Tuesday, January 17, 2017

2017 Unconscious Connections

It's 2017! Wowie. I don't have to go into what a shit-show 2016 was, but I'm ready for it to be over. Of course, it's going to be a terrifying new year and I'm worried for what will come, but for now, I'll focus on my personal resolutions and some stuff that I've done in 2016.
I completed three journals this year, which is less than I have in the past (2015 I finished five (I think), 2014 I finished five).
I've talked about this a lot in previous posts, but this past semester was very difficult for me creation wise. Partly, I think it has to do with the fact that I make so much stuff for school that it's hard to make things outside of what is required. Additionally, I've just been having an intense inspirational block like I really haven't ever experienced before. I've talked about this block in this post, and before that this post, but I'm still really feeling it and still just not sure how to get out of it. I'm hoping this break has recharged me and my new classes will inspire me, but who knows! If anyone has any artist block suggestions let me know!
In discussing what I might want to do for my Senior Show (which is coming up quicker than I thought! yikes), one of my teachers told me to explore the unconscious connections between things that I make. This is something I've thought about before, without ever putting it into the words unconscious connections. I made a post where I matched journal entires to outfits I've worn, I've always kind of integrated journal pages with outfit photos and things that have been going on in my life, and a few years ago, I made a post with a photo of journal entries that matched each other from different times that year. With that in mind, I did something similar with the three journals I filled this year.

Also, I've been taking videos of a flip through of my journals the past few times I've finished them, so that I have a flip through video of each of these journals this year! You can now see every page. Also, if you go to my Vimeo, there's another video of a journal from last year you can see too. 

October 2015 - April 2017

To Open Pull Here from Maya Gulassa on Vimeo.

June and July 2016

Salt from Maya Gulassa on Vimeo.

July 2016 - January 2017

Personal Protection from Maya Gulassa on Vimeo.

And lastly, my resolutions for 2017:

  • Journal more--I want to touch my journal every day. It doesn't mean I have to make a full entry every day, but make a mark. 
  • I'm trying to keep a calendar of months at each start of the month in my journal, and write what I've done each day in it to keep memories alive, and organize myself! I'm bad with dates and I want to be better.
  • Update this more (once a month at least)--is that a resolution every year? Maybe. Doesn't mean I don't want to still try!
  • Be adventurous--every personality test I take says I love adventure, and yet I find myself not being spontaneous enough in my every day life. Spontaneity appeals to me in the vague sense, but I never practice it.
Happy New Year! Send me your tips for artist's block! 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Memory of Cloth

I just finished my semester! This one was hard. I don't know why exactly, it's not like it was really that different than any other semester, but somehow it was harder. As I've been talking about in my last few posts I've just been having a bit of artist's block! I really want to get over it. I'm trying to figure out what the best way for me to get over it is so I can really utilize my time over break. I think I'll try just not making anything for a week or two and wait until I feel excited about an idea or feel antsy to create. Hopefully this feeling will make it easier for me to make things I'm excited about. I just don't feel so excited right now. The thing I'm most excited about is an paper I wrote/website I created for a humanities class. All the art I've made this last few weeks I've just felt so-so about, with the exception of a few pieces. (I'll include a link to the website/paper late in this post so y'all can take a look and read it if you want :)) 

Firstly, I just finished my journal! It's the entirety of last semester, the summer, and this last break. 

Personal Protection from Maya Gulassa on Vimeo.

Weaving Storylines:

This class was all about weaving (obviously); all semester I've been at a loom painstakingly shooting thread across the warp. Because it's about weaving stories, I did text based work (that I always love), but after seeing everyone else's work I'm super interested in trying abstract work. I'm not usually as interested in abstract work, because I don't think I'm very good at it--I find it much harder than figurative work, but I think with weaving I could get into it. Although it's difficult, I really loved the work from people in my class that was more abstract. I'm thinking over this break I want to try this. Stay tuned! 

Blood Sweat and Tears

This project was to learn tapestry techniques. I adapted a poem from my journal into small vignettes describing Blood, Sweat, and Tears using colors that I felt exemplified those three things. If you don't know what tapestry weaving is, this is a good video showing how tapestry works (you're not supposed to have lines curve like that, because the weaving will curl when you take it off the loom, but otherwise it shows how to do it). One of these days I'll film myself on the loom. Basically tapestry means the weaving has a discontinuous weft, which means you have multiple yarns going across your loom at once. I think the most I had going at once was eight or so--you can see this in my progress images below. But now at a museum if you see something called a "Tapestry" this is how it was made--it's pretty amazing. Because tapestry is colloquially used incorrectly now, I think a lot of people don't know what it actually is. Once you understand what it is it makes these historical tapestries so much more fun to look at!
Tears: "crust of salt"
Blood: "metal sweat"
Sweat: "sharp (& sour) sting"
Left: shows some in progress tapestry so you can kind of get an idea of the number of threads I'm using. Right: a fanny pack I made (I didn't embroider it) for a project for my fashion class, which you can see below

