wichita :: sen :: 1000 doilies - new piece

so... i asked for help. knowing that i was going to the ulrich. knowing i was supposed to make a companion piece to the 1000 doily piece. YOU - you lovely people sent me drawings and knots. i packed up a big bankers box and shipped them there to meet me.

but i really didn't have a plan. other than i knew there would be 1000. when we finished installing the big doily piece, i opened my box and started counting - both the knots and the drawings. at first i kept the drawings together by the people who made them. then, i began organizing them by place. maybe i should make a map. place the doilies in spaces close to where they came from globally.

when i counted the knots i touched them and thought about where/who they all came from. how far they had traveled. should i make a quilt? a really big seninbari belt? organized by color? by fabric color? by knot color?

then i flashed on something:

when i was in japan these - EMA - caught my attention at every temple/shrine we went to. thousands of people, leaving thousands of wishes.

what if i treated this installation like a wish wall? what if each drawing/knot made was like a personal little wish? 

so i found giant nails. set up a grid. 

as i kept sorting through the doily drawings i realized that i just might have 100 colors of drawings. 

the doily wall has 100 colors of doilies. oh. that would be a nice connection.

at first i thought i'd stick the "main" color in front, and then fill the rest in behind with other colors to make even stacks. but as i sorted i realized why not let the stacks be what they are? if they have 1 doily they have one. the black pile would simply have over 100. i liked the idea of the numbers being dictated not by me. 

so began the task of punching holes.

i also had doily drawings of various sizes. so i thought i'd "arrange" them so that you could see the different scales. 

i also felt as though the thread that the drawings hung from should match the doily drawings themselves [also to link to the 1000 doily piece]. 

luckily there were a few more workshops to round out my numbers and get me to 1000 drawings. and the museum staff made sure to contribute drawings as well. 

my mom helped me tie a thread to each drawing. every night we'd sort them, separate the floss, tie loops and then attach a loop to the drawings. while we worked we watched japanese samurai movies. [fitting don't you think]?

then i'd come and hang them up. 

until finally they were all up on the wall. 

this might have been one of the scarier projects i've ever undertaken. mostly because i didn't have a SOLID plan before starting, and because i knew i had a very finite time [2 weeks after putting up the other piece] to complete it. 

but as is usually the case - pressure cooker situations are often good for the studio practice. and once the idea gelled, i felt like this was really a cool way to once again incorporate SO many hands, and my love and interest of color. and the nod to japanese culture [including my own experience with it] tied in nicely with the doily piece. 

i made the museum a color chart - with some extra threads in case one broke. and of course i love IT as an object in and of itself. 

when you are there... the air conditioning makes the pieces move. which is also a lovely bonus. 

so... to all of you that sent drawings, and good wishes, and happy thoughts; and for those of you that sent knots - i haven't figured out how to use them yet, but i will... once i finish all the work for my upcoming show at walter maciel [opens november 8th. mark your calendars]. THANK YOU. i am once again humbled and grateful. the almost indescribable magic that happens when a piece is collectively pulled together is present in this piece. and i will be sending you all little parcels of thanks soon. 

i don't think i will ever stop just making drawings and things that i do on my own, but this process - a social practice, has altered my approach to work in a very significant way. so again, thank you. 

i'm excited to visit the two pieces together this weekend. 


susie said…
this is brilliant and such an exciting glimpse into the development process of a beautiful show. thank you.
Tiffanie said…
OH, it came together so, so well. What a great idea to have come to, remembered, put together, cobbled in your mind. I love the idea of the random amounts of colors dictating how many on each nail. Another fantastic work, Lisa. :)
Ruth Singer said…
I love how open you are about your process. I had assumed you had a plan for all those drawings - refreshing that you didn't… !

I think, I hope, I will be able to catch your next show too.
Anonymous said…
Thanks for sharing so much about how you went about this. Scary to trust in your helpers and your own intuition about how to pull it all together. But how gratifying when it all seemed to come together in as lovely a way as it did. What a wonderful adaptation of traditional Japanese practices. I look forward to seeing what you do with the drawings in the future, too.

Lisa! I am very much in love with the idea and how you ran with it. Fantastic!
magali catteau said…
Hi Lisa,

This is so beautiful!! Can't wait to show it to my daughter when she comes back from school. She was so exited to be part of it.
Tammi said…
Lisa, your work is absolutely incredible. Thank you for sharing how it all came to be in this post. I only wish I could have seen it in person! All the best.

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