We: stitching together communities and the self master of fine arts exhibition and analysis

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Arts & Architecture


In this thesis I created work which visualizes the complexity, support, and importance of community, seeing one another's perspectives, and discussed self-care, our disposable culture by using materials which have symbolic meaning, and were relatable to the viewer. I structured the show to encourage play, engagement, and a desire to connect through use of semiotic visuals and simple directions. I took on the role of director and producer to inspire collaboration and connection within the exhibition. I used everyday window screen material to create clothing for participants to try on. The screen was embroidered with yarn to represent different emotional states through fiber mark making and color. People were invited by strategically placed icons and photographic imagery to try on the items and figuratively try on others' thoughts in an attempt to connect, reflect, and associate the skin of a building to their own body and perspectives. Examples of mending on the screens and photographs of my sewing club stitching on each other presented opportunities to talk about repair and valuing of possessions and the self. Using overlapping screens to create moire patterning, I alluded to the power of people to enrich and transform lives when we interact and overlap, and to see others as windows of opportunity. I presented a community knowledge sharing project, with an online archive and individual visual component, for neighbors to learn from each other and build community, my own shared skill being clothing mending. Gallery-goers were welcomed to add to a collaborative embroidery piece, take screen patches home to mend their own screens, and pose for photographs of themselves in the clothing. I witnessed participants positively interacting with the work. I measure its success by the conversations started and reactions shared regarding ideas which this body of work stimulated by attending and bodily experiencing the show. Further evidence can be seen in the online sharing of the work, and continued stories relayed to me. In this thesis paper I intend to delve more deeply into my research, symbolic use of materials, and conceptual basis for the work.




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