SSL Certificate

Sandra Brownlee and Warren Seelig

June 2013

Making Words

Course Description
We communicate with one another in a world saturated with words and information transmitted at lightning speed through text messages, email, Facebook, and all other forms of electronic media. In contrast, this workshop examines the idea of expressing words in a slow, visceral, and more sensual way. We will consider the possibility of taking words, making them tangible, and transforming them into physical objects through material thinking. We will emphasize the physical act of making as a way of clearing the mind of demands from the outside world, allowing the materials to suggest ways of working. Wrapping, binding, stitching, layering, dipping, twisting, painting, connecting, piercing, and attaching will be among our means of construction. By making words physical, students may discover the meaning of those words in a new and possibly more profound way.
A variety of lectures, demonstrations and group discussion will be offered in order to reinforce the goals of the workshop.

Supply List for Participants
Please select and bring with you 300 objects which you are in love with, deeply care about, and would enjoy working with. Those objects may be of any scale, hard or soft, durable or not, similar, dissimilar, identical or very different from one another. These objects will possibly give meaning to how and what you will choose to make with them.
Also, if you have them, please bring examples of your work (digital images, slides, photographs, or actual objects) to share with the class.
In addition, Following is an array of materials that will be useful in the workshop. Bring those items on the list that you already have and can transport easily. Materials will also be available in the studio for general use and for purchase from the Shakerag Store.

  • pliable, linear materials such as cotton string, cotton cord, seine twine, strong linen thread, sisal, jute, ribbon, bias tape, strong sewing thread (button hole twist, quilting thread), wire in different gauges, masking and other tapes
  • paper and fabric, varied weights and textures
  • miscellaneous art supplies such as acrylic paint, oil pastels, crayons, water color paints, gouache as well as assorted brushes and sponges
  • tools - scissors, awl, utility knife and blades, self-healing cutting surface, sewing needles, darning needles

All of these supplies will be available for purchase in the Shakerag store.

Skill Level

All levels are welcome.

Artists' Biographies

Sandra Brownlee
Sandra Brownlee earned her MFA in Fibers from Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and her BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University, Halifax, Nova Scotia. She has received numerous awards including a Pew Fellowship in the Arts, a Leeway Foundation Grant for Excellence in Fiber Art, a National Endowment for the Arts Grant, and a Canada Council B Grant. She has exhibited her work extensively in the USA and Canada in both solo and group exhibitions since the late 1970’s. Parallel to her work as an artist, Sandra Brownlee has been an active teacher for 40 years. She lives in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia where she pursues her ongoing interests in weaving, notebook keeping, and teaching.

Warren Brownlee
Warren Seelig lives and works in Rockland, Maine. He holds the rank of distinguished visiting professor in the Craft/Fibers program at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where he teaches, curates, and writes on various subjects related to fiber, textiles, and material studies. He received a BS from the Philadelphia College of Textiles & Science and an MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art. Warren has twice received individual fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and three fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. His work has been included in more than 30 major museum exhibitions in the United States, Europe, Japan, and Korea, with many solo and group exhibitions worldwide. He has lectured extensively, including programs at the Korean National University of the Arts, The Gerritt Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, and the Royal College of Art in London. He has written extensively for American Craft, Fiber Arts, Surface Design Journal, Textile Forum, and Nouvel Objet. His work is in the collections of museums, colleges, and private and corporate collections. Warren is a regular visiting critic at the Rhode Island School of Design and is a mentor in the graduate program at Maine College of Art. He was elected a Fellow of the American Crafts Council and was a member of its board. Warren and his partner and wife, Sherrie Gibson, recently installed a commission of three suspended sculptures at the entry to the new American Embassy in Monrovia, Liberia.

Artists' Statements

Sandra Brownlee
I trust the intuitive and the spontaneous. Through my senses, particularly the tactile and visual, I come to understand words. Through touching, stitching, gathering, and working in my notebooks their meanings become clear. The tactile component allows me to respond and improvise. It focuses me so that the rest of the world falls away and I become engaged in the creative process.

Warren Seelig
I think of Materiality as a large but elusive idea which may, in part, be understood as the re-awakening of a primal force which lies deep in the mind and body of each of us. A great thrill for me as a teacher is to observe the way very beginning students first confront and then become attracted to materials they have never seen or touched, often discovering the potential of ordinary materials to become something extraordinary.

Warren Seelig's Website

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