Stepped On 

This project was to learn another technique called double cloth pickup. Again, if you don't know what this technique is (which most people don't), here is a video that shows what it is. Yes, you have to hand manipulate the strings for this technique. But I kind of loved it. I made this rug, like a welcome mat to my emotions. I used blush and eyeshadow to dye these yarns I used to weave with, continuing this experimental technique that I used last semester for my crying handkerchiefs (scroll down to "Narrative Stitches"). Funny enough, both this piece and my crying handkerchiefs will be in the textiles show in January. I guess I'll just be the girl who makeup dyes everything. 
The reason one word on here is backwards is because with double cloth pickup, the back of the weaving is the inverse of the front. In other words, on the other side, heart would be backwards and hurt would be forwards and the colors are inverted--heart hurt in pink and the background in brown. I had to give it to the woman who is curating the textiles show, but when I get it back I'll take a photo of the other side and upload it. Hopefully I can also get a better picture of this side then too. 

Fashion Studio Three:

This class was more pattern making and sewing with loose requirements like "you have to make a lined jacket" or "you have to make pants" etc. I learned a lot of stuff about designing and how to utilize my textile work within my fashion design.  

Lined Jacket

This project was to make a lined jacket so I took a journal page and adapted it to be on a jacket. I'm not very happy with the result except the embroidery so I just have photos of that here. 
in progress photos of design and embroidery
close up of the jacket


This project was to make a two piece or jumpsuit: we had to make pants for our own fit. I posted photos of this already, so here's a link to that original post. I was happy with the fact that I'm getting better at drawing something from my head and turning it into reality. Also; merging my textiles with my fashion design since I printed this fabric myself last semester. It's the same print based on my grandma's broken plate design that I used for the jacket I made for her but in a different color way. 


This project was pretty difficult for me, but I think I ended up with something I'm happy with. I struggled with making something evening more thanI expected! I actually think evening can be really beautiful, but my teacher had a draping requirement that threw me. I changed my plan for this design so many times, finally ending up with this after buying fabric for a whole other design and changing it at the last minute. I think overall, even though this material was incredibly difficult to sew, I'm okay with how it turned out. Its hard to tell, but this is a long skort with a bow in the back. Underneath, I made this bodysuit. I think one could dress it up to evening, or wear adidas to dress it down.
This is the bag I made to go with the dress--I wove the fabric and it even converts into a backpack!

Zero Waste / Jedi Fashion 

This final project was to make a zero waste garment or outfit with sustainable/reused/recycled/salvaged fabrics. I used a bag of old fabrics my aunt gave me to create this look. I also used clay to dye the pinker color fabric. It made a really subtle color that I'm really in love with. I dyed a few of my stained clothes as well once my friend had made the dirt dye bath. 
I made all the items in these photos except the dark sleeves underneath. I even made the bags from the salvaged fabrics my aunt gave me. I love how the fanny pack turned out! You can see my marker here (shows how the pattern pieces fit together to use most of the fabrics.) On the jacket, I used the extra pieces left over to patchwork together the ties for the jacket. I'm happy with how it turned out! I can't wait to wear it around! 

Craft As Social Justice: 

For this class we had to create a curated website that was supposed to be like a show discussing some social justice issue we wanted to discuss through objects. My project was about how gender roles get perpetuated by clothing companies, especially because of the monetary gain of splitting up the genders (called market segmentation). 
There are some really great videos to watch that give an idea of what I'm talking about. This isn't specifically about clothing, but it talks about the same issues. 
Also, if you're interested in this topic, definitely check out my bibliography and resources page for more information. 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

A Tender Hearted Artist & Artist Block

Again, it's been way too long since I last posted, but the good news is I have lots of great photos, inspiration, and anecdotes to share. The past few weeks have been difficult again; I've been struggling with feeling uninspired and like I can't do anything new or interesting. Basically what I was talking about in this post although the added anxiety of the election outcome and what the world will be like come January. 
 In terms of my artist block, I think it partially has to do with the classes I'm taking. I only have two studio classes this semester (meaning only two classes where I am making things); a weaving class and a fashion class. While the fashion class is cool and I feel like I'm learning a lot, it's also really fast paced, and I feel like it's difficult to come up with ideas that I'm excited about so quickly. Throughout the last project, I changed my idea three times. I just felt so unsure of what I was doing. The final product turned out pretty good, but I'm still just not sure how I feel about it. I'm not sure if it's "me" or not. I still have a lot of thinking to do in order to figure out my fashion style, I think. I'm wondering if I should take some more design classes to get me to think more about what my style is. 
 I'm excited about my idea for our final project in that class: it's a zero waste pattern using sustainable/reused/recycled/salvaged fabrics. I'm going to use this giant bag of scraps and fabric that my aunt gave me a while ago to make a three piece outfit that I'm still working out the design of. I hope it goes well and I feel excited with the process and happy with the result. I can't wait to get started! I'm trying to spend more time designing and researching and coming up with ideas than I have in the past and hopefully that will help. 

