Lacey Decker Hawthorne, Artist – Sackville, NB

Lacey Decker Hawthorne’s practice focuses on printmaking and installation. She creates installation work that a visitor can participate in or somehow inhabit in order to explore questions of human scale, embodiment, and the built environment. Her work has been previously exhibited in Canada, the UK, Japan and France, and is on view at Wood Point Art Projects’ group exhibition The Ark, opening July 27 and closing August 11 in Wood Point, New Brunswick.

  1. The dictionary

In my practice, ideas often take shape around words – a word’s etymology, its multiple meanings, what is wrapped up in a word’s history. The installation I’m making for The Ark exhibition with Wood Point Art Projects is called Clew. The title references both the nautical term for drawing up a sail, as well as its archaic meaning: a ball of thread or yarn, which relates to the Greek myth of Ariadne and Theseus in the labyrinth. Browsing the dictionary and reading about a word’s lineage can clarify a current project or provide a jumping off point for new work.

  1. Forms of language

I’m really interested in various forms of language and how we make a spoken sound visual or tactile. The systems of Morse code, shorthand writing, and Braille all let language take a different shape, and I’m thinking about how to translate that into textiles or installation work. I also read a great article recently about ideophones – words that are “considered especially vivid and evocative of sensual experience.” This opens up ways of thinking about how to return words to the body and how we can inhabit a language (or how it inhabits us).

  1. Architecture and shelter

I just had an exhibition at Struts Gallery in Sackville, so I’ve been thinking a lot about forms of architecture and how we make shelter. For this show, I was interested in how textiles form the first house of the body and how that can be a more intimate, embodied architecture. After building three wooden houses, each large enough for a visitor to enter, I papered them with found sewing patterns and lit them from inside. The opening night was lovely, with everyone spending time together inside the houses, actually being sheltered inside the gallery.

  1. Quiet

Like many others, I’m thinking about how quiet spaces are becoming more rare, both in the external environment and in our internal worlds. Part of my motivation for making installation work is to create conditions where quietness can happen. I think when you inhabit a work, it can become a more embodied experience and that can interrupt the constant flow of information and noise. Being quiet is also tied to deeper listening and there’s a great interview with acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton on OnBeing that articulates these ideas beautifully.

  1. Japanese paper

Having trained as a printmaker, I have an abiding love for Japanese paper. The kozo and gampi fibres have incredible strength and translucency, and pick up the finest details in inking. The paper has its own quiet rattle and reminds me of why I’m always drawn to the print work of John Cage. When I did a workshop at the Crown Point Press, I got to see some of his prints in person and feel what he meant in his philosophy that music (and art) could “sober and quiet the mind.