staff, January 8, 2015

Hawbaker, Orbiting Path

Camille Hawbaker learned to sew at a very early age, and when she began to pursue her life?s work as an artist, she turned to textiles as her chosen means of expression.

Today, Hawbaker?s latest works can be seen at her exhibition ?Unraveling,? being held right now at the Robert Hillestad Textiles Gallery at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where Hawbaker is a visiting lecturer. Her art will be showcased at the gallery until Jan. 30.

Hawbaker received her MFA in May from the Nebraska Department of Art & Art History, where she studied printmaking. The major themes of her art include struggle and synthesis between competing archetypes found in civilization and nature.

By definition, textiles are a woven product. As a result, they have a distinctive texture and linear aspect to them.

?I guess I have always liked textiles; they have always been around in my world,? Hawbaker said. ?I am enamored with textures and materials and colors. It is a tactile thing.?

Many of the works in ?Unraveling? were created from textiles alone, but others were developed through printmaking, a process for which Hawbaker made etchings with deeply carved, ink-filled lines that were then applied to woven surfaces to create pictures with myriad textures and shapes. Hawbaker said textiles have a natural linear aspect that is pronounced when lines are introduced.

?It is all about the threads when you create the material,? she said. ?I would like to get to a point where the lines [from the etchings] become a material on their own.?

Another unusual aspect of the artwork in ?Unraveling? is the use of burnt ash. To create those works, Hawbaker burned pages from her personal journals and scattered the ashes on the threads of the material - in this case, silk.

As she explains, the ash represents the words, while the artwork represents the limitations that exist in the use of words.

?I think words are extremely valuable and important, and express thousands of things that cannot be expressed without words,? Hawbaker said. ?But everything has limitations. There are expressions that cannot be fit into words because language is so structured. I made a point to keep the ashes in the work. It becomes like fabric.?

Hawbaker has recently expanded the usage and variety of printmaking in her works, to the point where she?s even turned to 3D printing. She?s investigating ways to enhance the depth, texture and intricacy of her artwork with this novel technology.

?It is definitely bringing new concepts into my work,? she explained.

[btn-post-package]Not every artist is on board with using those kinds of tools for their works. Hawbaker says many of her colleagues fear that technologies like 3D printing will suck the soul out of art as they automate the creative processes of the individual artist.

?But at one point, printmaking was new technology, and there was a pushback from that,? she added. ?It is more about what your ultimate message is.?