I've having an amazing time in Oakland California on my mentorship residency wih Susan Taber Avila. I'm getting myself oriented in the Piedmont neighbourhood I'm staying in and I have a bicycle for the ride to Emeryville where Susan's studio is located. I'm here to research industrial sewing machines and learn from an expert in the field. I'm so amazed with the scope and scale of Susan's art practice and her fabrication methods.
This week, I've been working on the single needle industrial sewing machine. I've been sewing long lines of stiches on a disolving interfacing. Four passes of stiching in each direction to create a grid and diagonals.
This will then be sewn to another piece of cloth just like it and then all layers will be passed through the industrial programmable emboidery machine.
Here is Rumiko, one of Susan's student interns, monitoring the industrial emboidery machine. Once all the words are embroidered on, the whole thing will be washed to dissolve the interfacing. Then it can be dyed.
Here is Susan (left) and Susan's mum Ruth, who was visting for the weekend. Much of the material in Susan's sculptures, dresses and 2d wall hangings are made from recycled thread and yarn and resewn into a fabric. The threads are leftovers from the clothing manufacturer that had been located in her studio space. It was a huge company and they left A LOT a thread.
Here is Maria, one of Susan's interns, dyeing bags of thread.
Here is Maria doing dye test for the perfect blue colour.
These health tips will be stamped onto this huge wall piece (pic below)
At the end of the week, I've barely scratched the surface of all the exciting and innovative echniques that are happening in Susan's studio. I'm just taking it all in and enjoying every minute.
Another cool thing is that Pixar (PIXAR!!!) is right around the corner, literally, from Susan's studio.