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Tinker Creeking

Sculptures by Michelle Lassaline. 

 

All images copyright© Michelle Lassaline. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

 

About the Artist

Michelle LassalineMichelle Lassaline is a multidisciplinary artist working in painting and drawing, sewing and textiles, papier-mâché sculpture, and performance art. Michelle’s work is in the collections of Isle Royale National Park, the White River Valley Museum, the City of Reno, and the Oats Park Art Center. She was a 2020 recipient of the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant, and has received grants from the City of Seattle, Artist Trust, 4Culture, and the Nevada Arts Council.

Michelle received her BFA from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2014 and worked as a traveling exhibition installer for the Nevada Arts Council after graduating. She established her ongoing performance work The Taeuber Troupe for Reno’s Artown festival in 2015 as the 20th anniversary commissioned artist, and she designed the 2016 Artown poster. Michelle developed her commitment to community as a member of the Holland Project Gallery Committee, and continues to work on projects with Reno’s foremost all-ages art space. Most recently, she co-curated an exhibition for the Holland Project in January with her friend and fellow artist, Michelle Laxalt. Lassaline moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2016, where she now lives on an island in the Puget Sound. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, she ran The Taeuber Troupe as a small business and full-time job. She is currently pursuing her Master of Fine Arts degree at the Maine College of Art’s low-residency program.

 

About the Exhibit

This series of small-scale sculptures is made from found objects collected during the artist’s habitual practice of “tinker creeking,” a term coined by Michael Milano and Elisabeth Smith and derived from title of Annie Dillard’s book Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. The practice involves daily, weekly, and yearly trips to the same places in order to notice changes and make observations of all things small and large. The first four images in this exhibition are works made on Vashon Island where Lassaline lives, and references Dillard’s essays about a nearby island in the Puget Sound where the author lived for a time. Lassaline walks on the same beach every week, witnessing the changing debris of winter and the low tides of summer.

The last seven images document temporary sculptures made from items found in and around the Dassler Cabin on Scoville Point at Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior where Lassaline was an artist in residence in 2016. The park asks visitors not to keep any treasures they find on the beach, so that others may enjoy the rare bits of glass and Greenstone that can be found there. In 2018, Lassaline returned to Isle Royale to stay in the Dassler Cabin once again, and discovered the bits of leather, golden tacks, and box of green matches all remained. The act of returning to a place, whether weekly or after a few years, allows for all kinds of wonderful thinking: the rekindling of lost memories, the learning about patterns, and the documentation of one’s place in the world.

 

 

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