Category Archives: Jay Kreimer

Braided River Broad Shallows

The North Platte and the South Platte Rivers meet near the city of North Platte, Nebraska, and form the Platte River, which flows 310 miles across the state where it meets the Missouri River. In the Kearney, NE area, it serves as a staging ground for the annual migration north of the Sandhill Crane. They feed in nearby cornfields by day and roost in the river by night, adding up to a pound of fat to their body weight before they take flight again toward their nesting grounds.

wide platte cropped reduced
Braided River Broad Shallows. Jay Kreimer and Wendy Weiss. 2019. Museum of Nebraska Art, Exhibition titled “A River Runs Through It.”

In 1714 Etienne Veniard de Bourgmont (born 1679) was the first recorded European to come upon a river which the Oto people called the Nebrathka, meaning “flat water.” The French word for flat is plat and eventually the river became known as the Platte.

Teliza Rodriguez, the curator of the Musuem of Nebraska Art, invited Jay Kreimer and me to create a piece for an exhibition titled “A River Runs Through It,” (February 26 – July 21, 2019) and requested we develop a work to place underneath the central skylight in the main exhibition space. The premise for the exhibition is the “Platte River – from the sounds and sights of the land, flora, and fauna that surround, inhabit, and visit it to the sky that stretches far above.”

P1080559
Detail. Braided River Broad Shallows

This work began in October 2018. I designed the weaving using software called ProWeave. I wanted to use a weave structure that would show movement, like the current or movement of water, and I wanted the color to reflect the colors of a setting or rising sun. We often think that water is blue, but when looking at a river, the color is always changing and relates to the light in the sky, the depth of the water, the time of year and any number of other details.

P1080487
Warping the loom from back to front. The perle cotton warp is set onto the back of the loom as I prepare to set it into the raddle to wind it onto the back beam.

Once I determined the size of the weaving—I calculated how big each weaving would need to be—I discovered it would take up to 30 lbs. of cotton thread. For the dye, I used plants I have collected. Fortunately I have been harvesting flower tops for many years and had dried marigolds, cosmos, and other traditional dye plants, weld and madder root, that I had on hand to use.

P1080498
The lighter colors are from the plant dyes and the darker shades result from dipping sections of the dyed warp into a ferrous bath.

I modified a weave structure by Franz Donat, published in 1890 in Bindungs-Lexikon fur Schaftweberei downloaded from Handweaving.net. If you look at the ends of the weavings you can see the strips, but the diagonal nature of the weave structure, along with the red/orange of the weft color, alters the perception of the strip, so it is not clear to the eye.

P1080505

I worked on the yarn preparation for this project for 1 1/2 months: winding over 4,000 warp threads; binding the warp so when I dyed and wove them they spelled out the word FLAT; preparing the yarns for dyeing, including washing the natural cotton to remove any natural oils and debris, mordanting them in a tannin bath followed by an alum bath; soaking the plant material to make the dye; filling big pots of water to cook the dye; dipping sections of the yarn into a ferrous pot to create the dark strips of colors; drying the yarn and rinsing it. The next step was to remove all the binding.

Meanwhile, Jay Kreimer worked on developing the clouds and the eight foot legs of the crane, dropping from the sky. He also created a score that combines natural and created sound to complete the piece. We consulted on color and how to work with the space of the skylight. When we deinstall the work in late July 2019, I will be able to see how the color holds up to the natural light coming into the space from the doors and skylight.

P1080536
Suspended from the skylight, two eight foot legs welcome viewers into the exhibition space.
Continue reading

There’s Always an Apex Predator

Tugboat Gallery, Lincoln, Nebraska’s most hip alternative space presented “There’s Always an Apex Predator” featuring new work by Jay Kreimer and Wendy Weiss, September 2-29, 2016.

“There’s Always an Apex Predator” explores crocodiles, prisoners of war, the holocaust and more though painted wood sculptures, digitally cut vinyl wall installations, prints and a sound score by Jay Kreimer and Adam Zahller. The work in this collaborative exhibition is entirely new and is drawn from experiences in India, personal and world history, and current political events.p1070795-sm

