Tides Institute & Museum of Art
June 2022, Eastport, ME.
Images taken during the residency around Eastport and Moose Island
During my time as a StudioWorks resident, I worked with the Institute’s archives to explore local history of the sardine industry and its impact on Eastport’s community using my own old work pants transformed into paper combined with manipulated rust. In Eastport’s industrial seaside landscape, rust underscores material erosion and layers of history while the denim paper represents my past labor. Using imagery from my own body (Scars), the remnants of weirs and piers lingering from the sardine industry in Eastport’s landscape (Scar I-X), embossed flowers gathered from the island and poetry written by Edna St. Vincent Millay (Requiems), the final works reflect the layering of time, art, and industry on our understanding of an environment.
As a child, my family spent time vacationing on a remote island in Casco Bay, similar to poet Edna St. Vincent Millay’s love of life on the Maine coast and Ragged Island. Considering this past, I used the Tides Institute’s letterpress type and set ten sonnets by Millay chosen for their metaphors using the Maine seaside environment, work, and feminism, and embossed them into denim paper. To ensure the text would be visible, I added a layer of iron and rusted the paper. The resulting works display a condensed history of labor and ideas from both my own perspective and Millay’s.
Alongside the Millay poems, I gathered flowers from around Moose Island and embossed them using the etching press. To make the delicate blooms visible, I rusted the paper. Combining ephemeral spring flowers with my own paper made from used work pants along with rust creates a representation of many moments compressed into one. Delicate and strong, the flowers are caught at the height of their beauty and fertility while the rust underscores their fleeting beauty as they grown amongst the remnants of industry.
This school of sardines were modelled after sardine can designs available in the Tides archives. Labels were designed to entice consumers to purchase the sardines. Removed from their original context, the sardines swim and play in a self contained tin made of denim paper.