The Concept

by Molly Sydnor


A quick raw preview into my brain, concept, and the ideas behind Soft Serve... (This is not well written....it is a journal... I am still brainstorming through the statement process)

I was listening to a podcast that featured a woman who was raising biracial children. She didn't understand what it meant to be black, live black, experience life less privileged in this "post racial society" everyone keeps talking about. That is, until she experienced oppression through her children. She told a couple stories about the racism they received, how it made her feel, and how hard it was to explain to her children. The thing that stood out to me was her feelings on the word "Mixed". She said people ask her what her kids are mixed with and her reaction is "they are not an ice cream flavor". This was the birth of "Soft Serve" the concept.

 Photograph by Paxton Maroney from The Pin Show 2017

Photograph by Paxton Maroney from The Pin Show 2017

Brainstorming words: (abbreviated list)

Mixed

Muti

Woven

Integration

Dualities

Identity

Body

Blended

Translucent

Layers

Raw

Heritage

Race

Background

Cohesion

Skin

Vibrations

Asymmetric

DNA

 

Questions:

What are you mixed with?

Who are you?

Where are you from?

What are you?

Textile is appropriated. Blackness is also appropriated. Both are used, abused, and their history is ignored. The history of textile has changed from a technique longed to master from culture to culture, to a quick trend. Digitally printed onto random material for fast fashion, to be worn and then thrown away...disregarded. Why am I constantly seeing bogolanfini, a traditional mud dye technique from Mali, being printed on stretch leggings at urban outfitters? Why are the Kardashians wearing corn rows, box braids, big butts, and full lips? Why is Ikat... a very complex and complicated woven technique being printed? I ask myself these questions as I weave scraps of different fibers found, cut, salvaged. I play with the juxtaposition of color and material.. reused tshirts and scrap yarn that would have otherwise be tossed out, just like the history of my ancestors and the masters of these traditional textile crafts.  

I wanted to work with the ideas of dualities. Knits vs Wovens, White vs. Black, textured vs. smooth, translucent vs. opaque. I am pushing and pulling fashion and sculpture, Fashion vs. Sculpture. In hopes to draw in the attention to the Avant garde sculpture of my textile, the fashion begins to pop. Are you drawn in? Good! Now that I have your attention... hear my concept. Hear my ideas. I hide conceptual ideas in bright fun artwork. I want to visually stimulate you with hidden layers of storytelling about the complexity of race and sex vs the simplicities of humanity. This is the human experience. How do we take up space in relation to one another? This brings soft serve full circle... what are you mixed with?