new silk scarves will be for sale at our FLIGHT exhibition
at Balmain in August
I began looking at ‘domestic cloths’ - embroidered tray covers, table runners and special hand towels - when I was clearing out my mothers’ house. They were made to celebrate a ‘best’ event. They are a tribute to ‘femininity’ – both in the process of their creation, and in the appreciation of the observer.
I am liberating these domestic cloths from the back of the bottom drawer, renovating them with creative techniques and elevating them to the wall, to be enjoyed on a daily basis. By working with these items I am ultimately celebrating the femininity in the lives of the original makers.
This one started as a stained white cotton hand towel. It was dyed in a eucalyptus bath and had various Liberty prints collaged on to it. It was sliced into strips from top to bottom, and other strips of dyed wool and silks were woven in to create a new cloth surface. A ‘suture’ stitch is used extensively to hold it all together. The couching and embroidery on the top was inspired by a scrap of lace. It shows both masculine and feminine elements in equal parts.
The contrast between the precise ‘best’ of the ‘parlour’ (as inherited from my British ancestors) and the insidious nature of the Australian bush – the stain readily made by the gum leaves, the dust, the flies and the general dry ‘spikeyness’ of the flora fascinates me.