Pattern, see it, copy it, make it, covered in it, eat it.

Week four.

The big piece is constructed. It’s a relief. It was physically demanding and challenging to make. A task or pushing myself to do something that I don’t know if I can do seems to be important, whether this is during the making process or carrying out a particular action in a performative work. When the task is finished, it opens up the space to pause and think.

I’m thinking about my use of textile and what it means – softness, colour, pattern, drape and how the cloth sighs and collapses a little when a textile work is hung. I’m interested in textile as a source of comfort, warmth and protection and but also as something that obscures, wraps, covers and has the potential to be suffocating. Between 2011 and 2014, I spent a lot of time thinking about, researching, drawing and making curtains. I liked how a curtain could signify perfection through the weight of cloth or the pinched pleat. I watched youtube to learn how to add a triple pinch pleat to the curtain. As a child I longed for tie-backs and even made my own set from crepe bandages and black electrical tape. In the series Inhibiting Satisfier, 2012, I liked how the dilapidated rooms with ragged curtains could echo ideas of neglect, how the single curtain billowing into a room suggested movement or how a curtain could obscure what was happening behind it.

Eventually I screen-printed a pattern to make a curtain. The pattern was a drawn copy of a design from an established fabric company. I enjoyed the feeling of wanting the fabric and wishing I could own it. I thought about it a lot and wanted to get closer to it by copying it. When people viewed this piece of work, no one noticed the hand-printing and they said they weren’t really bothered if it was hand-printed or not. Digital printing was suggested as a faster way of getting the pattern onto the cloth. The cloth itself is important, I took my family on holiday to Bradford so that we could go directly to the fabric suppliers in the morning to buy what I needed. It was too precious to post. In that piece I was behind the curtain wearing a matching suit, then side-stepped out from behind the curtain as people entered the space, slid along the wall and left the room. At this point I was keen to see how close I could get to the pattern. Wearing it and sliding out from behind it seemed to be bringing me closer. I carved the pattern into bread, ate this and shared it with others. In one installation the bread remained uneaten and I replaced it with fresh bread every few days. Finally I painted the pattern onto my face to see what that looked like. On that day the fire alarm drill happened at my studios and I had to run out of the building to gather in the carpark with thirty other people. It was hard to explain what was going on. Following this I got obsessed with black and white stripes. I constructed a striped textile, made it into a skirt and bought a striped morph suit to wear with it. I made a giant striped paper bag, put it over my head, invited people to watch me cut myself out of it with a pair of scissors, sit down, unwrap a cloth package, reveal a striped piece of icing that mimicked the paper bag and skirt. I cut a hole at the mouth of the morph suit and ate the icing through the hole. After consuming the pattern, I felt that I had gone far enough.