Artist: Cayrn Aasness
Media: Weaving, Cloth
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Dr. Maxine Merlino Gallery
For this week’s artist conversation I had the chance to talk with Caryn Aasness. Caryn put on an exhibition in the Merlino Gallery at CSULB. Caryn is a senior at CSULB, pursuing a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in Fiber Art. In her exhibition she shows her appreciation for weaving. She also incorporated sewing and embroidery techniques which were passed down to her from her grandmother. Caryn started to weave about two years ago as she was interested in learning some sort of trade involving textiles.
Caryn’s exhibition is comprised of weaves. At first sight it seems as though there are basically just weaved pieces up on the wall, but the weaves are much more complex than this. Next to each piece is a chart that is twenty-six boxes wide. These twenty-six boxes are for each letter of the alphabet. Within the chart a letter is filled into a box where the letter is to be filled in on the weave. On the actual weaves, you can see where the letter hits as the box on the weave is raised, to make these boxes stand out she used the supplemental warp technique. The largest weave is at the back of the room. This weave is much bigger than the rest and it has a large quote which reads, “TO CALL IT CUTE IS TO MISUNDERSTAND”. This quote was used so that viewers of the exhibition wouldn’t question the context of what she is saying with her work. Caryn said that she averaged about twenty hours on the loom for each weave piece.
When talking with Caryn, I asked her how she got into weaving. Her response was that she was very interested in textiles and desired to acquire a trade involving textiles, which is what lead her to learn how to weave. I then asked her if weaving is prominent in her family, to which she said that no one in her family weaves but her grandmother did teach her how to sew and embroider. Since I did not initially understand the coding within the weaves I had to ask Caryn what exactly the charts meant. She explained how the chart represents each letter of the alphabet; the charts have messages within them but to decode them you must read the chart from top to bottom. The messages within the charts are quotes which Caryn collected. The quotes all somewhat relate to the questioning of structures we live in everyday.
At first look, I thought the exhibition was just simply the pieces up on the wall and the large quote on the biggest piece in the back of the exhibition. I found it cool how Caryn created her own code of sorts and incorporated that into the weaves. This exhibition was partly inspired by Caryn’s dislike for structure. She said she doesn’t like structure, so she enjoyed creating her own structure in the exhibition. I very much enjoyed Caryn’s work, as well as the quotes she collected to incorporate into her work. My favorite quote from her work is, “In the days of youth I was told what it means to be a man.” This exhibition was great because we need artists to question social constructs put in place, some of which are hundreds of years old.