New ‘Underfoot’ art exhibit opens in Wesleyan’s Sleeth Gallery

Please join the Sleeth Gallery at West Virginia Wesleyan College in celebrating the opening of ‘Underfoot’ by Blake and Hannah March Sanders.

On Friday from noon to 3 p.m. Hannah will be leading a workshop in Haymond Room 22 on how to freeform crochet with upcycled materials. You don’t want to miss this opportunity. 

The event is free and open to the public. The gallery will collect donations for Hannah’s workshop if you are willing and able to donate, but it is not mandatory. 

Exhibition Dates: November 3 – December 2, 2022

Gallery Hours for Fall 2022 Semester
M/W: 12:30p-3:30p
T/TH: 10:30a-12:30p & 2-4:30
F:10:30a-2:30 & 3:30-5:30 or by appointment

The gallery has beem temporarily relocated to the basement of the Wesley Chapel.

Bio: Blake and Hannah March Sanders are artists and educators working collaboratively as Orange Barrel Industries, a creative and curatorial partnership that travels around the world presenting lectures, workshops, exhibitions, and demonstrations in printmaking, drawing, and fiber art installation. This year they were awarded the Windgate Distinguished Fellowship in Craft for their residency at Hambidge Center. They frequently present community-based workshops and events at places such as Lawrence Print Week in KS and Frogman’s Print Workshop in NE. Recent exhibitions include solo shows at Blackburn College in Carlinville, IL; the Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts in Lubbock, TX; Spring Hill College in Mobile, AL; the St. Louis Artist’s Guild in MO; and University of the Ozarks in Clarksville, AR. They currently teach foundations and printmaking at Southeast Missouri State University, where Hannah is an Associate Professor.

Artist Statement: Our work juxtaposes the nuclear family and over-consumption of natural resources as complementary metaphors, rife with drama that can leave an impact far from home. Collaborative pieces are slip knotted together in a delicate crocheted balance, a give and take that mimics the efforts of our domestic partnership to share duties at home, much the way we feel stewardship and accountability of this planet should function. Text elements share connotations in the domestic and ecological spheres. Executed using craft methods and repurposed remnants worn out from daily wear and tear, these works simultaneously exhibit the detritus of home life while thwarting our instincts toward quick consumption.

Crocheted pieces incorporate proofs on fabric, used clothes and linens from our home, our friends and family, and even strangers—who become unwitting collaborators. The resulting Footprints document the ephemera of our shared lives, literally linking the contributors together, emphasizing our mutual history and considered future. The conservation employed in these projects promotes practices that ensure there are resources for all, and messes for no one, in the metaphorical neighborhood.

Crocheted vistas also serve to engross our two children, who are by necessity members of our collaborations, acting upon the work as we share time and space. Parenthood, bound with our creative practice, has motivated an evolution toward greener, thriftier methods to reduce impact, and to model behaviors for a more sustainable future. Labored, repetitive processes such as printmaking, hand quilting, and crochet serve as a contrast to the immediacy of the desire for convenience, allowing the viewer an opportunity to reflect on how efficiencies in manufacturing, nourishment, information, and entertainment enrich their lives, sometimes at the expense of our common experiences and environs.

Choosing to have children has strengthened our resolve that the best way to assure happy, healthy kids is to create bonds with and promote an equitable future for neighbors, community, and society at large. We reject the trope “good fences make good neighbors”, preferring a literal and metaphorical neighborhood that respects privacy but rejects partitions that make it easy to abstract and dehumanize the folks on the other side.

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