In the lead up to the July Seminar, I’ve been playing around with some of my objects.
Today I took the quilts and curtains out to the dining room for a change of scene and different light.
In an earlier post I talk about display strategies that I’ve been considering for my current work, those exhibitions have mostly been based on what appears to be more categorised arrangements. Most of the objects I’ve looked at are not made from fabrics.
The objects I’m working with are family quilts and curtains I’m drawn to; partly due to their materiality and the work present in them as objects.
I find the colours of these curtains quite fleshy, they are orange one side, pink the other, and when I’ve handled them they take on sculptural qualities I find interesting. So how to display them? Stacked seems quite dry and maybe closed/limited now, I find the wrinkles, fading and stains evocative.
It was the creases through the use of them that I was drawn to, it speaks of their function and place.
I have been playing with folding the quilts and placing them on chairs and my table, in my mind they have tend to embody a person; they have kept bodies warm, provided comfort and are objects of care. The chair felt like one way hold them as ‘bodies’.
This gives me a sense of order and organisation and care/maintenance.
Draped over ironing board do they then move more? Change? Work?
Then there is the really damaged quilt.
Which has perished in the spaces between the flowers. I love this.
Still cozy though.
A parallel project grew out of some old Girls Annual books, which were my nana Shirley’s. The stories are full of daring young women and girls bravely sailing yachts, scaling cliffs, tending to wounds, righting wrongs and pushing boundaries; all the while the books are not free from racism, classism and colonisation, not to mention always aspiring to the moral high ground.
My curiosity was sparked when I observed my daughter studiously colouring illustrations in her books, and I recalled that my nana has also carefully coloured in many of the pictures in these books.
Some, very beautifully.
From this, I asked Luna if she would like to colour in some illustrations from these books, she was enthusiastic and got right to work.
I left printed out pages with Luna, and observed as she worked carefully on each page, and created a story – an adventure – for each one. The characters became herself, her brother, and her friends. This was especially interesting; is this what we all do? And just how much do children see themselves in imagery like this? Of course, this then leads onto thoughts around representation, diversity, and how important it is for young people to see themselves in empowering imagery.
Whether these make it to seminar I don’t know, I’m looking at working them into a project I have on the go for Suffrage125, and an exhibition here in Whangarei in September.