Introduction: My current scholarly creative works explore aspects of the built environment through the decorative arts, intersecting historical precedent, heritage needlework and textile manipulation and creation techniques, contemporary technologies, and Southeastern life. This work explores autoethnographic themes and results in creative scholarship outcomes which fills critical gaps in the interior design body of knowledge. The works build bridges with related disciplines with the goal of enhancing the practice of interior design by elevating the decorative arts from the overlooked to the scholarly.
Research Philosophy: Ontologically I am dedicated to the idea that reality is not a single entity for anyone, and that everyone’s reality is intricate and diverse. From an epistemological standpoint, I acknowledge that the way that I see the world and interpret knowledge is personal, and based on my own experiences and interactions, and that perceptions of what constitutes knowledge and craft can change and evolve based on circumstances and viewpoints. Methodologically I am convinced that there is no “one way” to approach a creative idea or grapple with a problem or execute a technique. Therefore, the needlework or textile being created must be understood in concert with the concept being explored; physical and intrinsic aspects of the project and the existing materials or proposed setting should define the methodology and drive the approach. While I understand that multiple viewpoints and approaches to creative work exist, my axiological position is that creative scholarship should be motivated by experience and research into the technique and the intrinsic meaning; research and creative work are connected, and the outcome is not abstract.
Autoethnographic Creative Works: My ontological and epistemological philosophy as a researcher suggest that the interior design body of knowledge is constructed from many phenomenological experiences of the built environment. As a native of the Southeastern United States, I explore life, space, and lived interior experiences through my creative work. My current focus is a project series entitled The Pillow Case, comprised of individual artifacts of the decorative arts that are executed in a range of heritage fiber arts. This series explores critical questions about the relationship between interior design and current social, environmental, and political challenges through visual and tactile narratives of lived experience. Several pieces within this collection are co-authored with Steve Bice.
Steve Bice is a retired local tailor and practicing artist, who has worked in the creative arts for 51 years. He approaches creative work from a Gestalt perspective, understanding that all parts comprise a whole. Each creative piece in his oeuvre fits into a holistic platform that conveys autoethnographic messages. His work fills gaps in textile design, interior design, and apparel design, lifting the decorative arts from the everyday to the academic.
A native of Inglewood, California, and transplanted to Auburn by way of New Jersey, New York, and Texas, Steve brings a lifetime of experiences and iteratively learned techniques to his creative work. He initially experimented extensively with a variety of mediums, including metalwork, woodwork, pottery, ceramics, enameling, oil painting, watercolor, printing, lithograph, etching, sculpture, weaving (hand & loom), and rug-making, before resolving to focus on heritage textile art techniques that could easily be lost to history. Steve creates works using those techniques that challenge the viewer to introspectively examine their core beliefs about self, identity, worth, and how those constructs are displayed to the public through textile choices, both in the home and in apparel. As a gay male who spent most of the 1970s living and coming of age in New York City, Steve focuses on the idea of individuality vs. conformity in various communities.
Steve currently works with Dr. Anna Ruth Gatlin, co-authoring several pieces of creative scholarship that examine the intersection of heritage textile art techniques and current issues in the world today. Steve and Anna Ruth have worked on creative projects together for the past 12 years, creating a body of work that showcases a variety of techniques and concepts.