This was an experiment in using stitching as a drawing tool- in fact it was my sewing machine in Hong Kong giving up the ghost and getting into a snarl, that made me see the link between this and the project around my mother. I used thread in the images for “Book of sleep and dreaming” too, for the same reason. Loose thread is good for making almost gestural lines, but they’re more fatalistic, as the thread falls as it wants.
The thread suggests continuation, narrative- with the red stitching suggesting harm, danger, wounding, scarring- a negative event, and also a point in time and space- a point that disrupts the narrative flow. On one side of the event, there are multiple threads with connections and loops, whereas on the other, there is a single thread, meandering, taking big leaps at times. One way of decoding it would say that the left side is “before” and the right, “after” but that need not be the case. I like the contrasts here- the soft shapes n the cloth, the marks of the thread, both harsh, bold and soft, curving, the way the stitching can evoke scribbling- violent, and frustrated, denying. (Also referencing myself in this scribble… this time much more appropriately emotive- last time it was quite decorative.) Stitching can suggest both damage and healing, or patching. The contrast between loose and pulled thread is also emotive.
Tracy Emin’s stitched work gains emotive depth due to the use of materials of cloth and thread. There is something very considered about stitching- because it penetrates through the material, rather than being on top of the canvas or substrate, it evokes the physical sensation of making, and somehow stresses commitment to the act, which works well with her “confessional” type pieces.
Tracey Emin Everyone I Have Ever Slept With, 1963–95 1995 Appliqued tent,
I plan to move onto copper plate etching for the final assignment, and could use thread to make marks in soft ground.
Here is the set of sketches that showed the thinking- I was thinking about the way vascular dementia can be caused by mini-strokes, or burst blood vessels in the brain, small but seismic events that change the world, analogous to how volcanoes or earthquakes alter the landscape of planets. I am also struck by how cyanotypes are reminiscent of x-ray images- in fact they do not look through objects, unless the objects are transparent, but there is a similarity with the appearance of x-ray film, giving a sense of looking beneath the surface.