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Sixteen Days In His Life

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Joyce Scott

American, Born 1948

Sixteen Days In His Life 1996-1999
Master printer - Maryanne Ellison Simmons
Collagraph from one sintra plate, Woodcut/Monoprint from Luan board, glass beads, handcoloring, handblown glass, wire.
Handmade paper
Size varies at 44" x 63" both vertical and horizontal
Ed. 15
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Joyce Scott, known for her work in sculpture, beading, and installation art, arrived as a visiting artist two days after Maryanne Simmons began working at the shop.(1) Scott came to St. Louis with her mother, Elizabeth Talford Scott, a nationally recognized quilter whom Joyce Scott credits with laying the foundations of her own work. Scott observed that she often used the sewing techniques that she had learned from her mother by means of "transferring those [techniques] not only to quiltmaking or fiber work but also into weaving and stitching jewelry."(2) In her art, Scott addresses the difficult issues of stereotypes, violence, and sexism. Likewise, she is acutely cognizant of her ancestry. In her words, "I cannot ever forget, nor should I, that I come from a blue collar, in fact in some cases no collar, background. By no collar, I mean slaves. Craft and handwork was a form of communication for slaves, and it is also traditionally African… I do not want to forget my heritage, I wanted to extend it."(3)

Scott produced Sixteen Days in His Life at Island Press. It is a multi-media piece consisting of collagraph, monoprint, woodcut, glass beads, blown glass, and handmade paper.(4) The entire edition took three years to complete. Scott noted that she would not have attempted so complex a print in the time allotted her at Island Press were it not for the assistance of the art students in the Department.(5) She is committed to helping train the next generation of artists and found the educational experience that she could offer the students to be very fulfilling. Not only did she consider herself to be making a print, she was also teaching. Scott also observed that the University environment allowed her to "integrate any ideas into her work." The resources seemed endless, and Maryanne Ellison Simmons, Scott’s printer on the project, was willing to attempt whatever Scott proposed. Upon its completion, Sixteen Days in His Life embodied everything that Island Press had come to represent – it was large, it was complex, it challenged the established boundaries of printmaking, and its production was dependent upon the active involvement of many students.

Marilyn Kushner
Curator and Chair of the Department of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs
Brooklyn Museum of Art
1 Scott would return to Island Press two more times, in spring 1997 and in fall 1998, to finish working on the complex print that she chose to do at Island Press. She would return again in August 1999 to complete the beaded elements in the edition.
2 Curtia James, "Interview with Joyce Scott," in the exhibition catalogue Sources: Multicultural Influences on Contemporary African American Sculptors, The Art Gallery, University of Maryland, February 2-April 11, 1994, p. 11. [info re publication: Foreword by Terry Gips; contributions by Stephanie Pogue, Tritobia H. Benjamin, David C. Driskell, Curtia James, Robert L. Hall, 1993. 17 pp. Published by The Art Gallery, University of Maryland.]
3 Joyce Scott quoted, Invitation to Scott’s lecture, Steinberg Hall, Washington University in St. Louis, March 15, 1998. (Island Press Archives, Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.)
4 Some of Scott’s Sixteen Days in His Life also include copper wire and hand coloring.
5 Joyce Scott to the author, December 5, 2001.