Continuing my study of multiple historical layers, I have started a series incorporating garments found in other countries. The scarf (above) and blanket (left) were dug out in an abandoned old house in Turkey. The vest (right) is from northern Japan - an example of the heavily mended old clothing called 'boro' (rags).
By layering these garments with old quilts, embroideries, crochets, I have placed them in a context of time and place.
Ancient knowledge was preserved on clay tablets. As we progress from punched cards to zip drives, what information will be readable to future generations? Like rotary phones and typewriters (once cutting-edge communication) all equipment becomes obsolete. By disassembling technological devices and sewing the parts tightly under vintage cloth, I am ‘fossilizing’ them – preserving their forms, not in the permanence of clay or stone, but in relatively fragile textiles.
This Too Shall Pass is a series of hundreds of 6” tiles, each mounted on industrial felt.
As a part of daily life, sewing is a dying skill. Expertise that was passed down, mother to daughter, for hundreds of years is now dying out: types of mending are no longer general knowledge, and most young people don’t own a pin cushion. Hence, my work shows textiles in an archaeological context.
In my Fossil Garments series, the work is presented as fossil specimens. The deconstructed garments – sometimes embedded in handmade felt – are offered for inspection on taut surfaces. By carefully cutting apart and arranging the garments, their human connection is emphasized. Crochet and lace, showing through the almost transparent garments, appear skeletal. I used mending techniques in overlapping layers, sometimes obscuring parts of the garments, sometimes cutting through them. The rigid framing exposes the somewhat sentimental clothing in an unemotional perspective, allowing the viewer to examine the clothing as archaeology.
Museums preserve small soft-bodied specimens in liquid-filled mason jars, as double insurance against their drying out.
This inspired me to preserve vintage embroidery and crochet as 'soft specimens' under glass mason jar lids. Girdles and corsets were also 'preserved'.