I recently had the pleasure of working and creating with studio resident Amanda Thackray. When I learned that I was going to be assisting an artist at Aferro I was ecstatic; when I learned she was a printmaker and a master bookmaker I was through the roof. I had just finished a very successful silkscreen class, and awakened an interest in book making. This seemed like a perfect match, and I couldn’t wait to get started.
Walking into her studio I was surrounded by suspended bead fixtures, mounds of paper and delicate gouache paintings of rope. As we introduced ourselves she was knotting rope to what I would later find out, was a fraction of a larger vision that I would be preparing with her. During the time I spent working with Amanda I was exposed to a creative process that helped elevate my own. My interests as a visual artist were strictly two-dimensional, and at a scale that would fit on my desk. Helping to create something with my hands and assemble it to fill a space, revealed how little I explored in the use of a material. There are endless possibilities when you create, I learned not to limit myself to what was comfortable and encouraged myself to be more ambitious with what is familiar.
To learn skills, create something along side an artist and to watch a vision become reality is only the surface of what being an artist assistant is. Working alongside Amanda I became more aware of what it means to be an artist and how creating is an ongoing exercise of what you know and what you want to know. The experience was invaluable to my development as an artist, and I would gladly do it again.