When I first learned that Wisconsinites called water fountains “bubblers” I laughed and thought it was ridiculous.
Now, after more than six years of living in Wisconsin, I’ll be the artist-in-residence in the Bubbler program at Madison’s Central Public Library, and that whimsical, little word will be on my C.V. until the end of time, because the Internet forgets nothing. This is why you shouldn’t make fun of people’s colloquialisms.
In all seriousness, though, I’m super excited for this! I just finished moving into my new studio at the library. For the next two months, this glorious workspace will be mine to imagine and create in.
So what will I be making?
I’ll be creating an installation of larger-than-life migratory birds made of reclaimed fabric, that will be taking flight from the ceiling of the children’s library. The title of the project is In Unison, a tribute to how birds fly in flocks so that they might take turns leading and riding one another’s air currents, and also the necessary role that settling and migrating both play in our lives.
The reclaimed clothing is important, too. The textile and fast fashion industry have created more clothing than our culture can possibly consume, and with that a negative, self-feeding cycle of waste, shopping addiction and misplaced “goodwill” when we donate our old clothes to countries that don’t want them either. Much of this clothing is poorly made and consists of polyester, which can’t be broken down or recycled. So part of the function of this project is to take back some of this clothing into a new “ecosystem,” one that binds diverse, discarded fabrics together into new beings that beckon us not to vilify the flaws of our past design but to instead look up in wonder. And when we dream better, we can then do better.
So how can you help?
I need clothing and fabric!! We have collection bins throughout the library for you to drop off your wares. If you’re not in Madison but want to contribute, I’m happy to take a shipment. In February, I’ll also be asking people to come help with sewing, so if you or someone you know might be interested, come/send them my way.
Want to learn more?
You can read more about my project on the Bubbler’s website and also listen to my interview with WORT 89.9 FM below.
**I’m currently accepting clothing/fabric donations at the library (as well as by mail if anyone lives far away but still wants to contribute).