≡ My two passions ≡

Ana-Teresa-Barboza_07© Ana Teresa Barboza, Untitled (?). Images via ArtNau.

A friend called my attention to Ana Teresa Barboza‘s work (Lima, Peru, 1981). A good friend, I should say, for she knows how I’m drawn to mixed techniques applied to photography, specially when it involves some sort of sewing. Ana Teresa’s work is anything but simple, though the objects and imagery we’re showed in the end are easy to look at, easy to relate to. In a short interview with my homonym from Le Fil Conducteur Ana Teresa says something fundamental to understand the greater value of such a work:

“Both embroidery and crocheting are techniques that require time. I use these techniques in order to make a connection between manual work and the processes of nature; creating thread structures similar to the structures that make a plant for example. My aim is to create pieces of work that simulates experiments, aiming to reconstruct nature, teaching us to have a new and fresh look at it.”

The relation between manual labor and authenticity in art is something I’m very interested in. I’ve written about it in this blog and there’s a beautiful text by Michael Hardt on the topic that is very much worth looking at – Affective Labor (1999). Works that require time, as Ana Teresa says, allow for a very particular connection to develop between the author and the product of his/her creation and the faithfulness of such a relation is of immediate perception. That symbiosis cannot be forged. It is inherently authentic. And why is authenticity such an important value? Because artists are expected to relate to their work in an honest way, to relate to the materials chosen in a way that is sincere to their purpose, their potential and their context. If they do not compromise with the creative process, that will be evident in the product’s lack of “soul” and I’d say these creators should not be called artists but instead image-makers, decorators and so on.

Ana-Teresa-Barboza_02© Ana Teresa Barboza, Untitled (?). Images via ArtNau.

Photography and sewing are my two passions. Although the way they came into my life was quite different from one another, they both relate to the realm of affects. I often question why they mean so much and tend to conclude it has to do with the value of affective labor and how it relates to time, patience, love and death. When applied to photography, embroidery works on an opposite pole, creating a sustainable tension between the two. Photography is flat and it’s about the killing of a moment that is then awaken in the form of a fake representation; embroidery is a work of patience and it’s about bringing things to life, its forms are never determined. Together, they clash in a three-dimensional struggle where the two mediums may or may not flow together in two major aspects: 1) their inherent capacities to function as symbols, either of the object represented or of the subject’s intentions; 2) their materiality.

There’s also a tendency to be reminded of Barthes and Benjamin when looking at these works. The former because of the concept of punctum, the latter because of the (ever changing notion of) aura. Punctum is of the order of pain. Something  like a stinging quality a photograph may or may not have, the way that photography penetrates and hurts you. The aura is an unspoken truth. Something that happens here and now but somehow has to do with the there and then of the memory of the author and our own. So the way sewing acts upon a photograph seems to me like a brutal dialogue, like an attempt to awake the death images by inflicting them with pain. As the needle penetrates the photograph there is potential for an auratic mode to arise. From the continuum of little moments spent between the author and the work to the originality of the photographic imagery created, there is an open field from where autonomous memories emerge.

Ana-Teresa-Barboza_10© Ana Teresa Barboza, Untitled (?). Images via ArtNau.

Ana-Teresa-Barboza_09© Ana Teresa Barboza, Untitled (?). Images via ArtNau.

٠ Embroidering photographs is more than a trend ٠

charlotte© Stacey Page, Charlotte.

paula© Stacey Page, Paula, 2011.

todd© Stacey Page, Todd, 2011.

Embroidered photographs have been a trend for some time now and Nihilsentimentalgia has featured examples of such work, like Maurizio Anzeri, Melissa Zexter, Julie Cockburn or David Catá. It so happens that the technique keeps coming up and their makers are enjoying a good deal of promotion and success, which doesn’t say much, since the art market is extremely easy to seduce and exploit, but it’s worth taking a second look.

02Meyer_New_JErseyII_Meyer© Diane Meyer, New Jersey II, from the series Time spent that might otherwise be forgotten.

12Meyer_TheWest© Diane Meyer, The West I, from the series Time spent that might otherwise be forgotten.

There is no denying that on aesthetic, formal and material levels, the result is grand and appealing: the combination of the flat old surface with the new textural one, the combination of the industrial and the handmade, the combination of desaturated images with vibrant thread colours, it all amounts to what seems to be a complex creation with different surfaces and different readings. But is that the case?

I recently cross paths with four more examples of authors working in the field that joins photography and embroidery, namely: Stacey Page, Diane Meyer, Laura McKellar and Hinke Schreuders. They share more than the technical approach to their work: they are all women, they intervene mainly in portraits (Diane Meyer being the exception, for she looks at architecture with a new look), they use striking colour and they mix the old with the new. The trend here is not so much the crossing between the mediums but the revivalist and nostalgic feeling which seems to be taking over all the cultural dimensions, from the visual arts to music and emphasis on fashion.

embroidery© Laura McKellar, Untitled, embroidery.

tumblr_ll2o3ftbQ01qk3loio1_1280 copy© Laura McKellar, Untitled, embroidery.

