Becoming Southern Steampunk

I probably won’t post on this blog over the summer while new projects ferment, but before I go:

BSS poster

My exhibit this spring at the North Charleston Arts Festival represents experimentation in printmaking (screen prints and collagraphs) and exploration of Appalachian heritage: what it means to be a contemporary Southern woman, or, how I ended up with an alter ego that’s part female and part moonshine still (hence the fermentation). For more on that, you can click Trettin exhibit brochure copy to read the one page brochure that accompanied the exhibit.

Below are a few shots of the exhibit, hosted in May 2014 at the North Charleston City Hall by the City Cultural Arts Department.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe exhibit organizers wisely scheduled the opening reception to coincide with a city council meeting. This meant that my demonstration on making collagraphs snagged a few people who otherwise might not have been exposed to fine art printmaking.

demo pix a

demo pix 2 a

My final image of Jean the Machine Buster came as a surprise to me, but was the result of a challenge. When I mentioned that I would like to design one of those patches that army and intelligence dudes wear on their jackets, my son said I didn’t do stuff that was scary enough. So, Jean got Mean.

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Also, I was reading an oral history of women at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the 1940s. I decide to write down a few memories of what it was like when I worked there in the 1990s, 50 years after World War II. You can click on Work at ORNL Fifty years later to read that short narrative.

brochure 1 copy

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About Lillian-Trettin

I grew up in the Appalachian "Bible Belt" of East Tennessee in the southern United States, listening to banjo music and gospel lyrics as well as the Beatles. As a kid, I was curious about religious rituals like speaking in tongues and snake handling but resistant to the fundamentalist thinking they involved. Flannery O'Connor's tales of religious fanatics, con men, bigots, and the spiritually bereft or ambivalent resonate for me. Despite having traveled widely and lived in other places, I am (as so many Southerners claim to be) permanently "South haunted." I returned to making art full time in 2011, following a career as a teacher, researcher, and consultant and after raising two sons. I’m convinced the delay enriched rather than impeded my growth as an artist.
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One Response to Becoming Southern Steampunk

  1. Beth Hannabass says:

    Love the essay about working in Oak Ridge. I’ve read “Girls of Atomic City”, so this is a good update.

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