My Creative Friend: Adj

My creative friend, Adj, is my crafty partner in crime. A couple of years ago, she started coming over for "crafternoons" when we would hang out and create together. By carving out that time together, we held each other accountable to continuing to improve our skills and creating new work. We started to talk about creative business issues and teamed up to sell our work at the Providence Art Festival in 2009, and we eventually helped each other to grow our own creative practices. She is smart, creative, and always thinking about her next project.

{ Adj and her tie collection }

Tell us about yourself and your creative practice, Adj.

Growing up in a family with few resources, my childhood was filled with a plethora of outdated second hand objects. Finding new creative solutions to everyday problems was an essential element of my upbringing and is why I think I have such a hard time sticking to one discipline in my artistic practice.

The first persons I ever saw use a sewing machine were my twin brothers. When we were all about 10 or so my brothers were fascinated with small machines. Their disastrous bedroom was littered with hoards of them, including an old school typewriter in a box, stereo equipment including record players, 8 track players and a sewing machine. Once they fixed a machine, which they had procured from the trash or some yard sale, they were sure to find a use for it. The sewing machine came to be the main source of their shorts collection, which they created from all the pants they ruined on our crazy adventures. This resourcefulness was typical of my family and is where my interest in up-cycling began.

As I can never seem to commit myself to one single medium, I would describe my art making as a mis-mash of things including metals work, welding, jewelry creation, photography, sewing, and writing.

{ gown made entirely from coordinated men's ties }

What does art making mean to you?

For me, my art is the medium through which I work to bring light to the social injustices I see affecting our local and global community. At heart I am an educator. I love using my art to educate others about cultures, community and the world around us.

I first saw art as a medium for raising awareness while working with the Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archeology. There, I co-taught Pecos Pathways, a high school archeological expeditionary-learning program linking Massachusetts and New Mexico students, tribal elders and museums. The program emerged from the Native American Graves Protections and Repatriation Act of 1990, which stated that institutions receiving federal funding must return Native American cultural items and human remains to their respective peoples.

This program sparked my fascination with the ethical questions associated with historical preservation of marginalized communities’ art and inspired me to think about ways in which I could use art to bring awareness to the social ills of our times.

{ bike tube earrings }

How do you sum up your creative style?

If I had to choose one word to describe my creative practice I would choose community. For me, my art making is about creating community, brining awareness to community and learning in community. When I moved back to Providence my art making was spurred on by Crafternoon, a term Carole Ann I created to describe our weekly crafting meetings. In the early days we kept each other accountable through these meetings as well as the very beginnings of this here blog. As I have moved my art making practice away from sewing and more towards metals work and writing, I engage in community through the Steel Yard, a local Industrial Arts Center, and the Wordpress community which houses my own blog, Learned Curiosity.

What are your creative fears?

Like most forms of education, you can never truly know the impact you have on others unless there is some tangible result from that interaction that you are privy to. Sometimes I fear that my art is not having the impact that I would like it to and as a result is useless.

Because I can never commit myself to a specific medium I fear that I am always exploring new mediums at the expense of some other ones and as a result am not growing in any one particular medium.

{ community bike rack }

What creative projects are on the horizon for you?

I am currently working on a project where I take a picture every day of the month of January around the theme “What Once Was.” The project will be displayed at the Fun A Day show coming up in February.

Last year I attended the West Side Arts Gallery Imago Fem, a Domestic Violence Awareness art show tied to V-Day. This year the show will be in March, and I am working on three pieces, each in a medium I have never worked in before: watercolor, collage, and mixed media.

Once the weather warms up a bit I hope to get back into the metals studio to design and weld more bike racks for local community organizations as well as continue the up-cycling of bike tubes and silverware into jewelry.

Thanks so much for sharing, Adj, and for being my creative friend who pushed me to make crafternoons into something more. Just look at us now!


**My Creative Friend is a series of blog posts featuring the creative practices of creative women in my life, posted on the last weekend of each month. By sharing our processes, my hope is that we can all learn, grow, and be inspired in our own work. If you're interested in being featured, please contact me!**

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