50 Years of Influence

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In 1996, Mattel released this Barbie and Ken set to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Star Trek. These were the first dolls I remember longing for.

This past weekend, my boyfriend and I went to see Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage. This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the show and this production was, essentially, an array of selected clips from the shows and movies projected on a giant theater screen while a live orchestra played iconic Trek music. For me, this was a very moving experience. For an idea of what this was, I’d like to share this video put together by benandbarry on Youtube (I’m very impressed by the smooth transition in editing here, this is actually multiple pieces of the production spliced together):

Star Trek was something that I grew up with. My father was a Trekkie and would always watch it, pointing out the ways in which science fiction has a habit of becoming science fact. The Next Generation (TNG) first aired in 1987, when I was only 2 years old. With the quick succession of TNG, Deep Space Nine (DS9), and Voyager, you could say I literally grew up with it. While the major drawing factor for my father was the technology, I was drawn in and deeply affected by the rich social and philosophical lessons the episodes and films had to offer. These lessons helped to guide me and shape my worldview. There were two characters in particular that I looked up to:

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Captain Jean-Luc Picard and Mr. Spock. Picard’s words of wisdom and diplomacy modeled the kind of person, the kind of leader I longed, still long to be. He was firm and fair. He took his commanding role seriously but without being power driven. He lead by example, respected order and law but did not falter in instances where that order and law worked to the detriment of the populace. In his words, “the claim ‘I was only following orders’ has been used to justify too many tragedies in our history. Starfleet doesn’t want officers who will blindly follow orders without analyzing the situation” (Redemption II, 1991). There was an excellent piece written by Alex Knapp in Forbes in 2012 that does a great job capturing the ways in which Picard was a great leader.

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Mr. Spock’s intellect, logic, and, most importantly, control over his emotions, were characteristics that I wanted for myself. During the often turbulent years of my childhood, and even during trying times of my adulthood, I would have given anything to maintain the calm and emotion-free state of a Vulcan. But Spock was not fully Vulcan, he was half Human. Because of this, there are times during which you can see him grappling with emotions that, I wager, present themselves more strongly within him than within a full Vulcan. “I have a human half, you see, as well as an alien half… I survive it because my intelligence wins out over both…” (The Enemy Within, 1966).

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Halloween 1997. Seeking to emulate both of these role models as a TNG era Vulcan Captain.

With a nod to the roots of this blog, I feel I would be remiss if I neglected the wardrobe. Yes, I own an array of Star Trek tshirts (you can read a previous bit about tshirts here) and I also own a uniform inspired hoodie complete with insignia and rank pips. In the film, First Contact, Picard says to Data, “…touch can connect you to an object in a very personal way. It makes it seem more real.”  Indeed, in a similar way, wearing that uniform-hoodie does make me feel a certain connection to these characters and those traits that I admire. And is it any surprise that one of the first outfits I made for my Lammily doll was a Starfleet uniform?

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Reflecting on Hatch

In my last post, I briefly mentioned that I was gearing up to work on entries for the Hatch show and I’ve been MIA since. Hatch was this past weekend and it was fantastic. Now that it is over, I want to get back into the blogosphere. What better way to jump in than to share with you all of my wonderful experiences from this event?

What is Hatch?

Hatch was a creative-reuse art happening in Champaign, Illinois that was put on through the I.D.E.A. Store. There were 2 components to this show: the Art Exhibit and the Art Fair. Please see the official Hatch page for the full list of participants and their contact info! The exhibit is hosted at Indi-go Artist Co-op and will be on display through March 17, 2013. The fair was a one day event that featured over a dozen vendors.

The Art Fair – Highlights

I was only able to attend the art fair for the last hour, as I had to work most of the day. I wasn’t able to take it all in in such a short time. However, from what I saw, it was a good show. These were some of my favorites-

Phyllis Hughes
Phyllis was such an interesting person to talk to. I loved her crazy quilts and the Indian batik work she had brought with her from her time spent in India. She lived there for 2 years. I’m entirely jealous.
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Sheila Daniels
Sheila makes jewelry from various odds and ends. Her work is exquisitely beautiful *and* she’s a fan of Doctor Who! You can’t go wrong!

This Image from Cheeky Magpie

Vintage Karma
Based in Tuscola, Vintage Karma sells handmade items from a variety of local artisans. Sadly, I didn’t take any photos here.

Karen Pritchett
Karen doesn’t have much of a web presence, but she does have a Facebook and is based in Columbia, Missouri. She makes really cute and upcycled outfits.
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The Art Exhibit – Highlights

So much amazing artwork at this exhibit. Michelle Stitzlein came in from Ohio with a couple of pieces from her Moth series as the “Artist-in-Residence”. She held a slideshow Friday night during the opening reception and it was pretty awesome. She even went to one of the local elementary schools to work with kids on making murals with bottle caps.

