TEXT: SHANNON WEBER
am enthralled by how nature works with us and around us. I engage with it most days while working outdoors. I have always worked outside whenever possible and while I can sit in my studio, I would rather be inspired by the sounds around me, listening to the wind, watching the water, or hearing the crackle of the bonfire while I work. It’s the raw elements of any kind of day that speak of what I try to translate in my designs. It’s how I started working and it’s how I approach my work today.
I have been a self-educated, working studio artist and instructor for 30 years working in 3-D fiber sculpture. My attraction to working with Fiber is in the options it presents in its ability to shape-shift when using a variety of reclaimed materials and found objects. By applying ancient techniques and transitioning to contemporary designs, I can achieve my desired effects by using a mixture of repetitive layers, weaving, stitching, and cold connections along with painting and encaustic. These multiple applications make it very easy to blend metal, wire, rubber, and organic materials of all kinds. Each layer of material mixed with different techniques begins to build structure that gives the objects and vessels their form and opens doors for detailed surface design embellishments of all kinds. While the form is taking shape, I consider it an amulet or talisman to be displayed in a personal space.
I am currently working with reclaimed construction wire and paper, along with found objects, with encaustic overlays for upcoming exhibits in 2015. Some have termed this as “recycling.” However this is how I have always worked, I have never considered it beyond anything other than using all possibilities available.
Intellectually, humans own this genetic history, “we are makers”, and are known to use what we have. My choice in materials would be Pacific sea kelps, and coastal debris of which I have a long lasting affair and bring their own mythologies of place. The benefits of working with raw organic materials, is that they provide a rich dialog to every design. But, I will engage with what I have. I allow designs to change and I can effortlessly move from one design to the other, often having a multiple works in process, moving in different directions with the only limitations being the materials I have available. I work without restrictions on what can be used. I am open to experimenting with almost any material to see what becomes of it. When getting to know new materials I often boil them, set on them fire, or pound them with rocks, transferring marks and making them more flexible. If I don’t get the outcome I was hoping for, I rethink and try again later. There are no set rules if something is not working, I have come away with something learned which can be used to advance another design thought later. I often salvage the better layers of a “failed” design to be cut out and be reworked or reapplied to another design. All options remain open.
To learn more about Shannon and upcoming workshops, please visit www.shannonweber.com.