It's hard to believe it's been almost a week since we were setting up the booth to debut our collaboration at the second annual NY Denim Days at the Metropolitan Pavilion. Having been on the consumer side in 2017, I was in awe of all the incredible work that went into such an event-and now I am a part of it. Pinch me now! It was two non-stop days working with the most passionate people. Alice from Tonello, Andrea from Officina 39+ and amazing Columbian artist Juan from De Ver Azul. And who could forget Alberto and Lucrezia from Tonello. It was truly the dream team and we definitely made the "Magic Happen!"
So, let's back up here. Perhaps, you're curious, just how did Clockworks Press end up in NY Denim days this year?! Let me give you a little insight into the backstory. rewind to NYDD, fall 2017 where I met Juan Manuel and Andrea Venier in the booth of Officina 39+, a sustainable chemical company from Biella, Italy. What immediately caught my eye was that an artist was demonstrating how the products could be used. It wasn't just a booth with a brochure or a candy dish, it was interactive and Juan was making art! As soon as we began to chat, I was immediately drawn into the concept of Recycrom, a completely sustainable dyestuff that was derived from 100 percent textile production waste! Yes, you heard that correctly, a one to one yield of production waste to pigment. With a sustainable mission at the heart of Clockworks Press I was immediately asking tons of questions. I asked Juan if it was able to be used in printmaking and the answer was- Yes! After the event I contacted Officina 39+ and received a sample of their product which I began to use with silkscreen printing taking my own printing practices in a more sustainable direction.
Fast forward to June of 2018...Officina 39+ approached me with an irresistible offer. "We want to feature work of a NYC based artist working with denim" explained Juan "in collaboration with myself, Officina 39+ and Tonello at NYDD 2018." I didn't even have to think for a second, I was thrilled to be a part of such an amazing team. Juan and I began the process sharing ideas and drawings back and forth until I was able to fly to Biella in July. Prior to my arrival we both did several trials on denim. Juan with painting and laser and me with printmaking using the Recycrom pigment.
I arrived in Biella, Italy located about 1 hour from Milan for two days of experiments and trials driven by a passion for sustainable practices in denim! Andrea and the entire staff at Officina 39+ welcomed me with open arms. I gained a first hand understanding of how the Recycrom is used as a sustainable dye, paint and ink both in art and garments. It was my first experience seeing my work lasered onto denim. The possibilities seemed endless!
Two days flew by and soon I was back printing at the Grafische Werkplaats studio in The Hague, Netherlands. It was now time to continue the process with another layer on top of the laser and painting work we completed together in Biella. Juan and I communicated and kept the collaborative nature going as we each added to the respective artworks in our possession. This was the first time I had experienced such an intimate collaboration and placed my total trust in another artist. We gave one another full reign to push the imagery and colors in ways we had never considered. Juan's supportive nature and trust allowed this to happen very organically. As the pieces were completed simultaneously, I began to see a body of work that I was extremely proud to be a part of, The atmosphere in the prints began to take on a softer feeling. I also worked on a much larger format which changed my perspective on the imagery.
I returned to Brooklyn at the close of the summer to begin teaching art again, prepare for the launch of my first collection, The Denim Clutch and anxiously awaiting the NY denim days. Juan and I met the day before we had to set up to stretch the artwork and complete last minute finishing touches to the garment collection based on the 5 artworks we created.
I was again reminded of how incredible it was to collaborate with another artist who is so passionate about their work. The next morning I arrived at the Metropolitan Pavilion filled with excitement. Our theme of "Magic Happens" was emphasizing the use of denim, art, tech, color and of course my home city New York! We would spend two days sharing this passion and process with colleagues in the denim industry, visitors and each other. We held demonstrations of dying in a mini tonello washing machine and printing on the press.
Despite the complete exhaustion I endured from 8 hours of talking each day, I left with the mindset...okay what's next?! Truthfully, I believe magic has just begun.
All photos/video courtesy of Clockworks Press 2018