Tuesday, August 29, 2017
New Cortland Senior Project
Julia, Kay's other intern and I had the pleasure of being Kay's assistants on a great project head started by The Center For Emerging Visual Artists. It is the second time I have worked with this organization and on this particular program that is in collaboration with the New Cortland assisted living facility and local Philadelphia artists. I did the same project with the artist Margarita Hagan the previous summer and had such a fulfilling experience, so when Kay asked if I was interested I was so excited to get the opportunity to do it again!
I worked with various seniors but mainly I assisted Malverce with the project a sweet old lady from Philadelphia. First we made booklets that consisted of different interview questions that related to the project, which centered around lost objects and memories of your first family home. It was definitely a challenge as most of the seniors memories of their childhood homes was foggy but with a lot of patience and repetition I discovered that Malverce would love to help her mother cook in the kitchen, climbing on cabinets and fetching different ingredients for her mother while she cooked. In the evenings her family would sit on her porch and while her Uncle sang, her brother would teach her how to dance, a secret skill her brother had acclaimed and never told anyone how. That is how we came to Malverce's lost object, she danced until one day her shoes mysteriously disappeared and that was the last time she remembers dancing!
We then proceeded on making molds so that we could make casts of every seniors hands, these hands will be attached to fabric arms and will be holding each seniors lost object, displayed along side their interviews. It was so fascinating to see how instantly all the group responded to playing with the clay in their hands and wedging it into our cardboard boxes. Afterwards once sealed Kay showed us the assistants how to mix the plaster, a job a little messy for the rest of the group, when the perfect consistency we poured the plaster into the box and carefully placed Malverce's hand on the surface, she was so patient through the whole project and was completely happy just relaxing and waiting for the mold to form! Once dry we pushed in the clay and slowly peeled it from the mold! After Kay fired the hands we glazed our clay hands!
The whole experience was great and I look forward to seeing the show in April and having the group see this beautiful piece they helped construct, it really is true that art is ageless.