Photo:  A Rudolf Steiner (Waldorf) school inspired nature table at Dublin Parking Day

Dublin Parking Day

“We are turning car parking spaces into public parks, games or art installations for one day every year. Park(ing) Day is intended to promote creativity, civic engagement, critical thinking, unscripted social interactions, generosity and play.” http://www.dublinparkingday.org

“The idea of dwelling takes into account processes of working with materials and not just doing something to them, and of being part of the emergent processes of bringing something into being. The studio [is] not a rigid place, a container for creative acts and materials, but an emergent space.”  Encounters with Materials in Early Childhood Education by Veronica Pacini-Ketchabaw, Sylvia Kind and Laurie L.M. Kocher




Photos: A playground for children not a space for cars. The Bloom Fringe Parking Day area for young children taking to the street.

Children should be part of life on the street. Spaces for art, toys, games and a chance to wander off the sidewalk. What a difference curb side entertainment makes to a city for people of all ages! Stepping beyond the boundaries, making street art, and being at the centre of it all. This is what we all want, and young children show us how its done. 

tumblr_owmk7p6LMK1rwq4xwo1_1280.jpgPhoto: Dublin Parking Day website, http://www.dublinparkingday.org

The Bloom Fringe Festival developed an interactive parking space for children on Dublin Parking Day. Bloom Fringe is a series of events and workshops aimed at greening urban Dublin. Its goal “is to celebrate biodiversity and sustainability, encouraging and inspiring people to use their city more by bringing together communities, artists, performers, professionals, enthusiasts and free thinkers” (www.bloomfringe.com).


Photo: Photo: Dublin Parking Day website, http://www.dublinparkingday.org




Rhiannon Armstrong (www.rhiannonarmstrong.net) is a performance artist, who recently facilitated public self-care experiences for participants at the Dublin Live Art Festival, 2017.

“After three years of being invisibly disabled with chronic migraine – a condition that forced Rhiannon to wear sunglasses indoors, or lie down in the street, Public Selfcare System is a work in which Rhiannon self-identifies as an expert at the durational performance of thriving in a world that is geared against her survival. Public Selfcare System is a one-to-one performance, part direct action, part masterclass in the radical act of stopping.” (Dublin Live Art Festival 2017, Public Selfcare System Information Flyer)

“I am an expert in resting in public thanks to a neurological condition that forces me to lie down wherever I happen to be, and stay there until I am well enough to get up again. In order to carry on living we may all have to learn to stop in the middle of the street, in the middle of the day, and rest. Get ahead of the curve, get your training in now.” (Rhiannon Armstrong)


Photo: http://www.rhiannonarmstrong.net

Taking time to stop and lie down on the stone pavement of a public thoroughfare, an interlude of rejuvenation for myself and participants in the performance of Public Selfcare. Each person is held with reassuring words and the touch of Rhiannon’s hand. The public element is forgotten within the space of two people being together on the ground, equals taking a breather from activity. This is a performance of empathy, solidarity and companionship. The simplicity of a time-out amidst the activeness of daily life. The art of just being there, together and then alone within the occupation of space and self. A performance of responsibility, a gift to passersby who see what’s not happening, who are perhaps reminded to approach the stillness within themselves. What I take lying down is confirmation of my right to be inattentive.

“Come with me to a place you may have seen, walked past, but never been to. We are going to lie down and have a rest: I will look out for you and look after you. You have right to be here, you have a right to do this. We can do it together.” (Rhiannon Armstrong)


Photo: www.rhiannonarmstrong.net

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Photo: A traditional May Bush in Ireland, placed at the boundary of a farm or home on May Day (May 1st) and kept in place throughout the month of May. The May Bush is a symbol of protection and good luck for the growing season during the Celtic festival of Bealtaine (the beginning of summer).

The Canadian Art Therapy Association Journal has produced a special issue entitled Art Therapy and Environment. 

In this issue environment is defined broadly and includes compelling and thought provoking articles from Canadian and international art therapists and allied professionals.



Art Therapy and Environment Editorial 

Art Therapy Caves: Linking Community Art to a Therapeutic Space by Cora H. McLachlan

Global Action Art Therapy: Cross-Cultural Experiences in South Korea by Seung Yeon Lee

Garden as Canvas: Therapeutic Metaphors in a Children’s Garden by Carol Knibbe & Petrea Hansen-Adamidis

A Natural Response to a Natural Disaster: The Art of Crisis in Nepal by Jess Linton

The Flowers of Compassion: A Trauma-Informed Artistic Event Involving Three Generations of Slovenians by Katarina Kompan Erzar

Access to the CATA Journal



Photo Credit: Sandra Noeth

Sandra Noeth is a dramaturge, cultural scholar and curator based in Berlin.

