My loom is set up in one of the gallery spaces, my work is in the background. I feel very much at home already in the Horlock House. What a privilege to be here and work.
I am writing 4 months into the residency and wonder where has time gone? It has been a very busy time for me. When I got here I knew I had a solo exhibition at Art Pace in San Antonio with my Checkpoint Installation. I felt – to make my point, I couldn’t just put up my checkpoints but had to weave the border fence as I had seen it in the Rio Grande Valley. It consist of metal bars, 6 inches thick and 6 inches apart.
I wove it on a Norwood loom, 36 inches wide and 4 harnesses. The border fence is woven in 7 panels, each 35 in wide x 17 ft high.
The ceiling at Art Pace is only 15 ft high. We rolled the panels up on top and bottom. Did I mention that the installation is woven with plastic bags from newspapers as weft? To be precise 7000 bags, blue from the New York Times and the other colors from the San Antonio Express News. This project would not have been possible if not for the generosity of the community in San antonio who supply me with the bags. Thank you!
Some photos what the whole installation inside and out:
If you want to read more about it, a nice write up about the Show is in Art &Culture Texas Magazine
Then I started to seriously think about our resident show. I had weavings with plastic bags up in my room. But somehow people did not connect to them as they did at home. I started thinking about newspaper delivery in Navasota which happens by mail and there is no recycling.
Before I came here, I had never been in this part of Texas, never visited Washington on the Brazos or Independence. I thought San Antonio was the most important city in Texas because of the Alamo. In the evenings I started walking at Washington-on-the-Brazos and Independence. And so it started that my residence Show is about this region:
Where Texas became Texas
The weavings in this room reflect my impressions of this region during my residency. Most pieces are produced with some hand spun yarn from the local WC Mercantile store. Spools which function as hanging devices were locally purchased. The loom in the middle of the room was used for weaving 7 of the 9 pieces displayed.
I walked the premises after hours in the evening, enjoying the trees and nature.
I imagined it in 1836, crowded as a bustling city. Those times were uncertain and often dark but people wanted change, their own land – and so Texas was claimed. The Brazos river enabled trading. The eclectic, muted colors in my weaving, the linear structure and the strong presence of the Brazos river are my interpretation of Washington on the Brazos at that time.
Home to the Cotton Gin and behind it, the railroad which made cotton farming a lucrative business for many years. I was very impressed to learn that cotton grown in the 19th century would be harvested from September till the first freeze. It would grow more like a bush instead of the small plants we see today. The weaving has the colors of a cotton plant and a traditional weaving pattern as we see it in tea towel.
The railroad was a determined factor in increased commerce of cities.
“My Railroad” is woven with heddles from an old loom which I rusted. I hung it off a big spool as it was used in commercial weaving. Textile production once flourished in this region.
My favorite place around here. I love the rolling hills, few houses and nature as far as I can see. Reading the history: birthplace of Baylor University, 4th largest city in Texas in 1860, declining population after refusing the railroad, one tornado and 2 hurricanes which severely damaged the city. The natural disasters inspired my weaving. It depicts the tornado at the bottom of the piece and the hurricanes are woven with the fuzzy yarn. Above it, we have the lushes landscape with rolling hills.
I was impressed when I visited, to learn about the transformation of this place to meet the challenging demands of its changing times.
A bustling downtown area with its railroad. In my weaving the railroad is depicted by an old reed from the loom. It holds the weaving up, which looks more like a quilt then a weaving. I like that about the downtown area. It still has old preserved buildings but is not afraid to mix them with new ones. This is were the past and the present face the future together.
In the 19th century infrastructure was improved by the railroad, followed in the 20th century by highways. This is my woven contribution to the road system. Woven with plastic bags from dry cleaners. It is held up by a commercial weaving spool.
Even though I have woven the Texas flag many years ago – I have never shown. Maybe because it needed to be seen here first. The star is woven with feathers which reminds me how independent Texas still sees itself.
I would like to thank the City of Navasota for letting us reside in the Horlock House. What an honor to stay in this historic home. And thank you to the Brazos Arts Council who allowed me to be part of the Residency program. It is a privilege to be able to focus for 5 months only on Art in this friendly city where people are welcoming and helpful.