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Artist At Rest

Rachel Wittels

$1,000

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Artist At Rest

Artwork Tags:

This handwoven object serves as both functional pouf-style chair or ottoman and an archive of all my sitting down activities during the first two weeks of August, 2022. 1 weft (colored stripe) yarn represents approximately 10 minutes the activity assigned to that yarn. Therefore thicker stripes visualize more time spent on that yarn’s assigned activity. An activity key is included with the work so thee viewer or user can decode each stripe.

15
20"H × 20"W × 20"D
Furniture
Fiber/Textiles
Geometric
Contemporary
Seating
Cotton and acrylic hand woven fabric, hand sewn and stuffed with foam and poly-fil.
Yes
No
Spot clean, or steam with distilled water.

STATEMENT

Fiber holds a tradition of storytelling within its threads. My textiles center these narratives from within my own communities of humans, habits, and relationships to inform design. Expanding upon the practice of visualizing history within my field, my textiles archive moments of my sociality—physical, tactile contributions that I offer back into the communities which they serve. I examine specific qualitative content surrounding a person or community to which I have a strong bond. My source material comes from anecdotal and daily places, including for instance, text threads, conversation archives, family recipes, and personal habits. After looking closely to find the cadences and emotional energies that construct the identities expressed in my source material, I ask my textiles to preserve these human narratives in the systems and patterns of their fiber structure. The collections of information gathered directly builds the foundation for the design and function of each textile. For example: a double cloth weave structure to represent a bond between two friends; color coded yarns to represent specific personalities or categories; formal elements of shape, line, and texture as symbols for feelings and habits; or handwriting to signify portraiture. The visual and tactile outcome of the work is always dictated by the characteristics of content and connections I am exploring. The final stage of my process circulates my works, through acts of gifting, back to the people whose lives have informed each textiles’ making. The service of gifting within my studio practice can look like delivering the physical artwork to the individual represented in that textile, archiving information considered precious within that community, and via display within the intended audience’s community spaces. The work, by design, becomes a tangible circulation of the stories and relationships it holds. In our current age of using “big data” as a tool to simplify complexity and give us quick, objective reads into large issues and conversations, I argue that data, made by humans and representative of humans, is also inherently flawed and full of individualized narrative- showing us snapshots in time that offer rich stories to those willing to pause, and patiently follow the threads that connect together moments of human living.

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