April 30, 2020

What do we lose when we forget the importance of a ‘labour of love’?

Emma Boiston

Patchwork of naturally hand dyed fabrics with fruits and vegetables combined with embroidery crochet and machine sewing.Ode to a Past Life, 2020125 cm x 79.5 cm

A patchwork of thoughts, smells, textures; layers of a past that looms on my mind, stitched together as a way of treasuring time. Using thread I have mapped a story that is rooted in child-like imaginings of my grandparents family home, attempting to memorialise a life-time that has been lost. Through the process of stitching, washing, knitting, dyeing, over and over again, I felt a closeness to the domestic lifestyle of my Grandma. In using blackberries, beetroots, nettles and weeds to create dyes I attempted to recreate smells, colours and textures I associated with the memory of my Grandad and his garden. The process of making became the work of art; creation becomes a coping mechanism for pain, a form of translating identity, rooting the maker in a place and time, as a means of documenting a life. For centuries women, and men have used fabric and embroidery in this way, documenting their histories through needle and thread. In today’s fast-paced, commodity culture, fabric has become a throw-away item, and the cultural, historical and personal meaning material once held is no longer of as much value. But what do individuals forfeit when they forget the value of their material goods?