Chocolate bars without the wrappers revealing the emotion word depicted.

Two dimensional drawings made collaboratively by workshop participants.

Three dimensional "drawings" of chocolate designs made using a 3D printer with plexi glass walls around for pouring the silicone mold material.

Silicone food grade molds I made so Vasilow's Chocolates of Hudson, NY could pour the chocolate.

BitterSweet

A series of socially engaged art making workshops combining clay, abstraction, human emotion and chocolate.

I worked on the BitterSweet project with three local groups: Apogee peer support group, teens at the Youth Clubhouse of Hudson, and incarcerated men and women at the Columbia County Jail. Workshops participants experimented with ways to translate personal emotion into abstract drawing and sculpture. They developed an understanding of abstraction, using shapes, colors and forms to represent ideas and emotions. 

 

During workshop sessions participants started with two-dimensional art materials and began learning this translation by drawing various types of lines – straight, curvy, dotted, jagged, thick/thin – and then discussing what emotions were evoked. The groups worked collectively and individually through several iterations of this exercise. Next, Iintroduced a three-dimensional material: air-drying modeling clay and discussed its visual and tangible properties. Participants were asked to select a specific emotion word and then create an abstract form to depict it. I asked questions such as, “Is your word smooth or rough? Regular or uneven? Tall or Short?” to help facilitate this translation. Once the clay works had dried, participants painted them with acrylic paint, adding another layer of meaning.

 

After the workshops I created chocolate bar molds that express an amalgamation of the ideas explored in the workshops. These were cast as small edible sculptures by Vasilow’s chocolate shop in Hudson, NY, that were given to participants at a public engagement event at the Hudson Area library.

Participants learning about abstraction at the Hudson Area Library during the public engagement event on May 19, 2018.

Participants works on view as part of Dislocations exhibition at Collar Works Gallery in Troy, NY.

This community engagement project is made possible with public funds from the Decentralization Program of the NYS Council on the Arts, administered in Greene County by the Columbia County Council on the Arts through the Community Arts Grants Fund.

A list of emotion words made by men and women at the Columbia County Jail.