Thursday 30 August 2012

Cloth and memory: The seminar

About 30 people attended the Cloth and memory seminar on Friday 24 August at Salts Mill. We three artists (Carol Quarini, Beverly Ayling-Smith, Bob White), the curator (Lesley Millar) and the Chair (June Hill) discussed the exhibition and the ideas behind it with the audience. Some of the main themes centred around how memories are recorded and embedded and how metaphor is used to explore these ideas.

I was asked what drew me to the gothic and explained that it was the boundaries delimited in the gothic and their unstable, permeable nature that attracted me. I am interested in liminal spaces, fluid boundaries and transparent membranes as much for what they reveal as what they conceal. I am also drawn to things that can be sensed but not seen. I try and use this ambiguity and fluidity in my work to incorporate multiple layers of meaning. These ideas of layers and fluidity are also used by Beverly and Bob in their work.

It was pointed out that the pins in my installation were beginning to rust but I felt this was a positive engagement with the site as the pins were embedding themselves into the fabric of the building. A member of the audience pointed out that pins were also used as amulets and thrown down pin wells in Yorkshire as talismans for good luck. I had not considered that before so I will follow that idea up. The theme of repressed violence in my installation expressed in the pins and needles piercing the cloth and the images of broken shards of glass was also discussed. Talking about gothic novels revealed a couple I had not read but which seem pertinent to my work. Asked whether I might consider writing a gothic novel I replied that my installation was a small narrative of its own and I think I shall stick to the medium of textiles rather than print!

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