I build my sculptures and weavings in increments which are often planned like to-do lists “1. Wrap armature 2. Weave armature” etc. I employ a “vocabulary of contrasts” to make, a phrase Tim Ingold uses in his book “Lines”. Ingold explains how the ancient Greeks described speech as “high or low”, “tense or relaxed”. I consider how to act upon my materials in equal and opposite ways (wind/unwind) or I begin a new piece with the aim to create a contrasting form (open/closed, hard/soft, empty/full).
My current body of work is deflated, the bones of my basket bodies removed, only the skin, the outer layer, remains. This knitted skin becomes a new kind of armature, one that provides a slack surface to build upon. I knit my skin/armature out of ribbon and then stitch a simple over, under the pattern of yarn that covers the entire surface. These loops provide the grounding for my new surface design, an intuitive crochet pattern that attaches to the surface of the knitted form. Knitting and Crochet are contrasting textile methods, while each stitch in crochet is completed before the next one begins, knitting keeps many stitches open at once. Open/Closed, my “vocabulary of contrasts” employed again.
Did this body of work develop because of my iterative working process or because I have craved rest over the past year and a half? It’s all made when my body is in repose. As I recline, materials encounter my entire body. My work rests its skin to my skin, creeping down to my toes as rows of knitting multiply. I use the body as a formal and conceptual touchstone for my work that comes together through an intuitive and process-based working rhythm. I break the trance of building through tiny loops by coming back to my own body: I am making? What am I making? It is present, full, flexible, fatty, rigid, irregular, a body in and of itself.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Katie Shulman is an artist from Washington, DC who currently resides in Detroit, Michigan. She holds an MFA in Studio Art from Syracuse University and a BFA in Fine Art from The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Her work has been shown wildly in New York State including at the Everson Museum in Syracuse, NY and The Strohl Art Gallery in Chautauqua, NY. In addition to her art practice, Katie has an over eight-year career as an arts administrator. She has worked in various institutions of higher learning and nonprofit art spaces in New York City like The 92nd Y, The Studio Institute and Hunter College. She currently works as a program coordinator at Design for America.
© Katie Shulman