The art show I've got coming up is a two-person exhibition with Alyssarhaye Graciano. We're both known around town mainly for our fiber-based business. I'm known as the carrot lady from Jumbo Jibbles and she's known for her knitting at Black Sheep Made. Both of us also make art* but are known for our business- we'd like to change that.
So we've been put together because of this fiber-assumption, but what we're working on isn't necessarily what's expected. While most of my artwork so far has included fabric, I'd say only about 10% of the work I'm showing does. And while Alyssarhaye's does include yarn, it definitely isn't knitted.
So what's up with this name? Rag soup and sugar sandwiches are spare recipes either made to spare time or with the bare minimum. They make use of scraps or items that usually wouldn't be the main course. The materials she and I use fit into this category. She's saying goodbye to being known for knitting by creating pieces that literally cut up yarn and turn it into something else. My paper technique is a method I've used on fabric, and many of the pieces look like a pile of kitchen scraps.
During the pandemic, I started keeping all the paper and cardboard and flat pieces of plastic that would have gone into the recycling. Part of me really thought this was the end of civilization and I might need to use this stuff as art supplies to make things last longer. Yes, I assumed that as society crumbled around me I would still be making sculptures. Eyes on the prize, all the time.
My two and a half-D sculptures are made with paper, watercolored then cut out into flouncy curves. After the initial piece is cut out, there is a little line of color still left on the scrap pieces. I cut that out too, collecting a nest of particolored twigs and ribbons. Anything with color left on it gets cut. I've got a box for the big curls, thin strips, and occasional "pebble" (anything larger than 1/4" that can be cut in a vague circle. Lately I have been more choosy about what I keep, but
I'll never forget that weird mix of feeling like I had this treasury of inputs while also making art out of trash. It was a self-delusion that helped me through a shitty time.
A sugar sandwich is filling for a little while, but you can't live on it. [Insert wry comment about being an artist here.] Maybe that's a little too on-the-nose- come look at my art, like it, buy it, leave it, but then you go back to real life. Art is what comes after the basic needs are met. This art is trying to be the meal that gets you there and also the prize at the end.
RAG SOUP & SUGAR SANDWICHES opens at The Arsenal this Saturday, August 28th from 2-5pm. The gallery is open when the art store is open. If you'd like to schedule a private viewing you may contact the gallery. If you'd like an artist tour, same! I would love to host people at their convenience, and small groups can take their time.
*Yes, I understand the products we make are art, but we're talking about the stuff that isn't designed and made over and over.