Her research interests include “integrity and protest in relation to the human body,” the connection between aesthetics and politics, and “bodies in bordering situations” (CREATE Ireland + Dublin Dance Festival).


Photo Credit: Siobhan Davies Dance and Dublin Dance Festival

As part of her residency with Dance Limerick and Dublin Dance Festival Sandra Noeth showcased her ideas involving movement and environments. She asked these questions: “How might physical and choreographic strategies represent, implement, legitimise and rehearse social and political action?” and “How do empathy, presence, improvisation or compositions inform the experience of borders?” (Dublin Dance Festival Programme)

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Photo Credit: The World Atlas of Street Art by Rafael Schacter. Artists: David Renault and Mathieu Tremblin

Movement is integral to art production, the making of place and composing identity in relation to social and political environments. Art therapy involves the art of movement, and can contribute to an understanding of aesthetics and politics. An examination of borders is part of art therapy – making lines demarcating personal distinctions and demonstrating the crossing-over into new areas of discernment. Art therapy can also inform protests that are both personal and socially informed.

Art therapy marks out routes of passage within a designated space, it can design sequences of movement and denote a body in motion. Compositions on the move, explorations of environment, and art influenced by context that simultaneously re-imagines space according to somatic knowledge.

The art therapy studio can also include the world-at-large.

Art therapy contributes to civic dialogue – art therapy asking complicated questions about expression and representation in civil society.


“I am currently working both as a curator as well as an academic researcher on understanding the role, status and agency of the body in bordering processes. I am looking at different experiences of borders and boundaries – national and geopolitical, architectural, material and built borders, as well as more symbolic, imagined, social, gender-related ones. They are very often negotiated through the body, through movement, physicality and performativity. And I question how the body, how movement-based strategies can inform us about these processes. How for example practical and theoretical knowledge from dance and choreography, how composition and improvisation, embodiment or somatic modes of attention, rhythm and affects might help us understand the experience of bordering but also how borders are staged, aestheticized, rehearsed, represented, and ultimately legitimised maintained or challenged”

(Sandra Noeth Quotations, from CREATE (National Development Agency for Collaborative Arts, Ireland), News/May 2017, Sandra Noeth on “Bodies, Borders and Movement” an interview with Deirdre Mulrooney)

Either Way, Make a Move

March 6, 2017


Photo: Hazel Meyer, Hyper-Hyper (Artist in the Classroom, The Pedagogical Impulse)

A Workshop for the School of Arts Education and Movement
Dublin City University, Institute of Education

Pamela Whitaker, Groundswell

  • Classroom as Art Studio
  • Teaching as Performance
  • Teacher and Students as Artist Collective
  • Social Choreography in School
  • Students as Curators
  • Education as a Happening 

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Photo: Art Out Loud, Basement Gallery, Dundalk

I am interested in the theme of choreography, and how students can generate movement motifs through interacting with objects and words that stimulate physical actions and movement responses. Choreography is a change of space, new ways of going, and actions taking shape.


Photo: The Medieval Garden Challenge

Dance and Movement Benefits Children’s Physical Development, Emotional Expression, Social Awareness, Cognitive Agility, Mental Health, Communication

The classroom as an artwork can inspire movement, creation and also a disruption of ‘order’ (Stephanie Springgay, 2014). We will explore lines of connection between different spaces in a classroom, and develop routes of movement that interrupt expectation. We will be unconventional, in the moment, and attention seeking. Words, situations, and objects will move us on.

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Photo: Art Out Loud, Basement Gallery, Dundalk

The classroom as a happening is about animated learning. A situation is created whereby students re-define their educational surroundings. It is subject to flexibility. Art in this sense is related to environment, an atmosphere, and a studio of ideas. Happenings were first introduced by the artist Allan Kaprow. They are experiences where art, physical action, sound, words and environment are assembled within a specific time frame to promote participation and improvisation.

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Photo: Graffiti Inspired Movement in a Pedestrian Tunnel


Photo: The Medieval Garden Challenge

“SOCIAL CHOREOGRAPHY engages everyone’s perception and knowledge of….[movement]…inquiring if and how individuals can imaginatively order and re-order aspects of their personal, social, cultural and political lives.” Michael Klien, The Institute of Social Choreography

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Photo: Sophie Nüzel, http://www.sophienuezel.com

Stephanie Springgay is an Associate Professor in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. She considers a classroom a work of art.

