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Hello All! Lydia See here - It's been a whirlwind of a few weeks here in Spartanburg. I'm so thrilled to be the first Artist in the Community Artist in Residence in partnership with HUB-BUB and the Spartanburg County Public Libraries and I feel as if I have hit the ground running!
HUB-BUB and SCPL and I have joined forces to build a more creatively engaged Spartanburg, starting with community access to arts programming with a focus on inclusivity and a gentle point of entry. So what does this mean?
When I arrived almost three months ago, I wrote a little statement which the following is excerpted from:
"I believe that art and creative practice in any form should be inclusive and accessible to anyone. Teaching and exchanging dialog about art is an integral part of my practice, and spending time in the service of a community will expand my ability to learn about my own work while facilitating the aesthetic development of others. By using my studio practice and through designing a series of community-oriented programs, I hope to inspire and create connections within the community, and offer a gentle point of entry for those who might not ordinarily seek out art in their daily lives."
We've started this initiative to engage the community through accessible creative programming in a few ways: by creating a Studio in the HQ Library where I have begun teaching workshops and classes, as well as keeping regular studio hours, open to anyone who would like to stop by. We've also built a custom traveling loom (with the help of former AiR Eli Blasko) which has been out in Morgan Square for both of HUB-BUB's Hub Crawls this fall, and now lives in the Studio at the Library when not traveling. The influence of fibers and textiles on my practice has been immense, and after moving to Spartanburg and learning more about the rich textile history here (particularly thanks to reading the Hub City Writer's Project book Textile Town, which should be required reading for every resident!) I felt compelled to offer textile arts education to connect Spartanburg residents to their own heritage.
Building community has always been important to me, and I've spent years working in community education, non-profits, and as a museum professional. I received my BFA at Massachusetts College of Art and Design with a focus in Photography, Fibers, and site-specific sculptural installation, and I have a deep commitment to public and community-engaged practice. Residencies often offer artists an opportunity to work unfettered by daily obligations, isolated in their studios with their residency culminating in an exhibition. I was so drawn to this partnership residency specifically because it offered a completely unique experience: to contribute to the creative health of a community while folding in my own studio practice, connecting everything by "the event of a thread" as Anni Albers states in On Weaving.
Since my arrival I've also been working on some other public projects, including a forthcoming public work in partnership with Partners for Active Living, a collaboration with Northside Artlet Artist and former HUB-BUB AiR Eli Blasko, as well as consistently working on my personal projects. Pictured below is an image of nearly three months of my daily practice, imagine it as a warm-up sketch in a figure drawing class or a 10-minute run before lifting weights: I embroider an old family photograph, which didn't make it into the family album, every day, refining my embroidery skills, measuring time, warming up my fingers at the beginning of each day of work in my studio. By the time I leave the residency I will have accumulated 335 of these embroidered "other pictures" - process on this project and my studio practice can be followed by visiting the HQ Studio, on Instagram - @archetypographia and with the hashtag #stitchingtheotherpictures
If you would like to HEAR me talk about some of this stuff, I was recently invited to be on the City Podcast, and had a fantastic time talking with Christopher George about moving to Spartanburg, my work, and how excited I am about this residency. CHECK IT OUT HERE