our things

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