The weaving class is also very interesting and I feel like I'm learning a lot, but again, I don't feel super excited about what I'm making right now. I really loved what I made for the last project (which I'll post about in my end of the semester wrap up post that I normally do) (also theres one photo of one of the pieces from the triptych in this post), but this next project I feel at a bit of a loss. Part of it (I think) is I'm just not sure what to do with my weavings. I have found it hard to make things that I feel have no use. I spoke to my classmate about this and she suggested that sometimes you have to make stuff even if you aren't sure what the use will be initially and the use will work itself out later. And maybe it will. Maybe I will work out how to include my next weaving into an item of clothing--maybe that would make me feel more fulfilled. 

 I did just sign up for my classes next semester and I hope the new classes will make me feel more inspired and happy about making things (although again I'm only taking two studio classes). And I'm just not sure yet. I'll write about the classes I've signed up for next time and update once they start after winter break. For now, take a look at what I've been making, inspired by, and wearing in the past few weeks. 
1. "tender hearted" shirts I printed with a shibori dress I dyed for my professor for an internship 2. me drinking coffee at school
1. recent outfit wearing a backpack I made 2. Louise Bourgious fabric quilt paintings
Pages from Louise Bourgeois fabric book "Ode à l'oubli".  "I had a flashback of something that never existed"

Bagel Breakfast with a 2 girls I'm in the process of working on a project with...I will post about this specifically soon
Recent design idea with the fabric I printed with my own design underneath. I love how the print turned out on this satin! Also "crust of salt" weaving from a series I made called "Blood, Sweat, and Tears" (This one is "Tears"). 
Alan Kaprow Happenings invitation

1. My friend Emma with one of my misprint tote bags (so cute) 2. necklaces my mom knitted for me with embroidery hoops on my wall
Hank Willis Thomas "We The People" quilt made from old prison uniforms at the Black Panther exhibit at the Oakland Museum (which is amazing)
My friend in her studio, working on a weaving she made

1. From "Sheila Hicks Weaving as Metaphor", a pair of darned socks 2. recent outfit
A study of color pallets, inspiration, and tests. 1. necklace my mom made me 2. scrap of fabric from the print from the last posts outfit 3. Weaving I wove recently to make into a bag 4. thinking and inspired by tears as always
1.  "Take Care Of" from the Nook Gallery, started by someone I go to school with, list written after the recent election. It's so important to TAKE CARE OF PEOPLE right now 
Quotes from Louise Bourgeois from the book "The Fabric Works"
"There is nothing except what you sense" Jenny Holzer Truisms, 1977-79
Ana Mendieta
"All things are delicately interconnected" Jenny Holzer, Truisms, 1977-79
 Jenny Holzer, Truisms, 1977-79

What do you do when you feel uninspired? What helps you get excited about making things? I'm really asking.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Thinking in Yellows

Hey there! Just posting a quick update on a project that I just finished: making a two piece and my first pants out of a fabric other than muslin!! Im super excited with the fit and look of this outfit!! I'm also just happy with the fact that I'm getting better at drawing something from my head, and turning it into reality. Also; merging my textiles with my fashion design since I printed this fabric myself last semester. It's the same print based on my grandma's broken plate design that I used for the jacket I made for her but in a different color way.  I'm really happy with how it turned out and it's so similar to the drawing which is always a great feeling.
 An in progress shot of a weaving with my journal planning for this 2 piece and the printed fabric on my fashion sketchbook in the corner. I posted this on my instagram to show how many YELLOW things I'm making at the moment. 
 My journal page sketch of the outfit with a swatch of the final fabric.

I love how it turned out! Really similar to how I imagined it! I forgot to get a back photo, but when I do I'll add it to this post, the back of the shirt is super cute (as you can see in the drawing (sort of) it ties up).

I'm gonna try to be better about posting even small posts like this in the future. (I say that every time but this time I mean it (I think)!!) It really doesn't take long and is a great positive procrastination tactic instead of just sitting and watching tv or doing nothing.