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by Abel Morel, Boise ID

Entering the classroom, the thread I have so frequently seen running itself out on an IMA machine had turned into a kaleidoscope of colors, textures, and mixed media. Butterfly’s, blue lights, knotted and twisted thread dominated my attention.  It seems like an illusion in my memory- similar to the dream and night we have about a part of work that morphs into an odd Dahli painting, but it wasn’t.

Several months ago we had donated 100 cones of thread to the BSU art department. The Professor had assigned a task to her Art 397 class to construct an off-loom textile which articulates the theme of work. The theme was intended to help consider work experiences as a valid contributor to their position as an artist.

On April 1st Vicki Jacobs and I ventured into this lair of creativity as the artists shared their work and stories behind the pieces. One artist was inspired by the Monarch butterflies, using over 5 cones of died and tied thread and incorporating 305 hand painted butterflies on the sculpture that represents the average eggs the butterfly lays at a time and the journey (work) the butterfly’s must travel in their lifetime from Mexico to Canada.

Another Jellyfish signified the birth of her child at a young age in the artist’s life and the work it takes to be in such a position while working and going to school. A tapestry of scarlet red inspired by a onetime dream of becoming a Go-Go dancer and the realization of the objectivity of women at an older age hung on the wall.

A knotted cords that represent the Prime numbers, a ghostly piece recognizing the connections we all share, and a three piece flag-like ensemble inspired by the color guard shocked and awed us. Each piece reveals the care the artists took to complete their work and the energy that went into producing these pieces surely went above and beyond the required energy need to complete the assignment.

Driving back to work I couldn’t help but think that work is art. The repetitious tasks woven through the day and the unexpected knots and processes that it takes to produce a final product is the art. Art is produced by Art-Work. It takes work to make art. We can learn to see that what we do every day, for forty hours a week is a work-of-art. Inspired by long term dreams, short term goals, and carried out in details as fine a period in a sentence or single piece of thread in braid in a rope.

I thank the Art 397 artists for allowing Bigelow to be a part of their art-work.    
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