The exhibition space at Ayscoughfee Hall Museum was restricted because of the heritage of the building and the lack of space, depth wise – the work was exhibited around a balcony area so all work needed to be wall hung on ready secured battens apart from two window alcoves. This wasn’t a problem just a challenge for someone who usually works on installations….I’m not used to being confined to specific measurements!
We were both going to create 3 pieces along with a collaborative piece. I’d decided to do one 3D artwork for a window alcove, a large felt covered board and a stitched installation on board – yep a real challenge with all those straight edges!
I knew I wanted to work on the theme of identity and loss. Each individual we worked with over the course of the project had their own story to tell or words that the activity they were doing jogged in their memories – long forgotten but suddenly reawakened. All had suffered loss; of a partner or a loved one, of memory and previous identity or a life promised that had been cut short due to illness, redundancy or family demands. I wanted to capture those ‘losses’ in a visual way.
I transfer printed old family photographs onto fabric and stitched a fingerprint in fluorescent thread onto each face. The Tineola Biselliella moth and larvae, it’s the larvae that eats through your clothes not the moth, represent the 1/2 truths, the misinformation and the damage that follows. Some contain a darn to show the pain of loss that never heals but can be visibly mended with time. The heritage lace reflects treasured memories but also the great skills that may be lost – some of the lace was handmade by my grandmother. If you look closely, there are other stitched additions that personalise the chamber…..what do those red eyes represent?
Raw muslin fabric was manipulated to leave windows which were stitched open to reveal parts of the captured scene….some left unclear and confusing.
The map at the bottom of the installation shows my place of birth and journeys to visit close friends and relatives that are no longer here but the memory threads remain….called ‘Retracing’ (written backwards but can’t seem to do that on the computer!). The map is also backwards, I seem to do a lot of looking that way…