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InLiquid: Feeling your way with Sara McCorriston

Sara McCorriston

"Of the Sea," Sara McCorriston

Editor's note: This is presented as part of a content partnership with InLiquid.

Sara McCorriston

Neighborhood: Queen Village

Discipline: fibers; wearable art, installation, sculpture and mixed-media.

Education: BFA in Theater Arts, University of the Arts

Flying Kite: What inspired you to start working in this medium?
Sara McCorriston: During my time at UArts, I took some Fiber Arts studio classes, which is really where my love for fiber arts grew. However, my love for fibers started while sitting in a mini wicker rocking chair next to my Nana when I was about three years old. As she was giving me my first hand-crocheting lesson, I remember my mind being blown watching the yarn becoming something as it passed through my fingers—even if the "something" was uneven chain stitches and some knots.

FK: What kind of art are you currently working on?
SM: I am currently experimenting—a lot. I have been working on many different ideas, and tons of unfinished pieces are all around my workspace. I have been jumping from one to the other rather randomly. One thing that most of the pieces have in common is that they are all mostly made of materials I already have or have recently found. I was constantly making work and buying supplies for a year or two. I decided that I have enough inspiration and materials at my fingertips without taking a trip to the store. In one of the projects, I am using all of my junk mail to create the work, which actually makes me excited to sort through my mail…sometimes.
FK: Describe your methods.
SM: My process ranges from completely unplanned to careful and meticulous. When creating work that is completely unplanned, I usually cannot be on a very strict schedule and tend to be very messy. It isn’t unusual to find something from my kitchen popping up in these works, which is actually an ongoing joke—sometimes a piece simply needs some peppercorns before it is "finished." My favorite pieces are often created in this unplanned way.

When my process is careful and meticulous, I am often creating one thing out of many, sometimes identical, smaller elements. In this way, these smaller elements can take on a new meaning and purpose in the work that is beyond their simplistic, practical identities. In allowing the objects to redefine themselves through the creative process, sometimes the end result is very different from the original vision behind a piece, but the subject matter and purpose is kept at heart. I find that this method of creating is rather therapeutic.
FK: What have you been up to recently?
SM: I currently have work on display at Chris White Gallery and Shipley Artist Lofts in Wilmington, DE, as part of "Relative Bodies."
FK: What’s next up for you?
SM: I will be showing work as part of InLiquid’s Benefit v. 13, and am planning to focus most of my energy on preparing for a solo exhibition in late summer/early autumn 2013 at Paradigm Gallery + Studio. My last solo show was in the spring of 2011, so I am rather excited so show (myself and others) how I have grown as an artist since then.
FK: What inspires you?
SM: A few years ago I would have said "nature," but I realize now that I used pure nature inspiration as a bit of a cop out to explain inspirations that I didn’t really understand how to translate into art yet. I am absolutely still greatly inspired by "nature" as a general category, but I am much more inspired by my personal relation to the things around me and by the capabilities of the materials in my hands at any given moment. Not much has changed since I was three years old—my mind is still blown as I watch materials passing through my hands becoming something else. The potential of every material that I touch inspires me. Sometimes that means a fleeting thought, and sometimes it means I am going to be thirty minutes late for dinner because, "You won’t believe what happened to this thread when I accidentally burned it!"
FK: Why do you make art?
SM: Because I have to know what else that burnt thread is capable of! I will forever be curious about pretty much everything around me, and there is no good reason not to explore that curiosity when diving in and discovering feels so awesome. Sometimes all of the beauty and various energies around me are overwhelming, which can be both positive and negative. Creating art helps me to pause, concentrate and focus for a while, making my sometimes-hectic life a lot less tense.
FK: What do you wish people will see or get out of your work?
SM: I always hope that people experience a personal connection with my work, whether or not that idea or connection ever crossed my mind.

I think this part of my general artist statement also addresses this question: "I gravitated towards creating fine art as I grew as a theatrical designer and needed a place to express my own artistic vision separate from performance-based work and without push-back from a director or choreographer. In relation to this, I prefer to keep the stories behind my works subtle in order to let the viewer experience and interpret a piece in a personal way with the same freedom of expression and interpretation the artistic process has given to me."

INLIQUID is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to providing opportunities for visual artists and designers, serving as a free public hub for arts information and resources and making the visual arts more accessible to a broader audience through a continuing series of community-based art exhibitions and programs. 
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