Carole Spelic’s Big, Beautiful Wall

Carole Spelic’s ‘Estoy Construyendo un Muro’ (I Am Building A Wall) is currently on display at Cafe 43, but will be moving this weekend to 203 High Street (the Old Bank Building on the corner of High and Chestnut) as part of Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts‘s Art Adventure Mixed Media Exhibit.

At the exhibit you can view Carole’s wall as well as artwork created by Shake Rag students and instructors, as part of the second annual Art Adventure.  The exhibit will take place Thursday, August 24th through Sunday, August 27th (Fri-Sun, Noon-1pm and Thur-Sat, 4:30-6:30pm).

Read below for more information about Carole Spelic’s artwork, ‘Estoy Construyendo un Muro.’

HSB: Tell me about the Wall:
Carole Spelic: First, let’s be sure people know what it’s called: Estoy Construyendo un Muro (I am Building a Wall). I don’t really speak Spanish. I had to ask Google to translate, but it was important to me that the title be in Spanish.

HSB: What inspired the artwork?
Carole: The idea for the wall came from Donald Trump. His proposal that a wall should be built along the US/Mexico border – and that Mexico would be paying for its construction – struck me as quite ridiculous, yet intriguing. There are portions of his vision that did resonate for me. He said he was going to build a “big, beautiful wall” and that was my goal too. Current specifications call for the border wall to be 18 to 30 feet tall so I guess I have a way to go yet. The specs also mention reinforced solid concrete, or “other materials”, so from a practical standpoint I’m glad I opted for “other materials”. Reinforced solid concrete would be a bear to transport. Another amusing part of the federal specifications is that the wall must be “aesthetically pleasing” on the north-facing side! I guess mine is overkill, since it looks nice on all sides, right?

HSB: What materials are used and where did they come from?
Carole: The units each have an understructure made of household insulation – extruded polystyrene sheet – joined with drywall screws. Both of those materials are actually reused from a sculpture I made a couple years ago. The coverings are cut from textiles I purchased. They are woven in Mexico and are mostly made from recycled fibers. It was pretty funny, I kept coming across bits of elastic while I was working with the fabric. Obviously someone is shredding panties to make blankets out of! How’s that for recycling?

HSB: How big is the completed wall?
Carole: Well, the dimensions are variable. Each unit is the size of a standard cinder block – 8″ x 8″ x 16″. I currently have enough units to build a wall that is 8′ tall and 10′ long, but it can be reworked in various configurations.

HSB: How can community members get involved?
Carole: I’m willing to add to the wall or subtract from it. One unit costs me about $3.50 in materials, so folks could pay me that much to build more units or remove them. Megan, you paid to add to the wall! Does that mean you like the idea of a wall…or just my wall? Also, if anyone has Mexican textiles they would like to donate, I’ll incorporate them into the next units I construct.

HSB: Where can we view the wall and how long will it be on display?
Carole: I’m pleased to have the opportunity to exhibit the sculpture in the “Old Bank Building” at 203 High Street in Mineral Point during Shake Rag Alley’s Art Adventure weekend. This is a group show that will be up August 24-27. Friday, Saturday and Sunday the doors will be open from noon until 1:00 and on Thursday,Friday and Saturday, there will be a wine and cheese reception from 4:30 to 6:30 each day. I look forward to interacting with everyone in discussing the wall, but there will also be lots of other exciting artworks on hand, made by participants in the Art Adventure retreat.

HSB: Anything else you’d like to share about the project?
Carole: Yes. When my sculpture has run its course, I’m going to disassemble it and sew the fabric coverings back into blankets. I’ll donate them to a charity that will get them to needy immigrants. Reduce, re-use, recycle! Also, if people (especially knitters!) are interested in a related project they might want to visit https://www.welcomeblanket.org/. I’m making one of those welcome blankets right now.

Contributed by Megan Kulick, Executive Director, Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts

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2 Responses to Carole Spelic’s Big, Beautiful Wall

  1. Sandee Beaman says:

    What a fabulous and creative idea! Good for you, Carole. I can hardly wait to see your wall, contribute to your project, move the blocks around a little, and marvel at what you have created.

  2. Deirdre says:

    The National Endowment for the Arts ought to support this!

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