My first post, my first month of graduate school, and my first task at hand.
Disclaimer: I am NOT (in any way) claiming I am the most awesome writer of all time. Consider this a blanket apology for any improper use of noun, comma, semi-colon, ellipsis/ellipsi, and any other marginal or egregious offenses I’m sure to commit. This is the first and last time I’ll say it, so take note.
So, I’ve decided to document my time in grad school and my studio practice at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign with this blog. It’s my hope that someone somewhere out there will be reading this and that my posts will spark conversations and creations (of the art and or craft persuasion). It's my hope this will catch on like Bieber fever and I'll be the most famous or infamous artist craftswoman in the WORLD... My logo will be on t-shirts, buses, coffee mugs, and baby onsees! (insert maniacal laughter) ... or this all could go horribly wrong and I'll end up on some lesser home shopping network segment promoting my needlepoint-by-number kitten pillow so I can support my crack habit... but, I digress.
In our first metals seminar of the semester professor Billie Thiede along with fellow grads thought of descriptive words that lent themselves to the nature of our work (myself and fellow first year metals graduate candidate). From this list of words we came up with opposing descriptions and from there thought of coinciding materials.
Some words used to describe the work I have been making thus far: soft, subtle, delicate, colorful, tactile, non-objective, textiles and wearable. The opposite of these: loud, rough, aggressive, large, objective, masculine. So you may wonder the material I was given to research this year... (drum roll please)
Looking back at the list our material choice seems a bit off color. But lets put those inappropriate jokes and innuendos aside (for now). Those of you who know my hobby of splinter collecting will get a good laugh that I’ll be working with this material all year long. Go ahead... giggle away.
So where to go from here? After years of avoiding the library and staying far away from "the stacks". I’ve rediscovered the thrill of the hunt. Thanks to a librarian friend who gave me a reintroduction to the digitalized card catalogue I’ve been searching libraries far and wide... It’s been so long since I’ve done this. I can still feel the anxiety build as I imagine rounding the bend as I step through the library doors past the entrance. There it is. That towering chest of card catalogue drawers growing in stature, mocking me "C'mon, open one... it's not that difficult. People have been using me since the dawn of t i m e. Muhahaha!" as I open the drawer and start flipping through the cards numbers and letters dance about the card stock irratically... I think to myself "is this the author catalog, or title? Ugh, is this keyword or something?!" After what seems like hours of this internal dialog I finally would start marching up and down the alleyways of books searching for what? I never really knew... sigh... those were the days. Before the internets.
All that to say using the newfangled system way easier! There are pictures, sometimes descriptions, and (on increasing occasion) books and publications are even scanned and available ONLINE... seriously, join a library. Best. Time. Ever. Primary sources available online AND you can digitally search the text... I mean really? Need I say more? This is almost better than my recent discovery of www.dog-shaming.com... almost.
All this literary excitement has guided me to books on tree identification, marquetry (wood inlay), guitar/instrument making, and lumber production. Such a broad category has proved a bit daunting, but also pretty cool.
In my initial research what I’ve realized is that wood, and products made from wood, are all over the place. Wood is used in so many things from building material to imitation bacon. Yes, a wood pulping by product is used in some imitation bacon. Put that in your bog wood pipe and smoke it.
-The terms hardwood and softwood do not describe the density of the material. Hardwood refers to deciduous trees and softwood refers to coniferous trees. For instance both balsa and oak are considered hardwood despite their differences in density. Odd. And totally confusing.
Wood you like to read my blog again?
Yeah, I did it. I had to.
Until next time.