Made in Maine
Inaugural Winter includes a survey of work inspired by the winter season while I was living in Farmington, Maine. I grew up in Virginia and moved to Maine from Baltimore, and thus had never experienced such a long winter with increasingly difficult weather conditions. I see most of these pieces as timelines: ways of counting down or dissecting the length of the winter into smaller, more manageable increments. Living and working in rural Maine reignited my interest in textiles and my use of wool was important to not only keeping warm in my daily life but also to referencing the former wool industry in Farmington. Idyllic Landscape Unit represents the absolute best part of Maine: the summer. This piece serves as a reminder that for those three, short months of the summer season, western Maine truly is “Vacationland.” Downtime Rivers: 6 Weeks Until Spring is a project that began on Groundhog Day when Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring. Each river was knitted over a weeklong period during any downtime I had between teaching, grading, etc. The longer the river, the more cooped up I was during that week. While the 6th river ended on the official final day of winter, the wrath of Maine’s winter continued for another 5 weeks or so. The physical and psychological effects of cold and darkness were brutal. I encourage viewers to visit my blog, Inaugural Winter, to see data I collected throughout the winter and also read notes about my experience.
One of Farmington, Maine's earliest industries was the production of wool, and now that winter has arrived, I find myself relying on this material in my everyday life more than I ever had before living here. My goal with this series is to depict the atmospheric quality of this wintery landscape through materials that have significance to Farmington and are also essential to winter survival. Each piece is created by needle-felting alpaca and sheep's wool onto wool roving stretched over a wooden frame. The piece is then photographed and printed on waterproof vinyl.