Designing With Commas


 One of the garments and figures created in collaboration by Janelle Abbot and Camilla Carper

One of the garments and figures created in collaboration by Janelle Abbot and Camilla Carper


In the search of inspiration for some art pieces I have been working on, my wife and I wandered into the Bellevue Art Museum. I saw some screenprints by Alex Katz that caught my eye on their website. The only other artist I’ve seen use screen printing was Andy Warhol so I thought it would be interesting to see how Alex used the art form. Once we had arrived I was surprised by the AMPM (2.0) exhibit.

AMPM is the first museum exhibit of FEMAIL. A collaborative project between Camilla Carper who works in LA and Janelle Abbott who is based in Seattle. The goal was to work together to create garments out of recycled material through a process called reactive collaboration. Each artist can freely add and remove from the work before sending it back through the mail to the other artist.

Painted on one of the walls was the main guiding philosophy of FEMAIL:

“To Femail is to design with commas, everything is a work in progress, left open ended, always changing and being altered.” – Camilla Carper and Janelle Abbott

I found this super inspiring because it represents everything I love about the art world and the times we live in today. We can easily collaborate with other artists over great distances without much of an issue any more. We can collaborate globally even.

This idea of “designing with commas” is fantastic. When you look at the art world as a whole, that’s all any of us do. We pick up the works of those who were there before us. We shape it and mold it. We make it our own original work from recycled material. In turn, future artists add their own twist based on what we have created and it all begins again.


  • What a great concept! Living with commas precisely defines how our lives merge and move along! I love thinking of each person as adding, removing or changing the fabrics of our lives!


    • Its a philosophy that definately works on many levels, not just in the art and creative world. Children live their lives during and after the commas their parents put in place. Generations do this too. Scientific and medical advancements are all built off of commas. In a word, it’s evolution.


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