SEVEN-MONTH TEACHING ARTIST RESIDENCY + COLLABORATIVE INSTALLATION W/YOUTH OF 10 BOSTON NEIGHBORHOODS
1. Purchase random selections of vibrant second-hand garments from thrift stores in your neighborhood.
2. Choose 1 garment that you identify with, make drawings from it and create a story about an imagined character who may have worn it.
3. Look in the tag of your garment to find where it was made. Find this country on a world map and then on a map of the Museum of Fine Arts.
4. Travel the museum to find an artifact made in the same place as your garment and sketch from this artwork, noticing shapes, patterns, and symbols.
5. Develop your own design inspired by these drawings and transfer your image onto a silk screen using the drawing-fluid + screen filler technique
6. Print your screen onto a long strip of fabric, as many times as it will fit, to produce your own, original textile.
7. Contribute half of your printed fabric to a large collaborative quilt and keep the other half. Create something to wear to the public opening for Second Hands, your first museum exhibition!
Second Hands is an installation produced in collaboration with students from community organizations in ten different neighborhoods. The young Bostonians worked with artist Maria Molteni over seven months to create a multifaceted artwork inspired by the MFA’s collection and a global community of makers. Students selected their favorites from a variety of second-hand garments from their neighborhood thrift stores. They then sketched from these pieces, imagining characters who might have worn them and how such styles might be recycled. Checking the tags to find where their clothes were made, students then discovered those areas of the world via the museum's collection. Inspired by artifacts made in the same country as each garment, students designed and screen printed original, replicable patterns on fabric made in the United States.
The quilts on view were designed and sewn by Molteni who assembled the students’ fabrics to represent geospatial data found in their process. The patchwork triangles in the large quilt are color-coded by neighborhood and composed to reflect geographic regions of textile/garment production and museum collection. For the modular quilt, clippings of garments are arranged in the Log Cabin motif -- a symbol of home mapping ten Boston neighborhoods. Half of each student’s work was returned so they could create something to wear to the unveiling of Second Hands.
This installation reflects themes and relationships addressed throughout the program: craft and utility, imagination and storytelling, abstraction and mapping, recycling and production. The process was organic and fun while complex and thought-provoking. Lessons aimed to expand the role of the students as artists, observers, and members of their diverse communities and the world. Their journey introduced experiences, art making techniques, and even political issues they will revisit throughout their lives.
To the Linde Family, Museum of Fine Arts- Francisco Mendez-Diez, Caitlin Doyle, Rob Worstell, Emily Zilber and the amazing exhibitions team
Randi Shandroski, Martha Schieve, and Emma's Quilt Cupboard for their assistance executing two enormous quilts!