Week 9 – Artist Conversation – Alicia Keyworth
Artist: Alicia Keyworth
Media: Denim Jeans, Cotton Thread dyed with Indigo, Yarn Scraps
Gallery: Dennis W. Dutzi Gallery
This week I had the pleasure of conversation with Alicia Keyworth. She is a current CSULB student who is in her final year and attempting to get her BFA in fiber. She currently works as a lab tech in one of the art departments on campus and usually cleans up when they day is done. This is partly where her idea came from for her installation of Oddments. In the future she hopes to become an art teacher with her credentials but still does not know what grade she would like to focus on. This is her first solo show in the galleries but has previously done group work. Like many of us; Alicia is interested and concerned about the population consumption and waste of material goods. Her installation presents an alternate to such waste that we produce from minor goods.
The Dutzi gallery is a very small space so it is a nice area to present your idea intimately. The gallery is lit in white and has the doors open to give it natural light and give a feeling of openness. The gallery also has a particular smell to it. It sells like fabric and incents although there are no incents. On the floor there are 3 pieces that are made to represent sitting furniture but look like bean bags. From afar the bags look like they are made from a few large pieces of fabric, but up close you can tell that they are made from hundreds if not thousands of individual pieces of thread and fabric that have come together. The main color tone of them is blue but also has threads of red, yellow and white. Hanging around the gallery are also several pieces of clothing that were made by Alicia. There are two vests like looking pieces. The first is on the left of the gallery and appears to be a larger fit as for a man because of its broader shoulders. This has a mostly blue tone and is shaped as a “V” with no sleeves. On the other side of the gallery there is a more feminine looking top that appears to be fitted smaller. This top has a horizontal line pattern in white, black, gray and a sand color. It is a sleeveless piece with a v neck and the left side of the top is longer than the right. Finally, in between the two tops, in the corner there is what appears to be a dress hanging. After speaking to Alicia she clarified that it was a jumpsuit. This jumpsuit has a main tone of tan and yellow with scraps of other threads sewn in. It has straps and has lengthy side drapes while the middle is shorter. It’s a very nice jumpsuit and can defiantly be a piece that many would include in their wardrobe.
Alicia Keyworth’s installation; Oddments, took quite an amount of time to create. The idea stemmed form several eye opening experiences she had recently been through. Alicia works as a lab tech in the art department and usually picks up materials discarded at the end of the day. The amount of material that is wasted or thrown out at the end of the day was astonishing to her. She saw firsthand the amount of waste that we produce. Alicia also saw a documentary called “ the true cost” directed by Andrew Morgan, that gives an inside look at the mass production, waste of materials and the horrible conditions that people in other countries are put through to produce these items. Alicia is strongly against such treatment of people, along with the poor quality of much of the product they are forced to make. She is also not very fond of Forever 21 products. She says that the quality of their work is not good and the sweatshops are some of the worst. Although she is not forcing ideas on anyone; she does advise to shop mindfully. Alicia advises to make sure that products bought are environmentally justified, of good quality, and come from producers who are well established and provide their workers with good working conditions. Alicia says that Oddments was an eye opening experience because she worked everything by hand. After collecting she cleaned and sewed all the pieces together which took a substantial amount of time. After deeper though she established that her sitting furniture, although they are chairs of some sort, are actually supposed to represent landfills. It is the meeting point of all that we have discarded. She also mentioned that the seats are stuffed with donated clothes that she got from her family and friends. Along with shopping at 2nd hand stress for her wardrobe she also makes several of her own pieces and also tries to but articles of clothing that have some sort of culture and craft behind it. She values this more than anything else and tries to show this through her installation.
I really liked Oddments by Alicia Keyworth. The first thing I noticed when I walked in was the smell of the gallery. It kind of had a mixture of incents and wilderness. It transported me to somewhere else; it was weird and different but very cool. The clothing pieces were very beautiful and appeared cultural. My favorite was the yellow jumpsuit in the corner. It was very interesting to see that such a variety of thread and fabric would create something so nice and fashionable. I can see myself owning that piece for next summer, as I’m sure many other people would agree. The sitting furniture was also very cool. They did remind me of bean bags, but these were with style and I think that many people would purchase them for their living spaces. Once you look at Alicia’s statement and hear her thoughts about the installation you realize that there is a lesson behind. The installation showed me that there really is no need for waste, whatever is discarded after making one piece can be used to make something else. Even though Alicia’s installation took a long time; corporations have machines and more hands to work at a faster pace, so I know that it is possible. This installation reminded me to shop mindfully; there are so many articles of clothing that I have only worn once and spent a lot of money on. I admit that sometimes I still shop at Forever 21 and maybe that is not such a great idea anymore. I will try to buy clothing that has more of caution environmentally and come from producers that are well qualified. Since Alicia worked on these garments, I hope that in the future she decides to make more and sells them to the public; I am sure she would have a long list of buyers.