Sasha Krieger
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I Begin

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Meet Sasha Krieger, VANDOC Online Residency Artist

The beginning of a project is always challenging for me. How do I commit to an idea? How do I move from one piece to the next? How do I focus? How do I begin?

For the last few years I have been secretly learning to weave. I have always been attracted to the material of textiles. A piece of cloth or tapestry is an embodiment of the artist’s time and labour. With every warp and weft a decision is made and executed. Weaving is both rote and creative – through repetition, something unique emerges.

My weaving education has been random and DIY. I am less concerned with the construction of a finished work than an exploration of the process and history of weaving. I want to transform the thoughts and associations surrounding the making of something into the artwork. I don’t know how to actually accomplish this.

Readings on weaving. Photograph by Sasha Krieger

I am alone in my apartment. Like everyone else in the world, I am practicing physical distancing due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This new reality and sudden abundance of time to myself is affecting my ideas of work. There is a need to feel productive but also a desire to contemplate and just exist. I have been obsessively mark-making and documenting the passing of time through form and colour. I have also jumped on the home organization and bread-making bandwagons.

Marking time in isolation. Photograph by Sasha Krieger

The myth of the isolated artist, creating out of necessity and with passion, looms large. I want to use this time effectively and make something essential. I watch the film Castaway and am inspired by the volleyball friend, Wilson, that Tom Hanks’ character creates while stuck on a desert island. My attempts to draw anything from this feeling of inspiration fall short. It’s sad that Tom Hanks was one of the first celebrities to be diagnosed with Covid-19.

Wilson. Photograph by Sasha Krieger

I enthusiastically follow along to dance moves of choreographer, Ryan Heffington on Instagram Live. His ridiculously fun dance classes have brought unparalleled joy during my time in isolation. He has us perform household chores in dance – cleaning windows, making the bed, sweeping the floor. The final chore surprises me. We pick up our imaginary paintbrush and start painting a masterpiece. If only this action was so effortless in reality.

Ryan Heffington doing the Bob Ross. Photograph by Sasha Krieger

The first thing I need to do is activate a home studio. I can’t leave my apartment so I have to work with what I have. I look to the home studios of influential artists. I am particularly envious of Frida Kahlo and Matisse who made masterpieces in bed.

From top left: Ruth Asawa, 1969 (photograph by Rondal Partirdge), Georgia O’Keeffe, 1962 (photograph by Ralph Looney) Barbara Hepworth, 1949 (photograph by Studio St. Ives), Frida Kahlo (photographer unknown), Lee Krasner, 1962 (photograph by Hans Namuth), Henry Moore, 1966 (photograph by John Hedgecoe), Henri Matisse, 1950 (photograph by Walter Carone), David Ireland, 1988 (photograph by Suzanne Parker)

I am better off making work at home than in an actual studio. At home I am free to procrastinate and use ideas as my material. In an actual studio the pressure to make things takes over. The result is the creation of things that take up space rather than offer insight or meaning.

Home and studio. Photograph by Sasha Krieger

Once I am comfortable in my space, I need to address any ongoing projects. I look at the weaving I have been working on for the past six months. The pattern is detailed but it is not large. It has been sitting, forgotten, under a pile of blankets. I decide to start working on it again. I am not sure if I am freeing up the loom, creating mental space to start working on something new, or procrastinating. I weave as much as I have woven in six months over the course of a weekend.

Finally finished weaving. Photograph by Sasha Krieger

Weaving creates momentum and I feel ready to drop all expectations, warp the loom and begin something new.


Sasha Krieger is currently VANDOC’s Online Resident Artist. This is her first post. Be sure to return to vandocument.com to get the latest updates on her exploration of her process as she learns the loom and discovers the unexpected along the way.

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Want more? Read our Online Artists Residency launch article and this accompanying article, that looks at the project and the artist who are the inspiration for OAR.

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