I paid a visit to Madison Bouckville Antique Week. It’s the biggest vintage fair you will see without a doubt. It cannot be covered in a day and people tend to return on more than one of the days during its running. I saw some captivating objects – it really felt like being in a time warp with American history sprouting through the fields and tents. It is difficult to decide what to acquire and what to only admire. Objects are seductive and I struggle with decision-making, so many potential directions to take.
In the end I went for a miniature sewing machine, a ceramic boot that shouted flamboyancy and although I didn’t buy any, I was drawn to fishing lures, they coaxed me in with their fluorescent and vivid colours only to repel at the harsh image of ripped flesh by the small, sinister hooks.
As I sit in my studio I notice a growing collection of glass objects in the form of plates and light round globes.
The many thrift stores surrounding Utica are full of glassware and somehow this material feels right to work with. As I visit the Salvation Army Store, just down the road from the residency house, I am overwhelmed by the amount of ‘things’ inside. Masses of handed down items ranging from furniture, clothes, stationary and anything else you can imagine, it’s all there. There is a large children’s section. I swirl around enticed by the weight of history, memory and nostalgia as I shift each hanger across the metal rail. There is something beautiful and sad about seeing so many children’s clothes hanging hypnotically row by row. I am pulled in as I contemplate the impossibility of returning to childhood. Yet that child is always calling out for our attention, in various and remarkable ways.
I go to the swimsuit area, the most charged and concentrated, placing us in time, space and activity. Swimming, playing, family, brother, sister, water, sand, sea, fishing lures, glass, water, bodily fluid, function, rolling thoughts of one to another. Faded memories bleached by the sun, history condensed, suppressed, repressed, memories fold as objects unfold. And so I choose the more memorable, vivid colours. I return to the studio and sandwich a child swimsuit between glass plates, encasing the arrangement in resin.
I did want to write more about a trip to The Corning Museum of Glass but it is getting late here and I need to be up at dawn to catch a train to NYC. Suffice to say it was inspiring and thorough, a brilliant glance at the history of glass as well as a viewing of a beautifully curated exhibition of contemporary art and design in the gallery section of the museum.
As I return to Utica in one week I will be getting prepared for community workshops with the local refugee community. I’m looking forward to revealing more information and thoughts on this in my next blog.