(slow relaxing music) - [SPEAKER] It was a curated outdoor performance that took place in Richmond, and they were visually there were eight black women and girls ranging in age, and they had on these large felted masks.
So I knew I wanted the project to be all women because I was interested in my presence in like the space that I take up in Richmond, in the way that space speaks to my history.
And I wanted to put together a piece or project that like invited other black girls and women to be a part of this like reflective moment.
My mom was an artist.
She didn't finish.
She went to like the two years of college.
Her portfolio from college was what I would look through when I was little and like that was kind of like my introduction into art outside of like my coloring book or whatever I was doing as a kid.
And like understanding that because it was in this like enclosed thing that there was value to it.
And I think that kind of planted a seed in my understanding of art as being valuable.
My background's in painting.
I picked up oil painting specifically in high school and they didn't teach oil painting because like the ventilation system couldn't handle it.
And I was like, I'm gonna teach myself how to work with oil.
My elementary school art teacher, Mrs. Richardson, which was actually a Woodstock.
She pulled me aside after school one day and she was like, you need to apply for the old donation schools, kind of like satellite program that they have for kids.
And she helped me fill out the application went over like what I needed for the portfolio and she just was like very adamant about making sure like I put a good amount of energy in getting into that program.
I feel like, So it's like Mrs. Richardson was like this domino effect that like knocked all these other things into place like it was her and then old donation school and then Salem and then BCU and then professional artist.
So I do needle felting which is a specific kind of felting process.
So needle felting is cool because you can work both two dimensionally and three dimensionally with it.
This, which I think is awesome is like really the only tool that's necessary.
It has these little tiny barbs where my fingers are kind of measuring it out and they circle around like a little staircase.
They're super tiny, you can feel them when you swipe down.
And what happens, I like to describe those little barbs as hands.
And when you puncture the surface of the wool those little hands start to grab small wool fibers in, and they're tangling them.
So when the wool starts pretty parallel in terms of like the strands of wolf fibers and they're rolled into the start of a shape, the wool poking through however many times I wish I could count the number of times I have to poke to get it to stay.
They start to tangle.
So they go from like that to that and then they compress and become a dense little object.
So, but I teach felting as well.
I primarily teach fiber workshops specifically either 2D needle felting or 3D felting.
So I teach a felt your pet class and a drawing with wool class and they're all beginner.
Well, I mean, there's no experience required.
And I think what's most exciting about working with people who are either like not familiar with wool or felting or have seen it and like haven't really tried it is that I kind of get to expose them to something that, and to show them the way wool can be manipulated, in a way that they may not have like imagined My dolls, They kind of, they mean multiple things and they think they're very layered in how they like came to be conceptually, I'm gonna fix her lip while I'm talking.
So my mom has been collecting porcelain dolls, black porcelain dolls since she was in her twenties.
And so dolls outside of play were very normal to me.
And I don't think I ever planned to start making dolls.
These were a way for me to make people and for me to make people outside of my paintings.
So, I think that her, the necessity of me to only have black dolls and understand the value of representation through those objects subconsciously plays a role in why I only make black dolls, and I think that the importance of valuing all complexions is the reason that I make black dolls in multiple complexions.
- [SPEAKER2] Every breath I take is magical.
It means that I survive.
It means that someone in my history had to fight.
(calm drum music) It means power (calm drum music) Sisters sisterhood.
- I mean it was the biggest collaborative thing I've ever done, and each person brought their own kind of energy both like mentally, physically, but also spiritually being in the line with them, watching them move and sing.
I was like, okay, we are shaking up some stuff in this city.
It definitely felt like there was an ancestral presence which is what I was kind of hoping that moment would feel like.
I don't want to just have these conversations with people that it feels safe with.
So to know that my work opens up something between me and other people, I think is a, is what I want to continue to keep doing.
(chill beat music)