• Connecting...? In a Virtual World

    Anna Ruth Gatlin (see profile)
    Research, Learning and scholarship, Textile fabrics, COVID-19 Pandemic (2020-), Beadwork
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    As humans, social connection is vital to wellbeing; industry is built on social and professional networks, and suddenly transitioning to an impersonal modality caused challenges for educators, office workers, students, and friends (Lal et al, 2021). Inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic and shift to remote learning and working, this work questions the nature of our connectedness in a digital world. To what degree we are truly connecting with one another via Zoom, email, social media, and the many other tools used during lockdown? Maybe these tools provided an authentic replacement for face-to-face interaction, or perhaps they were but a shadow of our lived experiences pre-pandemic. Size 11 Czech glass seed beads are monolithically beaded in a chevron pattern onto an 8”x8” stiffened muslin backing. The beaded muslin is integrated into the face of a 12”x12” pillow constructed of cotton quilting fabric, filled with a standard poly-fill batting. The image depicts a stylized early-nineties style DOS-prompt computer with detached peripheral keyboard and mouse. On the black and green screen is printed (beaded) the word “CONNECTING…” The 8-month process of executing the work began with concept development followed by experimentation with different types of fabric, pattern transfer techniques, and bead types. The artist had to negotiate the differences between nominal and actual sizes, limited colorways, and bead properties to achieve the desired results. 100 beaded lines in the design required about 17 hours to complete the pattern. While isolating, home shed its role as retreat (Byrne, 2020), and took on the mantle of front line (Galanti, 2021). Asking questions about connection in our digital world in the format of a decorative object designed for comfort examines the way we use our homes to connect to the world, and whether that connection is truly meaningful.
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    Conference proceeding    
    Last Updated:
    6 months ago
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