Most of you know that this weekend will be the Watermelon Carnival, but some of you may not know that for the last three years, this is also the time when the Pinehurst Artist Residency reveals the fruits of their artistic labors. Each year Mary Lapide, brings in an artist to stay at her family home in Coffeeville to explore an art project with the community at Yalo Studio.
This year Susan Cianciolo is the featured artist. Coming from New York, where she teaches fashion illustration and senior thesis classes at Pratt, she is putting together a textile project that is really a patchwork of inspiration and a fusion of the old and the new. Stepping into Yalo while she was telling me about her work, I was overwhelmed by all of the artistic eye candy.
There were paper patchworks of past drawings and previous project ideas taped to the wall, handmade and cast off clothing were piled on the counter to be used in a performance piece and two big quilted wall hangings were sitting on the floor waiting to be completed.
When asked what the inspiration for this work was, Cianciolo explained that she is inspired by her local environment and architecture and creates clothing and art that has “no season.” She likes the idea that “clothes do not go out of style.” She mixes old pieces in with the new often adding textiles that her and her friends have collected and that are sentimental to them. Gallery co-owner Coulter Fussell has contributed to the stash of collected fabrics and Megan Kingery Patton, her partner in the studio, will also be helping with the stitching.
A Mississippi State flag in disrepair that came from the Pinehurst property is being repaired with scraps and bits of treasured fabrics as well as bits taken by clothes from the flags previous owner, Mark Lapides. Mary started the residency in honor of her late brother who was an art collector and loved this part of the country. It is this type of sentimentality and emotion that drives this project. A sewing circle has been held this week to gather women from the community who wanted to take part in stitching the pieces which will hang on the walls.
Cianciolo mentioned that she was thrilled to have the “once in a lifetime opportunity” of being able to do such intensive research on a project while spending a week here in north Mississippi. I think the Valley will agree that this is also a special experience for the town to be able to host her.
The show will have an opening reception on Friday, August 1st from 6-8:30 p.m. It will be up for most of the month, and Bozarts Gallery will also make the night a special one for art lovers by opening its doors to the public for a special reception that night as well. Both Yalo and Bozarts are located on Main Street.
By Andi Bedsworth