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VISUAL SOUND—Some Notes

August 29, 2017

How do you see sound? That was my initial response to Karol Kusmaul’s first prompt for our newly formed fiber group Cloth in Common. Her exact prompt was to “make an art piece about sound of some sort”.

 

Each of our senses gives us specific information. Our eyes show us if we are looking at the trees or the forest.

 

 

 

Our taste buds make sure we know if we are drinking tequila or tea.

 

 

 

 

Our skin lets us know we have just put on a wool sweater instead of a fleece one.

 

 

Our noses—without any other information— smells the difference between a urinal and a spa.

 

 

Our ears hear the difference between the sounds of a loved one or a PSA.

 

 

Simultaneously, each sense also works in the service of others. Everyone knows that the nose does some work in smelling that Jose Cuervo, and the skin is a bodysuit of information beyond merely recognizing cloth.

 

Right now, I am hearing the sound of an airplane engine below me. I can also feel its vibration on my skin. I am feeling sound. 

 

 

When we watch a movie without sound, we look for other clues to tell the narrative. A visually slammed door can do the same work as heard slammed door. We all know what a kiss sounds like even with the volume turned way down.

 

 

Pattern and repetition are core components of music—the art form most closely related to sound. 

 

When you SEE a sound wave, there is not only pattern and repetition, but also the color of the sound.

 

 

Pattern, repetition, and color are the central tenets of my work. 

 

Can art mimic the pattern, repetition, and color of sound? As I was asking myself this question, I was moving through the Denver Art Museum and landed in front of this piece created by Navajo artist Mamie P. Begay.

 

 

In addition to creating work in response to a prompt, we are also challenged to work within one of three sizes. I will be piecing my work to fill a 30’’ x 40’’ space. To help me focus on this, I marked the territory on my design wall.

 

 

I’ve started stitching sound.

 

 

What does sound make you think about? 

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