Five Questions Salon Edition with Katie Hargrave

Five Questions Salon Edition with Katie Hargrave

Communing with White Pines by Katie Hargrave

Image from Hargrave's project "Communing with White Pines"

Each month we ask American Craft Council Library users to talk about what they love and use in the ACC stacks for our Five Questions series. In honor of our next Library Salon, which will be a Give & Take co-presented June 21, 2012, with Works Progress, we thought it would be fun to catch up with our intrepid group of presenters for a special Give & Take themed exchange.

First up is Katie Hargrave, an artist who is interested the production and maintenance of American history through memorial, place, and government. She investigates and interprets individual moments of U.S. history in performance, installation, video, and most recently, flag making. Enrolled in the school of Brother model LX-3125, she is learning to become her own version of Betsy Ross.

What do you make?
I am currently creating flags that investigate nationalism. I make mashups of commercial flags, replicate historical flags, and invent new ones all my own in order  to poke at the process of creating an identity. Someone told me once that a flag  should be simple enough that a child could reproduce it. To me, it seems like we try to boil down our national identity, spirit, and desires into something equally simple. I'm trying to resist that.

What do you want to make?
I want to learn to make honey. I'm starting to think about making a series of prints in UV ink, leaving messages that only bees could read.

What’s your favorite/most-read art or craft book in your personal collection?
I always return to Diana Taylor's Archive and the Repertoire. Totally brilliant. Taylor looks at the way our history is created by both objects that persist (the archive) and bodily memory (the repertoire). I like to think that the Declaration of Independence and our fireworks displays on the Fourth of July say equally important things about who we are.

Where do you get your inspiration?
Good stories are the best inspiration. Tell me something I didn't know, and then I'll rush to the library until I've learned all I can. To that end, I really like hanging out with older people and young children. They have more things to tell us than CNN.

What artist would you like to see do a Give & Take?
I'd invite Maria Molteni. She's amazing and I really want to learn from her. She makes crochet basketball nets and makes honey. Her work is super funny too.

Five Questions is a brief Q&A about books and craft, with people who love and use the American Craft Council Library.