“Stigmata”, 2014. Fiber dipped in Wax.
During this week I have spent around sixty hours in my studio focusing on my conceptual and material growth. As discussed in the last post, material experimentation is very important to my work at this time. While I’ve found a cozy space in the world of Fiber Sculpture, experimentation and constant play with materials is necessary for my personal growth as an artist as I prepare for the future, whether that be graduate school or beginning my own studio practice that is unguided by faculty.
“Stigmata”, 2014 is a work that I fabricated during this sixty hour reflection time. Primarily dipped into wax to be then cast in a mold for other materials, I found these two forms to be suitable as finished works without further manipulation. Thus began my thought process about the materials being used: recycled fiber and brown foundry wax. What did this combination mean? How does it relate to the message I am trying to discuss in my concepts? I think the best way to answer this question is to discuss the title of the work.
Stigmata(plural of stigma)(n):
a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person.
“the stigma of mental disorder”
A mark of disgrace. This sentence ran through my mind as I attempted to understand why I felt it was the best name for this work. I began to think of my expectations of the comfort object I love so much, the woobie. I’ve always preferred and, at times, felt it to be mandatory that the woobie be stark white. Any sort of defect with the transitional object made it unusable in my mind. This thought process started to shift as I started manipulating the material myself; ripping, cutting, resewing, and cream also became an appropriate color for the woobie.
“Stigma 1”, 2014. Fiber dipped in Wax.
I then took it a step futher. I began to think about the manipulation I was striving to achieve in my experimentation of materials and how that relates to this work. The goal at this point is to introduce fibers in a way that either the fibers are majorly altered or no longer existent in the work. So, this work was dipped into the brown foundry wax. This is rather significant, because due to the temperature of the melted wax, the fibers tend to melt during the dipping process. This allows the fibers to transform into a new material while still keeping their skeletal shape. Now, comparing this process to the previous assigned necessities of what a woobie is, this is a stain. It is a mark of distain. It is a stigma. The skeletal forms of what once was solely fiber hang stagnant, as a reminder of the material and its previous properties, and also confronts the viewer with a new material to investigate.
“Stigma 2”, 2014. Fiber dipped in Wax.
Next, I felt I should think about the way this work relates to my concepts and the body of work I’ve been constructing over the course of the year. I’ve determined the wax can be thought of in a variety of ways; these are the ways I like most: wax as a representation of distain for comfort items, wax as a representation of mental destruction due to the missing comfort item, and lastly, wax as anxiety.