A birds eye view of my grandfather’s farm. The rural address was Route 1 Box 187 East. I used both google maps and childhood memory to capture details of his and other black family farms where I grew up in rural Virginia Beach. Trees were special; hence the beads. They were play rooms, and giant yard art that I mowed around when old enough. In architectural drawing style, simple denim rectangles recall the main house and numerous outbuildings. The main house, a design from Hampton Institute’s building program and graduates. The outbuildings range from a chicken coop and hog pen to a shotgun dwelling. In the 19th century that shotgun housed black tenant farmers before it became this rural community’s school, organized by black families when there were no other options. In the 1950s I.attended kindergarten there. My grandmother watched me walk the oyster covered path from her door and fed me lunch every day. I remember it well.
Cassandra Stancil Gunkel works in fiber, printmaking and book arts in Philadelphia. While the Covid Pandemic has brought restrictions, it has forged an era of experimenting with foraged and kitchen based materials. Both her fiber and paper based works show the limitless possibilities of working beyond and around things that confine us.
A birds eye view of family homes on General Street in Virginia Beach, Virginia. After loosing two homes to racist development practices in Norfolk, my grandfather bought a few acres of land in a rural black farming community in Virginia Beach. He offered lots to any of his 12 children. My family home was built just behind my grandfather’s. Uncles, aunts and cousins built homes to create a family compound. This textile map captures a few of those homes as they appear on a satellite view of General Street.