Monday, June 25, 2018

The Cocoon by Rensing Fellow art resident Susan Lenz

Susan Lenz
Columbia, South Carolina
June 2018

The Cocoon by Rensing Fellow art resident Susan Lenz

(Above:  One completed section of my fiber installation, The Cocoon, with my Bernina sewing machine in the foreground.  Click on any image in this post to enlarge.)

My name is Susan Lenz.  I'm a fiber and installation artist from Columbia, South Carolina and very happy to be back at the Rensing Center for a five-week art residency.  I was here for just three weeks during the summer of 2015.  At that time, I worked on several projects but this time is quite different!

(Above:  The Cocoon in progress inside the Rensing Center "Pottery", one of the accommodations here at the Rensing Center that functions as both studio and apartment.)

I sent a proposal asking for time and space in which to create a two-sided, fiber enclosure from an enormous stash of vintage household linens, antique garments, buttons, lace, and other collected textiles. I'm quite grateful by the acceptance of this proposal. 


I'm calling the installation The Cocoon.  It is being made on a specialized pipe assemblage system that is ordinarily used to create individual booths on a convention center floor.  The South Carolina Arts Commission awarded me a quarterly artist project grant to assist with the cost of this structure.  I got enough pipes to create up to a 20' x 20' cube.  The system is quite flexible though and various other, smaller dimensions will be possible as needed to future opportunities.


I envision this installation as a 21st century quilting bee without the strict demands of stitched perfection, pattern, or function for bedding.  The enclosure will become a fun, comfortable way to share common threads between people of all ages, races, and cultural backgrounds. 

From the beginning, I've wanted this fiber installation to do several things.  I wanted to have a place where a mother and child could thread a needle, fasten a button onto a piece of cloth or learn a basic running stitch. I wanted people of all ages to share stories of family members who quilted, stitched, made all the garments for their family or crocheted doilies for the house.  I also wanted to inspire others to DO SOMETHING with their treasured textiles.

I am most pleased that the Rensing Center will be hosting the first public viewing for The Cocoon in the Rensing Library on Thursday, July 12 from 6 - 8.  If in the area, please consider this your invitation!

As a regular blogger, I've been documenting this installation and am already receiving positive feedback from readers.  My posts to date include:

ARRIVAL at the Rensing Center

The First Week

A YoYo Couple of Days

Two Weeks Completed

Check back as I will put up at least one other post before the July 12th reception!