Petrified Forest National Park
Artist-in-Residence: July 2019
Above: Collage created with map of the Petrified Forest (public domain, government document, circa 1980), and photo of the Virginia backwoods (my own).
As a textile artist, color and texture are integral to my work.
The Petrified Forest National Park is a setting that had already inspired my work visually from afar, so I felt that incorporating myself into the landscape directly would not only give richer context to the work I had begun to produce, but also inspire me more directly.
Physicality is an essential piece of textile art that I felt was lacking in my understanding of the park, and being within the park – interacting and breathing the park in – allowed me to capture a more complete picture in my art.
Final Garments - Donated to Petrified Forest National Park
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The three-piece set is primarily inspired by the color and textures of the Blue Mesa and Teepees areas of the park - near mile marker 14.
These mesas are some of the oldest deposits in the park; their color reflecting the nature of the age in which they were deposited.
Study of each layer of these deposits yields information across thousands of years. In honor of that, each layer of the garments is textured slightly differently, and slightly different in color. The colors are within the same color family, however, to reflect the similar deposits across the area.
Sample Textiles + Park Photos That Inspired Them
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Workshop: “Ways of Seeing”
While at the park, I was asked to engage guests with hands on demonstrations. One of these took the form of a formalized textile workshop, and the participants were a collection of young women from different local Girl Scout troops.
The primary intent of this workshop is to teach the participants how to translate color and shape into textiles via abstraction. The participants were asked to break down images to their component colors and textures and attempt to recreate these sensorial pieces in their latch hook samples.
Due to the straightforward and relatively simple process of latch hooking (all the participants were able to latch successfully within 15 minutes of instruction), the participants were asked to consider how complexity could be integrated into the process via artistic intent and sensorial storytelling.
This was communicated primarily through a presentation: (accessible as .pdf here) and in the slideshow below:
Pre-Visit Content + Process Imagery
Statement of Intent
How this collaboration will positively influence the park and its visitors:
My undergraduate thesis focused on communicating modes of textile production (predominantly machine knitting) to members of the greater New York City area. I want to continue this work, and I think that the visitors of the park would benefit from not only learning about these modes of production and producing their own work with the techniques, but also gain a greater understanding from the park as a result. Because of the marriage of the physical and the visual in textiles, I feel that visitors would become immersed in the splendor of the park as a result of making work with me that reflected the very nature of it. This immersion would lead to a greater appreciation of the park and give another mode of understanding to encourage visitation.
From your perspective, what does your most ideal scenario look/feel like here if selected:
My ideal scenario would be to balance my time in the park doing two things: recording the park from different perspectives (photo collage, watercolor, and machine knitted garments) and collecting this into a book; as well as producing an interactive demonstration for the public that would show how to translate 2D visual art (likely watercolor) into a 3D representation (machine knitting).
What work of your art you would donate, copyright free and for unlimited use into perpetuity, to the park:
I will donate a complete look (collection of 2-3 garments) that are inspired by my time within the park and time with the public.
Pre-Visit Collages + Theme Exploration
Inspired by music and compositions by Michael Beckett and Zosha Warpeha.
Words by James Murphy.
Above: Collages created using photos from my own archive (circa 2013) from California and Virginia / some photos pulled from public domain, government images of the Petrified Forest and surrounding area.
Pre-Visit Sketches + Form/Color Brainstorming
Created in part using textile scans (my own) and rock images (used with permission from Ryan Thompson: explore his work here).