As an experimenter, the artist-teacher does not mold students into a work of art, as if the students simply become raw materials. Rather artist-teacher-student-classroom become a creative assemblage filled with the potential to open itself to future creative instances. If a classroom operates as a work of art, not as an object manipulated from the outside, it becomes enmeshed and enlived. A “classroom as a work of art,” we argue, re-conceptualizes the artist-teacher as productively co-mingling with students and space. Stephanie Springgay, The Pedagogical Impulse, www.stephaniespringgay.com

All the listings below are links to Springgay articles:

The Pedagogical Impulse: Aberrant Residencies and Classroom Ecologies

The Pedagogical Impulse: Research-Creation at the Intersection Between Social Practice and Pedagogy

How do you make a classroom operate like a work of art? Deleuzeguattarian methodologies of research-creation

Cloth as Intercorporeality: Touch, Fantasy, and Performance
and the Construction of Body Knowledge, International Journal of Education and the Arts


Photo: Landmarks: Nature, Art, Schools Workshops in County Louth

image-5.jpgPhoto: School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Art Therapy Classroom Installation


Photo and Article Link: Teaching with Contemporary Art in the Classroom by Joe Fusaro


“American artist Sheila Hicks has redefined the role of fibre in art and influenced a generation of contemporary artists with her interdisciplinary visual language.’ (Sheila Hicks, Material Voices, Textile Museum of Canada, October 6, 2016-February 5, 2017).



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In 1964 when I was leaving  Mexico, I had to pack compactly because I had accumulated many things and of course many things that I should have just thrown away, but I thought I want to take them with me. How am I going to manage? So I began compacting in the packing. My daughter’s clothes that she no longer wore; she was only four or five years old but she had outgrown a lot of things. I didn’t want to lose them. Bits and fragments of textiles I had been collecting in Mexico, but didn’t have any particular use for…As I started to wrap them it was intriguing to be able to add colours and threads and thoughts and memories together. And I also knew that if I could remember which one was which one I could unwrap it in case I wanted to unwrap it someday. So that is how this began, this process of wrapping memories and wrapping relics, things like little memory balls. (Sheila Hicks, Material Voices Exhibition, Textile Museum of Canada)

Sheila Hicks http://www.sheilahicks.com


Photo: Pauline Keena, Sculpture, http://www.paulinekeena.net

Stitching is a way to mend, tailor and piece together fragments of experience. Cloth can be considered an intimate overlay that wraps both our bodies and home with layers of a story. As a method of mark making, sewing allows us to tuck into tactile relationships with fabric as a companion to our lives. Instinctive and improvised stitching can embellish clothing and domestic items, so that each becomes an entry in a lived within journal.

Textiles portray a sense of ritual making special everyday places through a quality of adornment and presence. Cloth enriches people, architecture, furniture, and objects with significance. Binding, stitching, knotting, and layering thoughts into a weave of cloth, conjures memory and the passage of time. The drawing of threads through cloth, the mending of frayed edges, and the matting together of fibres are all physical experiences that translate a narrative into material form. Cloth is intimate, another skin, a boundary and a caress. It designates function and also entwines a story. Encouraging the inclusion of fabric and fibre arts within art therapy offers new ways of exploring stories as they are told not only through words, but through the rhythm of going in and out of strands of meaning (Pamela Whitaker, Northern Ireland Group for Art as Therapy Summer School Brochure 2014, Workshop Descriptions).


Photo: Shinique Smith, Forgiving Strands, 2015-2016, Clothing, Fabric, Ribbon, Rope, Found Objects in Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Women, 1947-2016, Hauser and Wirth Gallery http://www.hauserwirth.com




Artist: Rósa Sigrún Jónsdóttir, Vortex, 2015, MAC Belfast International


Sonia Gomes makes sculptures in cloth and wire, eclectic fabric contortions that evokes simultaneously the idea of viscera and the sacred object. She follows the fault lines of affect or memory making and revealing arrangements intuitively. In their sheer candor, her sculptures become impressively expressionistic; seemingly free to do what they like. Skin is important within the body of Gomes’ work. The organ of sensuous contact with the world, it at once defines and limits experience. Cloth is a second skin, and a sense of personal history permeates her fabric sculptures. A believer in the élan vitale, she trusts that every material is magnetized with the latency of life. (Sonia Gomes Artist Description, Pipa: The Window into Brazilian Contemporary Art, http://www.pipaprize.com)


