Ann Marie Newman
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2. Endless Thread
1. The Beginning
Imagine if you will
The interconnectedness of human life...
Symbolized in a chaotic rhythm
Of lines interweaving lines...
Embedded with webbed wheels
Of translucent papers...
On whose surface are the
Visual manifestations of
Responses to story...
Creating a passageway
Through which Light may flow
Who seek it.
My installation, Interweaving ran June-August of 2016. This is the remembrance page. Please see Chapter 6 below to view the two finale videos.
Most of my best creative ideas are born in water. Bathtub water is best. There in it's soothing depths, I soak and dream, allowing my thoughts to flit about seeking inspirational sustenance for my soul, much like a hummingbird seeks for sweet nectar. Now often a good, long shower will have to suffice, as it did in this particular case.
Interweaving downloaded into my conciousness nearly complete in concept form, in the shower on a cold January morning. Language and images imploding quickly, giving me a sense of time moving at the speed of light. There is a euphoric sensation when these episodes hit, mostly very pleasant, with just an edge of disorientating dizziness. I feel my thoughts literally spin. This is followed with a desperate "mind grab" to latch unto it all, knowing that it is time to start creating for the MUSES have spoken! Certainly, some of the details are left up to me in how it will be presented, but the muses know it will be an interactive, interwoven, multi-media artwork. Why? Because they chose me to bring it to life. I thank them deeply for this gift.
Let it begin!
3. Webs of Mystery
In April 2012, I was attending an adult creativity workshop at the Dallas Museum of Art. It was a Thursday night, we were in a fourth level gallery sketching. I choose to sketch a life size, headless, armless figure of a woman cloaked is a black velvet dress with an elaborate gold necklace interweaving about the torso. Go figure. Lo! As I was sketching, words began to arise. I started writing them along the rope lines. This wasn't part of the exercise, but I'm never one to follow rules when my muse beckons. A poem was born that night. I found it recently and have adjusted it further. Here it is:
My dreams in the dark of night
Drape me in webs of mystery.
In gentle waves,
Images of strange scenes unfold
Before my closed eyes
Upon golden threads
Weaving around me,
In my mind’s eye, I see an invisible, endless thread. I see it crisscrossing over and under; weaving a giant, cocoon-like web over the surface of our world. It is the original worldwide web, on whose shimmery threads cling all the stories of human life from the beginning of time to this present moment. In some places the threads run straight and true, beautiful in their simplicity. In other places the lines snarl in chaotic grids of complexity. Embedded throughout are smaller webs capturing mankind’s expressive reflections and insights from specific moments in time. They perch, translucent like dewdrops at the dawning of a new day, waiting to quench our thirst for wisdom.
4. My Wayshowers
They have left their mark.
My DNA imprinted
Haiku by Ann Marie Newman
My wayshowers have been many in number. There is a small group however, who begat a shift in my conscience so profound, I swear, I felt the world shift and roll beneath my feet. I felt dizzy from the impact of enlightenment these few artists brought to my conciousness, their starseeds of inspiration entering my being with the speed of light.
Henri Matisse - He left evidence of his creative process behind in his finished works. I delight in seeing the pencil markings, finger marks...his bread crumb trail.
Andy Warhol - He lived life artfully! Both his physical appearance and everyday life were bold, creative, expressive acts. He surrounded himself with artsy, unique people making life very interesting.
Janine Antoni - My chance meeting with her was earth shattering, she's a sister soul. We bonded. She helped me recognise my value as a conceptual artist. We both use our bodies as "tools" for creative expression and learning new skills is an essential aspect of our art making. She gifted me her brilliant book, Moor, about her installation of a woven rope she made using donated items from friends and family. LOVE it! It's all about weaving & stories.
Laurie Anderson - She breathes words in a way I find spellbinding. Her merging of poetry with sound & light is brilliant!
Nick Cave - Soundsuits & performance art! His work encourages community involvement, thus building relationships and understanding between diverse groups of people. He's a unifier.
