Today I went on a photo shoot with my friend and artist, Stephanie Trevino!  We traveled to Hungarian Falls with six bags full of artwork, cameras, snacks, towels and clothes in order to document the necktie hair pieces that I have been creating.  To think what all the other hikers must of been thinking as they past Stephanie and myself with our bags sprawled across the rocks and me making funny poses and holding my car sun reflector in order to create the perfectly lit scene. It was a wonderful afternoon of laughter and exercise amongst the beauty of Michigan's Upper Peninsula!

I am so excited to see what moments and awkward faces Stephanie captured. We should be meeting this week to look over the photos.... Yay! 

After she finished photographing seven of my hair pieces, I donned a pair of black nylons with a creme skirt my grandma had made for me a few years back.  Stephanie is working on a project that involves documenting the process of someone wearing, playing in, and destroying the black nylons. It was a complete blast climbing on rocks, playing in water, ripping, and storing items like buttons in those black nylons. I felt almost like a nymph or a woodland fairy with all the leaves that I stuck in my hair and inside my nylons.

As usual, it is always a great adventure with Trevino...
The theme of Macsculinity versus Feminitity is a very broad topic that could be and has been debated about for years.  I need to focus this concept into a topic that can truely be explored and turned inside out by my diploma works project.

Social and historical preconceptions about male and female roles and relations to objects is one avenue that I find very fascinating. During the summer months I have been working at Greenfield Village in Dearborn,MI; I am a historic presenter who explains and experiences life from 1760 in Andover, CT and from 1885 in Columbiana County, OH.  Each day in the village I am living the life of a women before the concept of feminism started.  I absolutely love aspects of the time periods that I work in because of the separation from the caos and high tech relm of society today.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy technology; however, being able to unplug from that world for a few hours each day has opening my eyes to the more important aspects of life.   The experiences also help me to appreciate the social and political advances women have made through the centuries.

Working with artifacts and old techniques in those houses, I have recently been fascinated by the invisible male and female markers on certain tools and materials.  Fiber and textiles are very feminine both in their connection to the role that women have played in creating textiles throughout history and in the use of the material itself. Fiber and textiles are most often used in a flowing, delicate, and soft way.  In contrast wood and metal have typically been used in structural, rigid, or powerful settings such as the construction of houses, tools, and machines. I am fascinated by the concept of understanding those preconceptions that we subconsciously associate with materials and using art to completely reverse those concepts in order to have people stop and think. 

An artist that does a wonderful job with this type of material transformation is Cal Lane. Cal Lane creates breathtaking industrial lace by taking heavy industrial metal pieces such as oil cans, architectural pieces, and wheel barrows, cutting into them until they become light weight, airy and effortless through detailed cutouts of lace and maps.

Her website has some fabulous photos that you should all check out:

Cal Lane's Website

A good friend of mine recently wrote on her blog about Cal Lane after a great discussion that we had. Check that out too!
Ever since I started thinking about my diploma works project, an internal battle has pursued.  I debated whether I should do a project that is client based or a project that is self driven and more along the lines of fine art. 

Today I had a meeting with my professor Denise. All I have to say is THANK YOU Denise for helping me sort out my thoughts. I have decided to go in a more self driven exploration that will allow me to incorporate all of the materials exploration that I have done over the past three years.  The idea would be to center my project around the theme of masculinity versus femininity, which has been a theme throughout much of my past work, a theme that I have just recently realized how much it speaks to my heart. I will continue to ideate and explore this concept further and fill you in along the way.