Making ends meet

04/06/2011

by Katherine May

Garments and textiles leave behind, a trace of the person – left imprinted within the cloth.

I often draw textiles from their end of life position, deconstructing to re-construct – through stitches, new stories – you could say I am embedding, or ‘coding’ meaning into the ‘imperfect’ or waste materials.

For the exhibition I am making a patchwork, tent like, structure, to house a series of hands-on workshops to happen within the gallery environment. The work will be not only a reflection of my own portrait, but also a gathering and facilitation of others.

Inside the structure, I will be working closely with a family to make, from their own textiles, a patchwork pattern – a code, unique to their family identity. I will be doing a days training with the Oral History Society, to enable me to conduct and record interviews with the family prior to the exhibition and workshops. Information collected during the interviews, about their textiles and the roles they play in the family, will be used to inform the design of their unique patchwork.

The structure itself will be made from my own stash of textiles – fragments that surround me in the studio, piles that I move between and engage with intimately. This method celebrates the practice of ‘making ends meet’, and traditions within quilting communities where limitations of material, often led to the creation of evocative textiles.

The pacthwork will reveal my sorting, how I value the fabrics. I have been making drawings (seen in photos above) that look at ways to categorise the value of colour – taking inspiration from Joseph Albers studies on Interaction of Colour.

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