I encountered the phrase "All fleshe is grasse" at the Medieval Museum in Waterford, Ireland in a small speech ribbon coming from the mouth of an illustrated saint. I’ve been meditating on it ever since through this ongoing series of soft sculptures exploring labor, domesticity, fragility, and the body.
Boustrophedon, 2015-16, hand-spun yarn embedded in men’s shirts with embroidery thread
"Boustrophedon" refers to a method of writing text first in one direction and then in the other, as an “ox turns” to plow a field (bous - "ox" + stropē - "turn").
States of Becoming Sand, 2016, periwinkle shells, thread, and found pillow case
There is a beach along the cliffs at Howth (Dublin, Ireland) where smooth pebbles, sea glass, and shells accumulate. I began collecting these shells and broken shell parts, because they stood out so starkly against the darker, more colorful bits of beach.
In “For the Time Being,” Annie Dillard meditates on the natural world, human suffering, and the tension between the individual and the universe.
Throughout the book, she deconstructs ten subjects, one of which is “Sand.” She tells the natural history of sand, the process of it’s formation, how rock is worn down by wind and water, how sand is transformed by tremendous pressure into more rock. Sand travels thousands of miles. It accumulates. Everything becomes sand.
Sometimes, making is a meditative practice.
S A Y, 2017, dishtowels altered using 'drawn thread' technique
In drawn thread work, warp/weft threads are carefully snipped and pulled out to create decorative designs. The work is extremely tedious, but I appreciate that this act of removal adds meaning or value to an otherwise plain and anonymous textile.
So much of women's textile work is laborious but 'silent.' Even thread work with text, like a sampler, seems to lack the maker's voice. Instead, these objects communicate indirectly. Abstract characteristics suggest metaphors or the aesthetic decision-making process.
Pincushion Reversed, 2017, polyester and wool fabrics, polyester batting, quilter’s and dressmaker’s pins, embroidery thread
Prom, 2013-2018, my prom dress c. 2006, nesting bowls, and my family's kitchen table.
This table was used first in my grandmother's house, then my parents', then mine, and now it lives in my sister's apartment.
Over a period of five years, I slowly deconstructed the dress (below), carefully snipping the seams and pulling out the beadwork.