Photo: Air Embroidery – Bordados no Ar, Artist Renato Dib

Within time I learned how to sew. I was interested in the relation between the clothes and the body. The canvas was not anymore just a surface to be painted, but some kind of representation of the skin…Textiles may represent or be like skin, spots, hair, wrinkles, grooves, eyelids, internal tissues, and organs. Folded fabric could be like the folds of the brain. Since artwork cannot be touched, using attractive materials or creating situations that would prompt touch would be a sort of “transgression,” if that’s possible. It’s the same idea in the field of human relations: to touch or not to touch wounds and openings? (Renato Dib: Within the Sphere of Intimacy, http://www.textileartist.org)



Photos: Pauline Keena, http://www.paulinekeena.net

The work hovers between sculpture and the body. Manipulating materials opens up the human form exposing the viscerality of internal biology. The boundary of skin becomes a rupture where narratives of corporeality, of interiority, of chaos and estrangement are negotiated and rendered. Traces and stains line up on the outside where memories of otherness, that discontinuous state of being, are stitched with death onto the boundary of cloth. (Pauline Keena, Artist Statement, http://www.paulinekeena.net).



Photo: Le monde et la dette, Still (the) Barbarians Exhibition, EVA Biennial, Limerick, 2016 by artists Mona Vatamanu and Florin Tudor

A hand sewed map of the world debt by countries, regions in which the darker colors represent higher debt and the lighter the lower debt. Some regions colored in white mark geographic areas where the data is unknown and further a red square does not illustrate any region but an innate teritory that cannot be negotiated and regulated by debt and economics. Source: Le monde et la dette by artists Mona Vatamanu and Florin Tudor wwww.monavatamanuflorintudor.ro

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Michael Fibre

Photos: Sculptures to Carry and Hold, Fibre Arts in Art Therapy, Pamela Whitaker

The expressive potential of the work is not communicated outwardly…but is deeply embedded and embodied, articulated through the awakening of corporeal practices, nuance of gesture, slow repetitive rhythms, and a dense accumulation of subtly modulated surfaces that silently speak of the process of their making…In common with other objects of material culture, I would suggest that it is this embodied non-verbal materiality of the medium that makes textile (and fibre art) a particularly potent vehicle of cultural and artistic expression. Placed in direct proximity to the body, implicated in the practices, rhythms and routines of our everyday experience, and continuously and invisibly negotiating the relationship between self and other, it provides us with what may be a silent yet undoubtedly powerfully convincing testimony (Maxine Bristow, ‘Continuity of Touch -Textile as Silent Witness’ in The Textile Reader by Jessica Hemmings).

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Photo: Emma Parker, Junk Heart, Stitch Therapy http://miss-stitch-therapy.blogspot.ie

Binding, knotting, and wrapping strands together to sculpt significance that can be handled and occupied. Compositions of identity that relate to the body and making a place to locate one’s self.

(Cloth and fibre) perform both a material and symbolic role as (they) bear witness to the rituals and rites of passage that accompany us through our passage from birth to death, materialising and expressing otherwise immaterial or abstract entities (Maxine Bristow, ‘Continuity of Touch -Textile as Silent Witness’ in The Textile Reader by Jessica Hemmings).


Photo: Eva Hesse, No Title (1969–70), Latex, Rope, String, Wire, Whitney Museum of American Art (collection.whitney.org)

I cannot be so many things. I cannot be something for everyone … Woman, beautiful, artist, wife, housekeeper, cook, saleslady all these things. I cannot even be myself, nor know what I am’ (Eva Hesse, Diary Entry on January 4, 1964, http://www.tate.org.uk)

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Photo: Emma Donaldson, Untitled, The LAB Gallery, Dublin, 2015

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Artists:  Mona Vatamanu and Florin Tudor, Dance of the Earth, Installation, Frankfurter Kunstverein, 2013 http://www.monavatamanuflorintudor.ro

We followed images and streaming from Tahrir square during the Egyptian revolution. These events reminded us what we witnessed in ’89 – ’90 in Bucharest and other similar situations that happened before and after in a larger frame, in so many parts of the world in which people act and question for possibilities to imagine change. This installation act as a metaphor for a fallen tent waiting for someone to occupy it and continue this process. Mona Vatamanu and Florin Tudor www.monavatamanuflorintudor.ro



