Artist working in textiles
What is history? Is it the tracing of fragments from the past, recovered and re-arranged to create new narratives, new patterns and new understandings?
I research and make work that explores the past through the entangled relationships between people, and between people and ‘things’. My practice may be sparked by a document, a text, a photograph, but most readily by material culture. I recognise that every object has a narrative and that this is threaded with a human story. I think that the ‘secret of things’ can often be found in the sensory encounter with them, in ‘handling’, in noticing incidental details and in the unconsciousness of the maker. I try to get at this ‘dream world of the past’, the hidden world of cultural beliefs that are encapsulated in things. I want to dig beneath the readily accessible discursive readings of objects (what may be written on them) to draw attention to their quiet materiality.
In my work I constantly play with the material qualities and the complex layers of meaning associated with cloth and thread. I always use cloth and thread, materials so proximate to the body and associated with the body’s everyday experiences and its rites of passage.
I relish ambiguity. I ask the viewer to be puzzled by the title, to imagine, to think and feel, to be touched, and want to touch the textures before them and to hopefully create their own narrative about the work. They might consider that a button could signify connection; a hide suitcase could reference skin as a container; a marked tablecloth could conjure lost conversations, or an empty envelope could suggest a letter that has long since disappeared, a fragment missing from the record.
I persistently think about the material processes involved in my practice. For instance while embroidering through cloth, I am aware of what will be potently ‘hidden’ in the surfaces and structure of the fabric such as the blood traces from my fingers pricked by the sharp needle, and spittle used to thread the needle, both registering my own entanglement with the work.