Archive for March, 2010

Artist Statement – Sarah Gagnon

The City Underneath the City

As I walked along the sidewalks of my city I noticed hundreds of unique manhole-covers and grates. I found beauty in things that most people just walk by. These simple discs of metal are portals to a complex infrastructure of connected pipes beneath the city. In my work, this became a representation of the complexity of the human infrastructure of the urban environment.

I rendered this solid and industrial inspiration into smooth synthetic and silky fibers. I blended real images with traditional embroidery methods to create a new medium.

Daily Walks

A few years later I continued this series I was still interested I manhole covers and other street access points, but the context I was noticing them in had changed from downtown city streets to small neighborhood walks. The material culture of the American neighborhood is manicured with concrete sidewalks, turf and curbs. It noticeably contrasts less efficient and orderly cultures around the world. These pieces are a place to reflect on the design of the American neighborhood, both physically but also the places beneath that – the social and communal.

This series is rendered on more homey and natural fibers, including wool, linen, cotton ticking as well as antique linens.  I continued to use photographic transfers mixed in with the embroidery. My embroidery methods included free form lines along with traditional techniques, including tufting, weaving, couching, and beading.



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After months of working on the embroidery pieces for the exhibit, I am struck with how much I love embroidery. I am committed to continue finding ways to integrate it into my body of work. As a gift to Shelby for her wedding I am creating an Art Deco style belt to adorn her dress. One of the things I considered is that there are so many pieces of beaded trim that can be bought for $20/yd so if I am going to hand make something, it is going to need to be significantly worth more than that. After looking at Shelby’s dress I was also convinced that this piece needed to go in the Deco style because of the architecture of the dress. I have been surprised at how difficult it has been to make our budget of $50 cover the materials. Beads are significantly more expensive that I anticipated. Nevertheless, I would like to see us come in on budget for this project. Here are some of the inspiration images I have been using. These are some of the materials I have picked up to use. I found most of the rhinestones on ebay as well as a Enchanted Treasures & Costume Jewelry company. The sequins are from M&J Trimming and the glass bugle beads and the seed beads are from Joann. The orange embroidery is an example of the gold cord I need to get to create the lines in the pieces.

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