Exercise 3 Materiality- Textiles: Environmental-Human Crisis-Recovery
Three Qualities which are Relevant to my Creative Practice
Gillian Morris Student No. 511388
Fractured, Split and Ruptured
Fracturing, splitting, and rupturing are core qualities which are relevant to my creative work with materials both environmentally and clinically. I have visually represented such qualities through print and weave, to pull apart and tear fragile materials to exemplify environmental threat, decline and our harmful relationship with nature.
Such qualities however also yield relevance for and within my own identity as a therapist within the psychotherapeutic relationship and how crisis can cause fracturing, splitting, and rupturing through this process of change…and of the need to visually communicate this process, of struggle, of crisis. The textile artist, Kira Dominguez Hultgren emphasised in many finished pieces splits as the yet-to-be woven or never-to-be woven parts of these weavings… Spaces, cracks, tears, all point to the possibility of what more there might be, of new terms, new bodies, and new architecture. In my own creative work, I see potential in experimenting with this theme through printed materials and weaving-stitch.
I could relate with this sense of re-storying narratives but from within a therapeutic space…of individuals using the space to reconstruct their own narratives, who they are, to unlearn knowledge systems and to make known their own stories which have been unseen and unheard for many years. This space represents the embodied experience of the individual in therapy, of the capacity to express to give a tangible or visible form to feelings and thinking. I related to this understanding of mis-storied and misaligned identities which are wrapped up within the warp and the weft, of the balance and tension between the materials to hold the narrative in place within the space, of reconstituting and altering the narrative through the therapy process which can be visually represented through the layering of print, materials, splitting with the layering of experiencing and meaning. This idea of disruption, challenge, change, and re-imagining narratives sits well with the context of therapy and what happens within such bodies within these spaces. This idea of completion is the antithesis of therapy as we are so often unfinished in process, of disrupting the cloth and fibre, of deliberately leaving material split, torn, and ripped with spaces unfilled to challenge the continuity of unhealthy narratives, assigned identities which continue to harm, label, abuse, dismiss, avoid, and discriminate. See Weaveprint.com
Strength, Toughness and Durability
Increasingly materials which have substance…strength, toughness and durability are responded to, that are composed of sustainable fibres with the capacity to be reused, reclaimed, and repurposed, to be damaged, split and repaired. I like vintage materials with their own life story, of the importance of sourcing appropriately to ensure their proven provenance over many years like linen, of the materials worth and value being embedded within their wear. The heavyweight bedlinen for example has a real body to it as well as being a source of comfort, soothing, and rest. Material with an in-built narrative is preferred which are weighted and have sustained damage, they are flawed yet the material can still hold and contain this without the material falling apart, that it can sustain crisis and recover. The textural surface quality and grain of vintage linen works well with half tone imagery and tonal variation, of holding the colour well, of picking up every nuance of the mark making processes with a good depth of colour to make known what needs to be seen and understood, of the experiencing of crisis and the increased capacity for recovery and repair. I am increasingly influenced by Joanna Kinnersly-Taylor, printed textile artist and designer, as she undertakes one-off very personal commissions ¬for both the public and domestic ¬environments including galleries and she often uses vintage materials including domestic linens to create a sense of recognition, to capture a particular moment, atmosphere, or environment to elicit a response through exquisite mark making.
Repair, Change, Regrowth and Recovery
Given my own personal and professional identity I seek to explore and experiment with materials through mark making in my artwork and the print imagery alongside my relationship with the material in process to investigate the most appropriate felt response which best conveys what I want to say about my own experiencing, of crisis and of recovery. More recently I have got to know about the work of Claire Wellesley-Smith through Resilient Stitch (2021), of her use of plain sewing techniques and stitching using found, reclaimed, and repurposed materials from everyday use. Within her repair dialogues she will often rescue and repair natural materials which have already had a long life to further enhance their value and worth, to use emotionally and environmentally to aid wellbeing.
Claire-Wellesley-Smith (2015) acknowledged the need for slowing down connected with sustainability, simplicity, reflection, and tuning into traditional textile traditions, to emphasise a less-is-more approach, valuing quality over quantity, and bringing a meaningful and thoughtful approach to textile practice. Claire Wellesley-Smith uses simple techniques inspired by traditional practice reusing and re-inventing materials, mending through practical and decorative techniques to promote sustainable textile practice.