I was first introduced to the work of Magdalena Abakanowicz when I was 18 and in art school. Her art and career left a sizeable impression on me. When she first started making she was working in a small space and shared that space with a family. The scale of her ambition didn’t match her accommodations. She didn’t let that stop her. She wove giant Abakans, great tactile sculptures that could be folded / rolled and stored in a corner of her studio when not working on them. Then when finally installed that would take up large spaces. The artwork featured above is approximately 9 x 9 x 3 feet, you get a sense of the scale with the artist sitting by the work.
When I adopted my daughter, the time I could devote to the studio shrank. I suddently found myself running around town taking my daughter to school, basketball games, a tutor, if you are a parent, you know the schtick. Chicago traffic is brutal. By the time we got home, I had just enough time to make dinner, check through her homework, read her a book, bathe her and tuck her into bed before I collapsed into my own bed.
As time passed and I became itchy to work through ideas, I often reflected on the work of Magdalena Abakanowicz. So I picked up my knitting needles and tucked some yarn into my backpack. I still had to deal with Chicago traffic, but I could get a couple inches of knitting completed while watching a basketball game or while waiting at the tutor’s office. My studio traveled with me. I completed to bulk of these three sculptures in this manner. My favorite part working this way were the conversations I had. Artists too often work in solitude.
The extra bonus to this way of working, I was making art that folded into a small bundle. Last week I packed the above three sculptures into an 18x18x16 inch box and shipped it off to the exhibition Soft opening this weekend in Savannah, GA at the Sulfur Studios. So yes, these three sculptures fit in just one box. It saves on storage space in the studio and shipping costs.