Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Known Unknown

The familiar can also be the estranged. What we believe we know all too well can suddenly reveal itself as something alien although not insurmountable. One perspective does not necessarily meet another, each of us comes to all things with our own version of events. Do not discount our personal perspective, automatically adopting that of another. There are those who say you can never go home again while others believe that home is entirely to be achieved once again.

Jennifer Drinkwater lives and works in Ames, Iowa where she teaches at Iowa State University and works as a professional artist. Drinkwater move to Iowa after graduate school, having grown up in Mississippi so the rural scene was familiar to her. She enjoys living off the beaten path, in a sense. Drinkwater says in a place like Ames an artist can build their community rather than having to fit into an already established art scene. In addition to teaching, Drinkwater works as an outreach specialist, acting as liaison between the art world and the community.

Much of the work Drinkwater does attempts to incorporate the community, particularly those within the community who don’t necessarily consider themselves artists. For one project, Drinkwater collaborated with people in 14 states including Iowa to cover a building in small knit squares. When the project was complete, the knit pieces were turned into blankets that were given to youth transitioning from foster care to their first adult living situation.

In her own studio, Drinkwater is working on a long-term project cross stitching lifesized Time and People magazine cover replicas. The project title, 168 Hours, refers to the amount time magazines spend on the newsstand as well as being a nod to the hours it takes to create these pieces. The embroideries are about 8×10 inches and meticulously detailed. The project explores the parallel between embroidery which is considered a craft and often seen as sitting outside of fine art, with magazines that are perhaps not considered hard journalism. It is her hope that all 24 she intends for the series will be completed within a two year period.

To hear more about Jennifer Drinkwater’s personal art practice, community-based projects and much more, listen to the complete interview.

A Few Words to Keep in your Pocket:

What you believe to be your experience is simultaneously valid and biased. Be open to other variations of how things have happened while never giving in to you personal convictions about right and wrong.

Interviews are available on iTunes as podcasts, and for Android please click here. All weekly essay pieces in a shareable format are here. The full archive of interviews here.

Books to Read

What are you reading? Add your titles to our reading list here. Agustin Ortiz Herrera is reading Staying with the Trouble by Donna Haraway. Praxis user Duffy is reading A Sense of the Mysterious by Alan Lightman.


Illustrators and authors are invited to enter the 2018 Clairvoyant’s Illustrated Children’s Book Competition organized by Dwie Siostry Publishing House. Those from Poland and beyond are eligible and entrants may submit work on an individual basis or as a team. For complete details, visit the website. Deadline is December 15.


Weekly Edited Grant and Residency Deadlines – review the list here.






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