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Homespun artistry inspired by arachnid web spinners

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Pocket Utopia will put forward a new definition of web design, as local artists Audra Woloweic and Brece Honeycutt will be installing fabric wall drawings and homespun wool and plastic fabric swatches for the gallery’s next exhibition opening on May 9.

“I will be drawing a fabric drawing on the side wall using pencils which will be a continuous thread looped into each other,” Woloweic said. “It’s a flat wall, but it has this curtain effect. It animates the space.”

Originally from Dearborn, MI, and having studied sculpture at the Rhode Island School of Design, Woloweic has been making architectural drawings on walls of different sizes but never anything of this large a scale. For her exhibit, Woloweic will continue to explore her interests in the relationships between architecture and the body through her wall drawings.

“It will stay there and be painted over. I’m not taking it down. I don’t know how long it will take it make. I’ll be working on it one to one and a half weeks before the show,” said Woloweic.

In addition to the web-like wall drawings, Woloweic has designed a wall exchange where artists will be able to cut out a 4-inch circle of the gallery’s wall and exchange that with a similarly sized piece from their own wall in their studio or apartment. The pieces from other spaces will hang on the gallery’s walls.

“I look at architecture and the body as having the ability to contain things,” Woloweic said. “I’m not making something and bringing it into the space. I’m working within the space itself.”

In different corners of the wall drawings will hang several abstract homespun wool pieces by Pocket Utopia’s current artist-in-residence, Brece Honeycutt. Austin Thomas, gallery director of Pocket Utopia, asked Honeycutt to do a residency in her gallery after talking with a colleague in Washington, DC, who taught Honeycutt how to spin wool.

“I fell in love with wool,” Honeycutt said. “I was a TA in the weaving department at Skidmore College where I had done textile work before.”

For her work, Honeycutt makes abstract fabric swatches using raw sheep wool, plastic bags, discarded quilt squares, and other materials she finds on the street or in outdoor auctions. Honeycutt uses dog combs the card the wool and then spins the yarn herself in the gallery’s workspace and on the subway. She tries to make one or two pieces a day and refers to them as quick sketches.

“When I’m doing this I’m thinking, what am I doing? In the past, I’ve made a series of repetitive drawings. When I step back and look at them, I think, oh my I’ve been drawing these shapes for a long time. It’s not far from the lines that I draw.”

Though the fabric swatches resemble items found in arts and crafts fairs, the pieces are actually more abstract. Honeycutt knits each piece of wool into a unique, mostly rectangular pattern that plays with light and shadows as it hangs on the wall.

“I’m using the material to make objects as opposed to what a craft person is making,” Honeycutt said. “They’re not going to be a quilt or a blanket.”

There are also finger-knitted circular patterns that resemble soft vortexes of cobwebs, referencing myth and memory. Honeycutt sews together the wool with her fingers into a chain, which she then knits together and adds seed pods and other items that look caught in the web.

“Last October, I took a drive with my brother from Savannah to Charleston and we saw spider webs on the trees,” Honeycutt said. “It was stunning to see these spiders and I thought about Arachnae the spider and the spider as weaver. It’s interesting how these ideas flip by you.”

The next exhibit at the Pocket Utopia Gallery will occur on May 9 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the gallery’s space on 1037 Flushing Avenue. Also for the exhibit, public artist Graham Coreil-Allen will create five temporary crosswalks and posters in the neighborhood around the gallery demonstrating the paths pedestrians take waling around northwest Bushwick.

The gallery will also host a salon discussion with the artists on May 28 at 6 p.m. For more information, visit www.pocketutopia.com.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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