Complete Thought, 2014-2015, loose-leaf paper, thread, crystal beads, heirloom kitchen chairs, and table (custom built by the artist’s father, Charles Wagstaff)
*photos from Pop-Up installation at The Haven in Charlottesville, VA
Loose-leaf Paper: Its format is meant to organize writing. Mostly garbage writing that will end up in the landfill: school notes, love letters, to-do lists, the next great novel, or whatever. Anything. Great things and garbage things. But I am attracted to the structure of loose-leaf paper, because if you use it, it makes ‘great things and garbage things’ look contained. It’s such a wonderful object.
I think it was one day while babysitting last summer when I realized that loose-leaf paper is an unfinished loom. The blue lines and the pink lines make a great structure on their own, but the blue lines are also like ‘weft’ threads on a loom that provide the structure for the ‘warp’ threads.
I decided to ‘finish’ a page with blue and pink threads that matched the lines of the paper. I didn’t feel like I could use other colors without leaving behind or disregarding what the paper had to offer. I cared about the identity of the paper as an object; I didn’t want to use it as just another surface for invention or decoration. It was more about finishing the conversation: replying using the language of the material.
Eventually I felt the urge to expand. Instead of using a single page as a guide, I decided to combine multiple pages, using the lines as the guide to connect all the pages. Pink thread connects all the pink lines. Blue thread connects the top and bottom blue lines. White thread travels through white space to fill in all the holes with crystal beads. Some of my sewn lines are dotted and some solid based on whether or not the paper provided it’s own line in the conversation.
Decisions were made intuitively and discoveries were made along the way. Sometimes lines didn’t match up, and my threads traveled in curves. If I noticed that something needed a connection, I made it. And that would create a ‘rule’ that would be repeated across the whole quilt…
…until disparate lines connected and all the holes were filled, completing the thought.
For more information about “Complete Thought,” check out this profile of Amanda by Elizabeth Derby in the C-ville Weekly.
All images © Amanda Wagstaff