5. Grandma Lillie's
The rugs were pleasantly pliant, yielding with a firm squishiness beneath my feet – like a good handshake. “Hello,” they said, “good to see you!” They were all similar in color; featuring flesh-hued blending’s of taupe, ecru, nude, and tan. All had been woven by my Grandma Lillie’s expert hands on an old window frame she had fashioned into a loom. She was never idle, my Grandma. In the evenings when family would gather in front of the TV, chatting over the televised voices of the weatherman, Lawrence Welk, and Johnny Carson…Grandma would settle into weaving at her loom. Old clothes ripped into strips provided the material for the rugs.
My Grandma Lillie had been born into a large family in 1905, her parents were Norwegian immigrants. Money was always tight during her early, formative years, and also during the Great Depression when Grandma and Grandpa ran their little restaurant called, “Pete’s Eats.” Through it all, she had learned to manage her money very wisely, to pinch every penny. Every little bit of cloth from worn and tattered clothing, blankets, and towels found new purpose in Grandma’s busy hands. The prettier bits became colorful crazy quilts given to grandchildren. But the other bits, for nothing was ever wasted, found their way into useful rugs. A household necessity in north Minnesota!
Those flesh-hued rugs scattered throughout her home, that I found so pleasant beneath my feet…they were a little weird looking. They didn’t look like they had come from old dresses or shirts. I would bend down and feel them with my hands. How interesting…the texture was familiar, yet somehow alien at the same time.
Years passed. Grandma and her rugs were long gone and deeply missed. While reminiscing on the phone one day with my mother, I asked, “Mom, remember those weird, flesh colored rugs Grandma Lillie had in the farmhouse?” What were they made out of?”
“Oh!” giggled Mom, “Yes, I remember them! Those were made from ladies stockings.”
“Pantyhose?” I asked, astounded.
“No!” said Mom, a shocked gasp slipping from her, as if I’d said a bad word. “Ladies stockings, the kind women once used to clip unto garter belts. They didn’t have panties attached to them. They were stronger than today’s pantyhose.”
“She had to have had a lot of ladies stockings to make all those rugs!” I said, marveling over the idea.
“Well, I suppose ladies in town donated them to your grandma knowing she would put them to good use.” said Mom.
And that’s exactly what Grandma did. Those ladies stockings made marvelous rugs. Weird looking, but so pleasant beneath the feet! My Grandma Lillie was a master craftsman recycler of the finest caliber.
When my Grandpa retired from farming, he sold their house and built them a new one beside Clearwater Lake. During the move, Grandpa carted off two truckloads of Grandma Lillie’s hoarded, old dresses, shirts & shoes. Grandma was livid! I don’t think she ever wove another rug after that. Rather, she picked up her crochet hook and made lovely bed spreads and table cloths for family members. This, despite the fact that she was nearly blind with cataracts and glaucoma! She did this while telling stories about the “old days.” Grandma’s legacy of weaving and telling stories lives on through me. I may exhibit the skills differently, but they are at their core, descended from my beloved Grandma Lillie. I was, and still am, her greatest fan.
Say, if anyone has any old ladies stockings lying about, for goodness sake, don’t throw them away! I’m thinking of weaving a rug. Oh, and I’ll take old pantyhose if that’s all you have, I’ll cut the panty part off – gotta move with the times.
6. The Grand Finale
Behold! Here are some of the fabulous, spoken word artists for my Artist in Residence installation at the Haley-Henman Gallery. Interweaving ran from June-August 2016. My process driven installation encouraged active community participation to promote unity. My guest speakers were a vital part of my concept. Their storytelling, poems, and music were the invisible "threads", unseen, but very real, uniting us together every time we gathered in the space. Their words encouraged creative thought that was then translated on the papers that became a part of the mini webs. Thank you and bless you dear ones!
Interweaving guests were asked to respond to their experience of the space and speakers. They documented their responses on transparent papers as drawings, doodles, writings. In turn, I responded to their papers by creating small webs & the like that "floated" on the interwoven threads throughout the room. The space became the embodiment of all who crossed into it; one great, collective, creative response to story, the "spoken word". Each story, each paper, was celebrated for it's unique individualism, and embraced (interwoven). We were united, woven together, for however briefly through this experience. (I made over 100 of these in 3 months!) Special Thank you to Haley-Henman Contemporary Gallery!