Kreimer’s father was a prisoner of war in World War ll. He was captured at the Battle of the Bulge. Kreimer states his father was “marched and marched, lined up at a pit to be shot, was not shot, and ended at Stalag lXB, Bad Orb, Germany.” Weiss adds this was “the worst German prison camp from which, in 1945, Jewish prisoners and perceived troublemakers were sent to the Berga concentration camp, a slave labor camp that mixed American POWs with Holocaust victims in a work to death frenzy.” Eldon Kreimer spoke little about his time in Stalag lXB, but he did tell a story about dividing a packet of raisins from a Red Cross package between his fellow prisoners. Starving, as they all were, he held back three extra raisins for himself and ate them. Later he felt compelled to confess this transgression to his group. Three raisins.p1070801-sm
Our interest in his experience paralleled what developed from a latent interest for me about the Holocaust and cruelties in Europe during World War ll. As a child, my father had been gripped with the significance Holocaust and the industrialized murder of European Jews. In 2014, unintentionally, we stayed on the site of the Łódź Ghetto in Poland, called the “Litzmannstadt Getto” because during the war the occupiers briefly renamed the city after a German general who invaded the city in WWI.

text-wall-wweiss

Other forms of predation entered our thoughts. Animals and insects in the service of men to torment—dogs and fleas—for example.

p1070805We lived for much of the past few years in Vadodara, Gujarat, a city of two million with the distinction of harboring the largest population of wild crocodiles in a city of that size in the world. They conclude, “so the crocodiles came to this party: Apex Predators.”

p1070768-sm

Thanks to Nebraska Innovation Studio, a makerspace/fab lab, on Nebraska Innovation Campus, where we use terrific equipment and workspace for the development of the vinyl portion and some of the wood working portions of the installation. Check it out! And much gratitude to Peggy and Nolan and the super helpers at Tugboat.

They Gave Us Directions

4-tent-banners-layout

Based on block printed tent hangings illustrated in Indian Block-Printed Textiles in Egypt: The Newberry Collection in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford Collection in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; Ruth Barnes, 1997.

They Gave Us Directions

Lux Art Center, Lincoln, NE

First Friday Reception: Friday, May 6, 2016 from 5-8 p.m.
View through June 24

Bri Murphy, gallery director of the Lux Art Center, sent out the message I have pasted below:

May is another month with two exciting exhibition openings you won’t want to miss. Wendy Weiss and Jay Kreimer have returned to Nebraska to bring us a slice of life in India. As recipients of multiple Fulbright awards, both artists have spent much of the past few years living and working in India as long term residents. This show is their response, complete with photography, sculpture, textiles, and auditory elements. The title, They Gave Us Directions, speaks to the exploratory nature of their experience. “…we were in search of one thing, as we asked for directions, we found another thing.”

Jay Kreimer is a sound artist, inventor, video artist and educator. He has performed a range of music professionally since 1979. One of Kreimer’s instruments, Tallboy, was a finalist in the international Guthman Musical Instrument Invention Competition in 2011. His music has been released in the US, Portugal and Canada, and distributed and reviewed internationally. Wendy Weiss is an independent artist and weaver. She is professor emerita of textile design in the Department of Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her work has been exhibited in solo and group shows in North America, Europe and Asia. She uses natural dyes she cultivates and collects locally. Their collaborative works have been shown in galleries and museums in New York, San Francisco, Vancouver, Beijing and many other cities.

From Weiss and Kreimer, we can expect much more than a traditional art gallery experience. This time, when you walk into the LUX, you will be engulfed in the cacophony of the bustling streets of India. This exhibition exemplifies the unique capacity of art to transport the viewer to another place and culture, to see humanity from a different perspective, and perhaps to find new understanding and meaning.

Fences, Trees and Looms: Following the Thread Weavings by Wendy Weiss and Photographs by Jay Kreimer

Patio Gallery

Jewish Community Center, Louisville, Kentucky

February 21-March 29, 2016

Opening reception, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2-4pm

 

This exhibition features recent naturally dyed ikat weavings by Wendy Weiss and accompanying photographs of ikat artisans at work in India and historic looms and factory buildings in Łodź, Poland by Jay Kreimer. The exhibition also highlights five silk weavings by artisans in a rural community in the Surendranagar District of Gujarat, where Weiss worked as a Fulbright Nehru senior research scholar from October 2014 to July 2015, training the weavers in digital design. Ikat is a method of dyeing warp and/or weft yarns, using binding of selected areas of the threads to resist dye the yarns in a patterned way, prior to placing them on the loom to weave. Ms. Weiss has been developing a method to create pattern in ikat using the traditional Gujarati system for preparing the warp yarn.

P1070588
“Resist” weaving in progress, natural dye (madder, weld, iron), warp ikat.

In August of 2014 she taught an ikat workshop at the Strzeminski Academy of Fine Arts Łodź, Poland which inspired a group of weavings about the “Litzmannstadt Getto,” in Łodź. One of these weavings will be exhibited at the 15th International Triennale of Textiles in Łodź in 2016.