Photo: Sculpted Playground by Toshiko Horiuchi  (Photo Credit: http://www.staging.nsgmedia.com)

Donaldson deliberately employs materials that…she refers to  as ‘the stuff of life’: ordinary things of everyday use, things that are banal and mundane. The reason for this is two-fold: first, such materials illustrate the marks of daily wear and tear, the traces of usage that reflect the passing of time; second in Donaldson’s case using these materials as medium becomes a visceral and labour intensive process..(t)he artist’s movements are firmly recorded and easily traceable in the material history of the objects. …The tumour like Untitled is a blend of different patches of fabric, including medical dressing, pieces of hosiery, and muslin cloths, all hand-stitched haphazardly in an effort to contain this growing malignant mass (Emma Donaldson, Exhibition Information, Marysia Wieckiewicz-Carroll

It is my reaction to (the past) that provides the emotional material and impetus for my work; the propelling task is to dismantle the often rigid thoughts and bring them to substance (Emma Donaldson, Irish Arts Review, Summer 2014).



Photo: Dana Barnes, Unspun: Tangled and Fused, Ralph Pucci, NYC

(Fibre arts) perform a fundamental role in negotiating the changing relationship between our inner selves and the world that we inhabit…(Maxine Bristow, ‘Continuity of Touch-Textile as Silent Witness’ in The Textile Reader by Jessica Hemmings).


Photo: Chiharu Shiota, Letters of Thanks, New Art Gallery Walsall, http://www.chiharu-shiota.com, Photo Credit: David Tomlinson

Encased within the woollen mesh are hundreds of hand-written letters of thanks sourced from Japan, each resonant with stories of love, absence, loss or gratitude. The installation tells of friends, families and lovers, all apart for a myriad of reasons (Chiharu Shiota, Dialogues, Wall Street International Art, wsimag.com).


Photo: Chiharu Shiota, Accumulation: Searching for Destination,The New Art Gallery Walsall, UK, Photograph by Jonathan Shaw

These battered and bruised suitcases evoke unknown yet powerful human stories; stories of journeys, of migration, of discoveries, of love and loss… (Chiharu Shiota, Dialogues, Wall Street International Art, wsimag.com).

Chiharu Shiota is a Japanese performance and installation artist best known for creating room-filling, monumental yet delicate, poetic environments. Central to the artist’s work are the themes of remembrance and oblivion, dreaming and sleeping, traces of the past and childhood, and dealing with anxieties (www.arndtfineart.com).



Photo: Rebecca Cross, Fiber Art,  (2009-2010), Double-Edge Dance

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Photo: Margie Gillis, A Stone’s Poem and The Tornado Project


Photo: Eleanor Lawler, Dublin Live Art Festival, http://www.dublinliveartfestival.com


Photo: Martha Graham, Lamentation, A Portrait of Grieving

Textiles remember. This is not something that we necessarily ask of them, nor is it something we can divert them from doing. They do it regardless. And the memory of the textile is unremittingly democratic: moments of joy and tragedy are recorded on the surface and embedded into the structure of cloth, without permission and often without intention. Textiles remember, in part, because they are hostage to their own fragility. Unlike that of metal or stone, the life span of the textile is not dissimilar to that of our own bodies: newness gradually replaced by wear and tear until worn out. (Jessica Hemmings, The Textile Reader, 2012).

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Photo: Ann Hamilton, The Event of a Thread, 2012-13, Park Avenue Armory, New York, http://www.annhamiltonstudio.com

The crossings of thread make a cloth. Cloth is the body’s first architecture; it protects, conceals and reveals; it carries our weight, swaddles us at birth and covers us in sleep and in death. A patterned cloth symbolizes state or organization; a red cross stitched onto a white field is the universal sign of aid. A white cloth can be a ghost, a monster or a truce. John Constable described the sky in his paintings as a “white sheet drawn behind the objects.” When we speak of its qualities we speak of the cloth’s hand; we know it through touch. Like skin, its membrane is responsive to contact, to the movement of air, to gravity’s pull. (Ann Hamilton, http://www.annhamiltonstudio.com)


Photo: Yoko Ono, Cut Piece, July 20, 1964, Yamaichi Concert Hall, Kyoto, Japan.

studioasheville-butoh-dance-select-3Photos:  Asheville Butoh Dance, http://www.ashevillebutoh.com

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Photo: Akram Khan Dance Company, http://www.akramkhancompany.net, Vertical Road

