Friday, August 10, 2012

Urban Renewal: Celebrating Uptown

I just finished a very small piece (emphasis on the "very" -- it's 5" x 7") that I started in March at a Valerie Goodwin "Famous Places" workshop.

 I love the architectural aesthetic that Valerie brings to her own work and to her teaching:  maps and blueprints, her use of line, the ways in which she incorporates map symbols and architectural elements into her pieces.   

"Urban Renewal" came out of a warm-up exercise that Valerie assigned.  She asked us to create a simple in which two "structure" words (nouns) were linked by a verb.  The possibilities are endless:  "bridge crosses river," "islands dot ocean,""path meets forest edge."  The challenge was to take that sentence and interpret it in fabric.

I decided to celebrate changes in uptown Charlotte (NC) with the following sentence:  "Tracks revive city streets."

For many years, uptown Charlotte was a carbon copy of many urban centers:  a once bustling shopping district abandoned in favor of outlying malls and suburban living.  Over the past decade, however, Uptown (this time with a capital "U") is back with a vengeance.  A sleek new lightrail system (The Lynx)... transporting people to center city - to restaurants and stores, a fabulous museum district, and multiple performance spaces.

Perhaps it's my city roots and those countless subway rides from Brooklyn to Manhattan, but for me, the tracks bisecting Charlotte are synonymous with uptown's resurgence and city life at its best.   And this piece seemed an ideal way to highlight the "new" uptown.

"Urban Renewal"

 Materials:  cotton, crinoline, satin ribbon, silk, burnout velvet, organza, beaded embellishment


Valerie suggested that we incorporate our inspiration sentence into the piece.  It seemed appropriate to place it right along the fabric tracks....

Tracks revive city streets.

But I also added another that would also show how the city has welcomed the changes brought on by the Lynx: 

City streets embrace tracks.

It brings back memories of those hours on the old Lexington Avenue IRT

File:Nyc transit authority token.png.

Cheers to all!