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Lifework logo Lifework Phase 2

Phase 2 of Lifework is a large scale pile weave fiber work. It is the ultimate manifestation of the wasteweave series of works that used yarn left over from previous projects.

Lifework Phase 2 2014   150 X 259cm (59 X 102in)
pile weave
memorial markers key (pdf)
Lifework, full view Lifework, detail 1 Lifework, detail 2 Lifework, detail 3 Lifework, detail 4

The Phases of Lifework

Phase 1: Gathering source material (ca1957 - )

Silly Records logo The silly records collection: When we were eight years old, a friend and I discovered that a local radio station was discarding records in the trash can behind the building. An LP of radio commercials of convenient lengths was the beginning of The Silly Records Collection. I haven't deliberately sought these out, but grab them as found in junk shops, yard sales, and, yes, trash out on the street for pickup. In high school and college these were often used as source material for early sound experiments with tape recorders. A few selections were used in my sound work, Patented Whitening Agent. Some favorites in the collection include a training record for waiters and waitresses ("Timing, showmanship, and knowhow"), a weight loss record with a sleep side for subconcious suasion ("You are slim, vital, and attractive."), a Marine recruitment record, morse code training, nurse training, some really bad music, high school choral groups, music appreciation records, various amazing-sounds-of-stereo LPs, and so on.

Wastweave logo Yarn scraps: From the very beginning of my work in fiber I saved leftover yarn. Some of these scraps were used for the wasteweave pieces, but even so, several trash bags of scraps had accumulated by the time I decided to stop weaving in 1988.

Phase 2: The fiber piece (1988 - 2014)

Life logo This work emerged from discussions with Henry Hallett in our early years of weaving. What is more important, process or product? We talked about an infinite warp -- weaving without end. The entire Lifework project is an examination of this question. I will finish it before I am finished. Or not.

When I decided to stop weaving as a serious pursuit in 1988 it seemed a good time to test the idea. Over Labor Day weekend, 1988, I dressed the loom with a warp that would allow me to weave for about eight feet at a five foot width. I chose the slowest possible process: pile weaving. This became a sort of Zen process: a hour here and there, letting my mind wander, listening to music, watching a football game, enjoying the process, unconcerned with finishing. Then two things happened: severe hearing loss began to make continued work in sound untenable, and the real possibilty, as I closed in on the eight foot mark, that the process would in fact become a product. Thus, Lifework Phase 2 has become a transitional work, a return to work in fiber.

About a year after beginning the work, S. Zola Heller, my father-in-law, died. Putting a marker for him at the edge of the piece turned out to be the first of seven memorializing family members, people and cats, who died while the work was on the loom. These markers first suggested the title, Lifework.

Phase 3: The sound piece (projected)

In phase 3, the finished fiber work will be used to derive a score which will determine a process for selecting short samples from the silly records collection and assembling them into a sound work. This will, by its nature, be a slow process. Thus the roles of sound and fiber are reversed, the end reaches back to the beginning, radio commercials of convenient lengths.

 
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