I had the pleasure yesterday of attending an artists’ talk for the recently published, “Queer Threads — Crafting Identity and Community.” I love hearing artists talk about their works and approach, not only do I learn about them, but it always makes me consider my work as well. The talk was chaired by the co-editor of the book John Chaich, who is the show’s originator.
As I’ve mentioned before about ideas for shows they can sometimes take a while to manifest and this was in John Chaich’s head for some time before it finally came to fruition. John comes from a background of publishing and editing art zines, which is a form of curation in itself, but in 2011 he started with his first exhibition, which was all text based works. After that show he wanted to do something much more tactile, more dimensional, and Queer Threads became that exhibition. The three things that gave John the impetus for this show were: 1. John’s mother and grandmother’s stitching when he was younger and that influence on him. 2. The influence that the AIDS quilt had on him as a young man in the 90s. and 3. Third wave feminists taking back the craft, and the intersectionality of the form.
We chatted a bit about the difference between curating a book and a show, because this is both. Queer Threads has been touring as an exhibition for four years, and has now become a book (and a pretty special one at that, but that’s another column). I was fascinated, because I do the one and have yet to do the other, but it seems, from what John said, the differences mainly lie in the medium, and deadlines and such. Otherwise you’re still dealing with constraints of space — pages vs. walls, but a book, obviously, can reach a much wider audience who don’t have access to a physical show.
Aubrey discussed merging animation with embroidery and working with drag queens to create community stitch projects. Deidrick explained some of the meaning behind his materials, dying, and weaving. Ben talked about the body, intimacy, our relationship with space, and how people perceive our bodies in space. And for me personally, I was so excited to meet Maria Pineres (I’ve been such a big fan for years!), and Nathan, in a chilling moment, talked about children’s reactions to his large scale fiber army men vs. adults’. Afterwords the artists graciously signed copies of the book and mingled over snacks.
If you’re in the LA area, and you’re kicking yourself for missing out, don’t!!! Give yourself a break already! There’s another event next Saturday, June 10 at Arcadia Books, and this one has a mini art exhibit along with it, which will be terrific to see! If you’re not in LA (and even if you are) get yourself a copy of Queer Threads. Go look at these artists’ works. Keep making work. And hey, happy Pride Month everybody!!!