“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