A visual + material archive is a resource that can inspire you, provide materials for working and be a starting point when you are faced with a new project. In a way, you are making yourself a security blanket. This summer you will need to assemble a box of materials for your use this fall. Keep in mind that an archive is for your benefit and should contain elements that are interesting or inspiring to YOU. It may contain photocopies of images, drawings, photos, favorite text or poems, small natural or man-made objects, found-objects, old paper or written materials, or other unusual materials. Part of your archive might also be digital and contain files that you saved while browsing online.
To get started you might look around your house, what is interesting? What is available that you may not have at school? Remember Alfred is a rural town that can be challenging for artists looking for specific supplies. You might also visit a library, browse the stacks and look for images that capture your imagination. You can photocopy these images for use later, take notes on your discoveries, or even make reference drawings.
You will need some sort of box or file to keep your archive organized and portable. You might use an old record case, tax file, a wooden or metal box, or even a small suitcase. We recommend that you keep it compact since you will be storing these in your dorm rooms!
Spend some time this summer gathering and thinking about what you find truly interesting and you will build a great foundation for a creative fall!
Following are some things to jump-start your collecting: (List is for inspiration only. You do not have to collect all of these items, just things that you find interesting. Feel free to gather things not found on the list. Remember it is for you to decide what is important, there is no RIGHT answer to what or how much your archive should include!)
Any old paper goods: letters, labels, wallpaper, stamps, photos, books, bookmarks found in library books, newspaper clippings, pop-ups, cut-outs, silhouettes, etc.
Images of all kinds: nature, art, landscape, photos, patterns, tracings, drawings (own or others), printed materials (Japanese candy package).
Do not include: current magazine clippings and personal photos.
Collections of images (one example: Natural and Man-made Homes: from bird nests + beehives, to mobile homes + castles)
Small natural materials: odd stone, wooden sticks, salt, dirt, butterflies, animal bones, etc.
Small objects+materials: broken wooden parts, plastic rings, toy pieces, unusual nails, fasteners, tape, string, etc.
Fabric and textiles: unusual fabric swatches, leather pieces, handmade lace, knit object, felt, old costume /clothing.
Research from subjects that interest you: Artists, technology, folk dancing,
space travel, games, poems, etc.
Digital images and sounds: images from eBay or other image resources, sounds recorded or collected, old cassettes, records.