While my Diploma Works has been moving forward, I have been severely lacking in the blogging front. Lets hope this does not last!

After a rough creative block over the holiday break from school, I was able to get right back onto the swing of things with the new semester. My final diploma works sculptures will incorporate two larger-than-human scale sculptures that will create the perfect opportunity to compare the pieces as they stand side-by-side in the gallery. One will be made out of clay and the other out of fiber.

During January I worked mostly in the ceramics studio with paper clay to begin creating my woven forms for the clay sculpture.
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close up of woven forms in the damp box.
I have also begun to test my idea for the fiber sculpture. This will all have to wait because I am currently in New York for my internship with Green Map. I will be working on my senior paper until then, so if you want to follow my adventures in New York please visit my Mapping New York blog.
 
 
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My Friend Jaimianne sent me a link about these wonderful ceramic bow ties. You should all check them out!

For some reason I am absolutely fascinated by men's accessories. Maybe it is because culturally women do not typically wear neckties and bow ties, but I think they are fantastic. All of the beautiful weaves, prints, and patterns are too beautiful to be wasted on individuals who detest wearing them. Ladies I think it is time to enjoy great accessories like bow ties and neckties!
 
 
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One of many awkwardly histerical positions Ms. Trevino put me in, in order to get a great shot! Photo by Stephanie Trevino
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A car window shade makes a great reflector for photo shoots! Photo by Stephanie Trevino
The photos are here! If you go the the Necktie Creations gallery you can find the awesome photos taken by Ms. Stephanie Trevino! It was so much fun to work with her; so much to the point that I received a great ab workout by laughing so hard!  The pictures above are only a peak at the great fun we had.

I have already begun new necktie creations that I hope to debut in the 2010 Finlandia Student-Alumni Fashion Show. The show will take place November 20th, 2010 at the Finnish American Heritage Center in Hancock, MI at 7pm for anyone interested in coming.  I hope to have vests, more hair pieces, a dress, and whatever other pieces I am inspired to finish in time!

In the realm of diploma works... well lets just say I am praying for some enlightenment soon.  I know that I want to stretch the abilities of different mediums to their extremes in a way that takes a seemingly feminine material and makes it masculine, and takes an overtly masculine material an makes it feminine.

I have done a good deal of physical ideations in clay lately. They are mostly attempts at weaving stoneware. Stoneware is masculine to me, and the thought of making something delicate and loosely woven seems like a step in the right direction. As of late my only hold up is physically achieving woven ceramic three-dimensional pieces. The drying process seems to be the tricky part and I hope to figure out the secret to that soon. If anyone has any suggestions in that department, please let me know!
 
 
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.
 
 
I received an idea last week for a potential diploma works project; a nature sanctuary, Estivant Pines, about an hour north of my school has a caretaker that has to work on site to maintain the outhouse and pathways that are found on site. This caretaker has a 3 hour round trip each time he visits the sanctuary. In order to make maintaining the site easier, the idea of creating a caretaker's cabin was introduced. I decided to inspect the site to see if I am interested in this project or not, and my good friend Brittany agreed to accompany me. Of course being that this adventure occurred in Michigan where the weather is never predictable, we were stuck hiking on an extremely hot day.  If you take out the buckets of sweet lost on this journey through the woods I would say that the adventure was really enjoyable.

Estivant Pines is a really amazing sanctuary.  The site has two trails that you can follow which total about 2.5 miles. Brittany and I took the loop to the left of the trail head.  While this route was breathtaking with its virgin white pine and wonderful rock formations, it was unfortunately mostly uphill, hence the lost buckets of sweat.  My main concern with the site is that because of the incline it would be difficult finding a place conducive to maintaining a caretaker's cabin. I am contacting the caretaker this week in hopes of getting more answers about the project.

I hope the weatherman is right and there will be rain; we need a break from this heat wave!
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For those of you who don't know me, my name is Amanda Moyer and I am currently starting my senior year at Finlandia University. As a senior of Art and Design, I am required to complete a project that will be evaluated after a year full of blood, sweat, tears, and some insanity. The results of the evaluation will determine if I receive my BFA or not.

My diploma works journey will be recorded through the posts of this blog in so that I might receive any thoughts and critique that the world has to offer. As you follow this saga please leave me some comments!