…(T)extile as skin or membrane provides on the one hand a very real, tangible point of contact and material boundary and on the other hand a more ambiguous metaphorical boundary between self and ‘not self’ (Maxine Bristow, ‘Continuity of Touch -Textile as Silent Witness’ in The Textile Reader by Jessica Hemmings)

The night before surgery Sam and Kat took me out to dinner and then Kat went to rehearsal and Sam and I went to Ocean Beach late at night. On the firm wet sand at low tide your footprints register clearly before the waves come and devour all trace of passage. I like to see the long line we each leave behind, and I sometimes imagine my whole life that way, as though each step was a stitch, as though I was a needle leaving a trail of thread that sewed together the world as I went by, crisscrossing others’ paths, quilting it all together in some way that matters even though it can hardly be traced. A meander line sutures together the world in some new way, as though walking was sewing and sewing was telling a story and that story was your life (Rebecca Solnit, The Faraway Nearby).


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Photos: Louise Bourgeois from Top to Bottom:  1. The Cell XXVI 2. Rejection 3. Why Have You Run So Far Away? 4. Photograph of Louise Bourgeois by Annie Leibovitz

When I was growing up all the women in my house used needles. I have always had a fascination with the magic power of the needle. The needle is used to repair the damage. It’s a claim to forgiveness.

The act of sewing is a process of emotional repair…You repair the thing until you remake it completely.

Expose a contradiction, that is all you need

(Quotations by Louise Bourgeois)



Photos: Sean Gyshen Fennell, Fashioning the Facade, http://www.tyrusclutter.com

Looking closer one finds that the artist (Sean Gyshen Fennell) has broken the picture plane. Actual needles and thread are piercing the surface of the work, creating sutures across the artist’s chest and torso. Stitches encircling the artist’s nipples seem at once sensual and painful. They call attention to a highly sensitive area and stir up questions about sexuality. As the chest is pushed together to form cleavage, the artist binds the gap with a seam of cross stitches. Although there appears to be no physical wound here, there is no escaping the concept of healing in this gesture. The placement of the actual needles in the hand of the artist lets us know he is working to heal his own wounds. (Tyrus Clutter on Sean Gyshen Fennell, Fashioning the Facade, June 2010, http://www.tyrusclutter.blogspot.ie)



Photo: Tilleke Schwarz 1. It Feels Comfy But Will it Last  2. Racing Thoughts,

All my work relates basically to one theme: the oddities of life. The work can be understood as a kind of visual poetry. Every work contains narrative elements. Not really complete stories, with a beginning, a storyline, and an end. On the contrary, the viewer is invited to decipher connections or to create them. (Tilleke Schwarz, http://www.tillekeschwarz.com)

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Photo: Agnes Richter’s Jacket, The Prinzhorn Collection, Personal Writing Embroidered on a Jacket Made from Asylum Uniforms 1890’s

Nothing is known about when or precisely how Agnes created the jacket, except that she seems to have taken apart her shapeless hospital uniform and reconstructed it into a beautiful and elegant garment. The delicate buttonholes, the cuffs flaring from tightly fitted sleeves, and the peplum (a decorative ruffle attached to the bodice) all offer evidence of her considerable talent as a seamstress. The bluish-grey linen is accentuated by sections of brown felt attached to the collar and parts of the back of the torso. But what makes the jacket so extraordinary and so distinctive are the dozens of lines of text that cover practically every inch, sewn in five colours of yarn and thread that give the impression more of a painting than an everyday garment…. (T)he jacket and its text offer a powerful challenge, reminding us that madness is more code than chemistry, and if we want to understand it, we need native speakers, not just brain scans. (Gail Hornstein, Madness from the Outside In, The Psychologist, British Psychological Society, http://www.thepsychologist.bps.org.uk)

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Photo: Artwork by Laura Jo Pierce,  TEXTile Exhibition, Creative Growth Art Centre Gallery, http://www.creativegrowth.org

A thread now most often means a line of conversation via e-mail or other electronic means, but thread must have been an even more compelling metaphor when most people witnessed or did the women’s work that is spinning. It is a mesmerizing art, the spindle revolving below the strong thread that the fingers twist out of the mass of fibers on an arm or a distaff. The gesture turns the cloudy mass of fiber into lines with which the world can be tied together. Likewise, the spinning wheel turns, cyclical time revolving to draw out the linear line of a thread. The verb to spin first meant just this act of making, then evolved to mean anything turning rapidly, and then it came to mean telling a tale. (Rebecca Solnit, The Faraway Nearby).