Betsy M.

This week I started by looking at the websites of the three artists that Jane recommended. I was drawn in by Lizalou and found her obsessiveness to be far beyond anything I have ever encountered. Where does she get the energy for making all of that detailed stuff? I would never be able to deal with all those beads. I got lost in the mechanics of attaching and wrapping those seed beads…surely she bought the beads already strung…how long did it take her to figure out what glue would hold the beads without causing a gooey mess…what did she use to secure the finished pictures to the wall (those beads weigh A LOT!) Along with all my pondering, I studied the presidents’ portraits and admired her skill as an artist in using such an unusual medium to create them. Her provocative, free standing installation pieces are beyond belief, especially the ones that are evocative of jails and lockup facilities. Who else would combine glass beads and barbed wire??? This talented young woman has certainly taken her art in a different direction!

I gave up on Nathalie. So much mental energy went into her calculations before she even makes her sculptures.

El Anatsui fascinated me. His BIG work, made from zillions of metal whiskey bottle tops that he squashes, twists and joins to make huge installations showcases his ingenuity and ability to find raw materials to work with. Interestingly, I did not find his work to be obsessive. He needed to collect and revive those bits of metal in order to have material to express himself as an artist. Ghana is not a land of plenty with a hobby store on every corner.

I decided to continue my explorations in weaving focused on these concepts of BIG/OBSESSIVE. I have a 24 inch wide loom. Most of my weavings are 10 to 15 inches wide and range from 36-48 inches in length, depending on how crazy I get with hanging warp threads at the bottom. Working with the tail end of a silk warp that was way too short for its width, I decided to make three skinny weavings, side by side.The finished weavings are 7” x 7” , 6” x15” and 4” x 24”. I concentrated on BIG’S opposite; SMALL. I obsessed a bit for there was no room to send a shuttle through the shed so I used bobbins made from straws and when push came to shove, I worked with a large eye, sewing needle to weave back and forth. This process is not monotonous because I constantly change colors and directions as I work. Working small takes lots of time. I prefer to work bigger than this but not BIG.