Some of my favorite works on display:

Melissa Mitchell
Melissa, not only an artist, but one of the volunteers that helped to make the event happen, works with assemblage art. I’ve had the privilege of seeing her studio before. There isn’t much she creates that isn’t interesting. And wacky. And sometimes just very, very wrong (but in a good way)!
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Cindy Blair Sampson
While she claims she disconnects herself from her artwork, she manages to create some very moving pieces. I found this work in particular to be very deep and moving. When you open the book, you find a key pressed into beeswax. As she said during the gallery talk, she feels the uterus to be the center of the universe. Also, the boob turns. Seriously. Interactive art!! +5 points!
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Laura Wennstrom
I will never look at security envelopes the same way again. She created a “quilt” from envelopes. I have to admit, when I first saw this piece, I was unimpressed. However, after hearing her talk about her piece and looking closer at the patterns stamped into these envelopes that we routinely ignore, I have to give her credit. You’ve opened my eyes to something new, Laura. And now I want to make knitting charts that resemble security envelope designs.
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Lawrence Agnello
While I didn’t really get the chance to meet him, I was impressed by his work. As the work holds it’s own, I give it to you with no further commentary.
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Deborah Fell
Another artist I didn’t get the opportunity to talk to, but her artwork was too cool for me to overlook. I have no intelligent words or critiques here. I just simply find them interesting and captivating.
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Fabric of Society and My First Juried Show

This show was also a very big deal for me, personally, as it was my very first juried show. I entered into the fair and 2 pieces for the exhibition. One of those pieces I stayed awake for over 35 hours working on. Only 1 piece was accepted (not the one I lost sleep over, haha). However, I feel thrilled that I even made it in at all… I heard that there were over a hundred applicants. I was able to participate in a gallery talk on Sunday, where artists were spotlighted and able to discuss their artwork and answer questions. I had a lot of fun with that. I even managed to sell my artwork that afternoon, and in talking to the people who purchased my artwork, I am overjoyed that it will be going to someone that truly appreciates and *gets* the concept.
I suppose you’d like to see the piece? I call it “Fabric of Society”. I’d shown it previously at 3T: Third Thursday Art Show, and I have to credit Adam Perschbacher for the initial photos that I used for the application. I honestly think his photos made a difference in getting accepted.
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This is me trying to sound smart while talking about my artwork.

This is me trying to sound smart while talking about my artwork.

I spun strips of newspaper into yarn and knitted this placard, which, when looked at closely, reads “TRUTH?”
The artist’s statement underneath reads:

The News. We count on reporters to give us facts and report the truth. Based on this information we make a myriad of important decisions… some personal, some public and having important effects upon others. We’d like to believe that we can trust the journalists and reporters to be objective, most of us know better. We are, after all, only human and so we are prone to biases. Whether intentional or not, what we claim to be factual and true ends up twisted and distorted, spun to serve some purpose or other. Like fiber spun into yarn. It is these twisted truths that are knitted up, unrecognizable, to create this fabric of society. And we wrap ourselves up in it, like a blanket, for comfort and warmth. But what is truth? Could we Recognize it if we saw it? Can you?

Nowhere but Where you Want to Go…

Life has a funny way of unraveling itself. Despite all our efforts, all our planning, the road we set off embarking on will change as time goes by. Life will set obstacles in our way, and if we are to stay on course, we must surmount them. Yet, sometimes we’re forced to take a detour. Often, we become frustrated, and we try bustle through and get back onto our well planned pathway. Every once in awhile, if we actually look around us as we travel down these side roads life’s detours force us to take, we might discover something worthwhile: an out of the way diner, a cozy independent bookstore, an old theater, or maybe just a pretty house with a for sale sign in the yard.
Or sometimes we simply decide we want to go somewhere else and cut across a parking lot or a farmer’s field to get to another road.

I feel like society at large expects us to plot a course and stay true and unwavering to that course. The implications being that if we stay the course we will be happy and stable and successful. The general model that we’re supposed to base our lives on is: Get your HS diploma (or GED), go to college (or trade school), get a job, get married, buy a house, start a family. It also feels as if getting off that course suggests failure at life. But what happens when you’re traveling down the expressway and traffic jams up and forces you into a painfully slow single lane? Or what about when your ending destination suddenly disappears like Atlantis into oblivion?  This is what a lot of people who have lost their jobs have had to deal with. This is what myself and my peers have had to face (or will have to face) coming out of school. It seems like college is becoming more and more of a necessity with fewer and fewer guarantees of anything beyond student loan debt.

What do you do when you find yourself in the middle of nowhere? Where do you go? Do you keep moving in some direction, or do you pause for a moment and take in your surroundings? Do you follow the well trodden path? The path less traveled? Or do you create your own path, hacking your way through the brush if necessary? It seems to me that we often feel pressured or rushed to keep moving and to “get back on track” as quickly as possible. As if to be off track is to be in this very undesired position. I find it somewhat amusing that it’s ok to be “outside the box”, so long as you are “on track” and even better if you are “on the fast track”.  (this is my odd/corny sense of humor at work here)

When I started this project, I had no real idea where it was going, and over time, as I built upon it, its true nature revealed itself to me. It really took on a life and a meaning all its own. The Nowhere Man, with its kind of off-kilter compass and frayed edges that shirk convention, reminds us that even when we we’re out in the middle of nowhere, we have the freedom and the power to go where we want to. We don’t even have to know where we are going when we start off, the path will reveal itself in due time if we keep our senses open to it.

Having come to the end of the road (but certainly not the end of the journey), the Nowhere Man is now officially for sale on my Etsy.  I’m excited to see what other roads I will be led down as I continue to work this blog and continue to create…