Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Warm & Bright & Strong

I am back at school! Woah! I am happy to announce that (knock on wood) I'm feeling a lot better and more excited about making things again! I have two studio classes this semester and they're both really different than the studios I've had the past few semesters--one Bookmaking/Papermaking class and one class on Natural Dyeing. Both are so new to me that I'm learning a lot already! And the new processes are really getting me out of my funk. I feel very inspired! But I will talk more about that in a future post, when I post things I've been up to this semester.
This past break was very rejuvenating for me. I got a lot of rest and had a lot of fun and although I wasn't sure when it ended whether or not I felt recharged, now that I'm back and after a brief sickness, I do feel reinvigorated and ready for school. I had my birthday, Christmas, and finished a journal so I have a lot to share!
1. grandmas hectic but beautiful kitchen (beauty in chaos) //
2. through a window at the botanical gardens //
1. a plant I bought for Zach that I had to buckle into the car when I was driving it home // 
2. my grandma has a key for how to do different smiley faces on the computer //
 // showing process of creating textile designs-- from journal page to pattern back to journal page //
1. new year new orange // I feel like just about every December/January I have to paint an orange // 
2. me and Ava at Christmas lunch. I have a specific color pallet I've been wearing/journaling in/making art with lately //

1. me and my grandma--both wearing the powerful yellow (she's wearing the jacket I made her--more photos in this post) //
2. "Yellow is strong and bold and bright and warm. Yellow may be my inspiration in 2017." 
// vulnerability and strength, positivity and strength //

1. floral pattern in the background of my outfit selfie is a pattern I've been working on over this break--working with different color ways--hopefully I'll print it on fabric soon! //
2. Sol Le Witt's artwork from the SFMOMA //
1. from my trip to Monterey, in the bathroom of a vegan Mexican restaurant // 
2. everyday inspirations--also from my trip to Monterey. I'm really loving royal blue with orange right now. and floral patterns now and always //
1. from the Monterey Bay Aquarium with Zach--the first image is of a bigger jellyfish eating a smaller one! they fed the smaller jellies to the bigger jellies on a stick! WILD //
1. inspirational Christmas wrapping from kid's paintings. also inspirational self-love thought--my aunt gave a gift to herself //
 2. a photo of two of my friends in an Aquarium both wearing the all powerful YELLOW //
1. a journal entry from my trip to Monterey with Zach painting the view out the window from the little house we were staying at. The quote is from Paris, Je T'aime, I have never read/watched anything that so perfectly described this feeling! I have experienced this exact emotions and never been able to put it into words //
// "Sitting there, alone in a foreign country, far from my job and everyone I know, a feeling came over me. It was like remembering something I'd never known before or had always been waiting for, but I didn't know what. Maybe it was something I'd forgotten or something I've been missing all my life. All I can say is that I felt, at the same time, joy and sadness. But not too much sadness, because I felt alive. Yes, alive"  // 
2. the main house and garden from the Airbnb we stayed at --inspiring and beautiful home //
1. an amazing rock I found (!!) with Zach in the background foraging for cool shells // 
2. a journal entry about forcing myself to make things and do exciting and fun things to inspire myself overlaid on and image from a beach in Monterey //
images my friend took from a cute brunch we had--Cantaloupe, painting nails, and discussing positive friendships and life plans //

1. "emotion motion" journal entry painted entirely with different kinds of clay/dirt //
2. clay on the beach in Monterey //

1. the centerpiece on the table from Christmas lunch at my grandparent's house // 
2. different plans of garments using a print I've been designing in all different color ways //
1. from the beginning of my journal this summer--now reflecting on my semester goals, and reaffirming some of the same goals for this coming semester "vulnerable/spontaneous/excited/questioning/creative" // 
2. (border) more rocks from my Monterey trip //
1. slivers of light, pops of red -- thinking about color schemes, thinking about aesthetics of 1970s crocheted coasters // 
2. Natalie at the SFMOMA // slivers of red //
1. New Years Eve-- a photo that feels so genuinely happy and fun (me and Claire drunk and laughing at a party of people we didn't know taken by an angel and ray of light, Hanne) // 
2. a pattern sketch from my journal that is so exactly New Years Eve //
1. a new tattoo I gave myself of a Mountain Girl that Eryn drew. when I get my shading needles in the mail (and after it's healed) I'll shade in her hair // 
2. more snippets of patterns designed in my journal // 

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.