Mending Gold: Cloth, Land & Architecture
The act of mending is a personal and intimate action that takes me back to my first loves; needle, thread and cloth. Mending was once seen as a necessity across all cultures, today, some still find value in mending while others toss or cast the used aside to purchase something new. In a consumer-based economy, many fail to recognize and understand the relationship we have with textiles, landscape and the built environment or understand their importance in our lives. The task of mending allows me to pay close attention to the history of each textile; learning about its past rituals and how it protected the body or its performance within our homes. Highlighting the mended areas with a single gold thread, I am able to enhance the worn typography bringing attention to the individual history. With each stitch of gold thread, I add value back into the worn areas. This process celebrates the imperfections by adding beauty to the life of the worn areas just as in the art of Kintsugi when gold lacquer joined pieces of broken pottery. I too seek to find beauty in worn textiles, buildings and landscapes. Mending Gold: Cloth, Land and Architecture is a series of work that expands across our daily lives not only in textiles but also to our built environments that surround us daily.
Inspiration and Process
The act of making and creating artwork has always been a way for me to understand my experiences, materials and processes. Stitching by hand connects me to the rich history of textiles and understanding of what a simple needle and thread can achieve. These simple materials lead me to find answers, determine new questions and ways of interpreting my life. The single act of threading a needle to stitch helps me develop a personal language as I explore creative possibilities. The understanding and love of cloth is one that continually drives my curiosity and artistic interpretations. These responses intuitively develop concepts, which lead to material and technique investigations. I find value in not always taking the traditional route regarding my artwork as it is important to discover new ways of creating and pushing the traditional boundaries that have been taught regarding textiles.
Over the past few years the points of perspective in which I observe and experience things has become more complex leading me to create different approaches to making and experiencing my work. These experiences are analyzed by closely examining how cloth is made, what function it performs and the actions that are repeated to make, remake and/or undo. While most are not fully aware of their relationship with textiles, I celebrate the deep understanding and love of textiles from a strand of thread, a knitted blanket to the raised seems of shrubbery that outline farmland in the landscape to the built environment. As I have worked to develop and expand my awareness and philosophy of how textiles are a fundamental force in our everyday lives makes me keenly sensitive to seeing an endless amount of surfaces, materials and forms in which they can be created. This system of beliefs allows me the freedom to explore creating work based on textiles in a more abstract manner through time, video, photo documentation, to mending the worn landscape and built environment to the traditional use of materials and processes. I revel in the fact that I intuitively lead my investigations to create work that will clearly convey the concept no matter the process or material as they all derive from a complex understanding of how textiles are embedded in humanity.
Mending Gold is the latest series of works that I have been making since 2014 that explores mending worn textiles, landscape and the built environment. This universal and common act of mending allows me to seek and find areas that outline personal histories of worn away fibers in cloth, to the worn landscape and buildings where the textile industry once served communities. Mending Gold: Jeans shows the act of mending with a single gold thread a worn textile serving as a meditative act leaving a visual reminder of the valued history. Further connecting the act of mending, Mending Gold: Cotton Spinning Mill, Bucharest, Romania, highlights missing parts and imperfections along the brick building of a former cotton spinning mill. This industrial area of Bucharest lost the mill in the early 2000’s to cheaper outsourcing much like the textile industry in my home state of North Carolina. These connections bind together the complexities of loss of skill, knowledge and pride that comes from a community and the emptiness that is left behind. These two different applications of mending are seen as intimate and repetitious acts allowing appreciation and contemplation of material, process and concept.