Fiber and textile artist Meghan Lancaster is making a map of Tacoma. But don’t expect to find familiar landmarks on it. It’s an expressionistic map, one that will introduce itself first in a cartoon drawn on the window of her Maggie D Studios at 1114 Pacific Ave., and later, in a rich, three-dimensional rendering built up piece by piece with a variety of textile techniques, that will be displayed in the window through mid-September. “My ideas are still evolving and will continue to do so throughout the process,” she says. The three-month project, supported by Spaceworks Tacoma, will offer passersby the unique opportunity of seeing how a site-specific installation develops from an idea into a complex work of art. The “map” will include “certain iconic locations and structures that particularly appeal to me. Some I see daily, [while others] are unfamiliar and idealized.”
Design and construction of the mixed-media, fiber art piece will involve multiple sewing and assemblage processes, and a fascinating array of raw materials. Lancaster will create portions of the work in her “fishbowl window,” allowing a close-up look at the piece’s intricate open and closed structures, surface texture and relief. The artist achieves her sensuous, topographical landscapes through skills including “machine knitting and sewing, large-scale bobbin or pillow lace, tapestry and weaving. I may dye or print some of the textile structures.” The cartoon blueprint drawn directly on the window is an idea adapted from tapestry weaving, and intended to show how the piece will grow over the course of time.
Lancaster received her MFA from the University of California at Davis, and taught design at a community college in northern Arizona for four years; she has been a Tacoma resident for one year. “I think I’d like to stay in Tacoma. I like the ambiance – the echo of grittiness that reminds me of the East Coast cities of my youth, the vibrant art scene, UWT. I love how small it is physically, compared to Seattle, and yet how diverse the neighborhoods are.” Follow the thread of the artist’s exploration of T-town at Maggie D Studios. And check out more of her work at Tacoma Art Place. Maggie D Studios, 1114 Pacific Ave., through mid-Sept., 2010; www.maggiedstudios.com