The fact that they share the same gender has a particular important dimension, for the work with thread is a form of affective labour, which productive value is hard to figure out. The relation between the worker and the work produced is literally bounded by a thread, so it confronts the prevailing idea of the alienated worker that is more of a manager than a producer of things (or ideas for that matter). Although most of these works have little else than their aesthetic surface, their biggest achievement is the evoking of the nostalgic feeling. The hyper-aestheticized surface of the digital photographs and the absurd use of photoshop tools have given a second life to alternative processes, for people lack a sense of materiality and the handprint of the author.

In one interview, author Melissa Zexter says: The photographs were also of anonymous figures and the sewing acted as a map or grid over the figures. For me, sewing was another way to build up a surface and to build upon the content of my photographs. I loved the meditative process of sewing – it was in such contrast to the technologically more immediate art of photography. I was also interested in how thread blended in and reacted to the photographs. The combination of sewing and photography brought together two very different processes that I love. The use of embroidery is a reaction to the photographs and is a process that aids in the transformation of identity of the person or place being photographed.

[to be continued]

worksonpaper7© Hinke Schreuders, works on paper #7.

worksonpaper36 © Hinke Schreuders, works on paper #36.

worksonpaper37© Hinke Schreuders, works on paper #37.

٠ Adrienne Doig and the Cliché ٠

Big_FeministCliche 2013© Adrienne Doig, Feminist Cliché (Dresden Plate), 2012. Patchwork, appliqué and embroidery on linen, 99 x 77 cm.

excerpts from Lynn Berger‘s SNAPSHOTS, or: Visual Culture’s Clichés, published in Photographies Vol.4, No.2, September 2011, pp.175–190.

“We use the word “cliché” advisedly. As it happens, the genealogies of the cliché — an “expression or idea that has lost its originality or force through overuse” (American Heritage Dictionary) — and the snapshot go back to the same point of origin: the printing workshops of nineteenth century France. There, cliché was the name of the metal plate or mould on the printing press “from which reproductions of print or design could be made in unending quantity”. Under this mechanical definition the cliché moved into the English language, where it first appeared — or so the Oxford English Dictionary informs us — in Charles Babbage’s 1832 Economy of Machinery and Manufactures. Thus intimately tied to the printed word, its use was later expanded to denote the negative in photography. From the start, then, the cliché was an emblem of the “age of mechanical reproduction” (Benjamin).
[…]

In the nineteenth century, “a growing awareness of mass production in word and thought” (Flaubert) coincided with Romantic pre-occupations with originality and creativity, and in this context the cliché was seen as the linguistic denial of such individual attributes — indeed, as the very antithesis of original thought. According to historian Walter Ong, a “strong disapproval of the cliché is a regular concomitant of the romantic state of mind… subconsciously convinced that what is already known does not require repetition because what is known is stored in books whereas art is necessarily a venture into the unknown.”
[…]

So, here is the parallel: at the end of the nineteenth century, the cliché had become for language what the amateur snapshot would shortly represent for photography: a symbol of the lowest common denominator, an emblem of the boring, the repetitive, and the formulaic.

The cliché is a cultural product of a technological change, with middle-class connotations. The amateur snapshot is the exact same thing. Both are associated with the common man, indeed, both are commonplace. Clichés may vary slightly from one to the next (and to be sure “some variability in the standardization does not disqualify the expression as formulary so long as the expression retains its effective identity”, as Walter Ong has written: Rhetoric, Romance 288), and the same is true of snapshot photographs: “each [snapshot] captures a unique pose, even if that pose obediently repeats million other, very similar poses. They are all the same, but they are all also just slightly different from each other”, Geoffrey Batchen has observed (“Snapshots” 125).
[…]

The cliché is a political phenomenon. Terms like “containers for memory” and “mnemonic devices” may suggest a mere instrumentality and passivity, but clichés and snapshots in turn influence consciousness and perception as well.”

big8© Adrienne Doig, AD Libitum, 2012. Embroidery on tapestry, 45 x 46.5 cm.

٠ David Catá: a human life is never done ٠

* the title references the following post: ‘A Woman’s work is never done

ni_conmigo_ni_sin_mi_02._david_cata© David Catá, from the series Ni Conmigo ni sin mí (Neither with me nor without me), 2011

ni_conmigo_ni_sin_mi_01._david_cata© David Catá, from the series Ni Conmigo ni sin mí (Neither with me nor without me), 2011

* * * * *

David Catá   Bajo mi piel© David Catá, from the series Bajo mi piel (Underneath my skin), 2011

web_bajo_mi_piel_02© David Catá, from the series Bajo mi piel (Underneath my skin), 2011

* * * * *

a-flor-de-piel-por-david-catá-20david-cata-sews-portraits-of-his-family-into-the-palm-of-his-hand-05© David Catá, My Brother Javi, from the series A Flor de piel (Skin deep), 2012

a-flor-de-piel-por-david-catá-18david-cata-sews-portraits-of-his-family-into-the-palm-of-his-hand-20© David Catá, My Cousin Anita, from the series A Flor de piel (Skin deep), 2012

a-flor-de-piel-por-david-catá-14david-cata-sews-portraits-of-his-family-into-the-palm-of-his-hand-18© David Catá, My Grandpa Catá, from the series A Flor de piel (Skin deep), 2012

article-2538544-1A9F2FB300000578-461_634x632David’s portrait, taken from here

٠ ‘ A woman’s work is never done’ ٠

tumblr_myqotbhiqq1qa4iv8o4_500tumblr_myqotbhiqq1qa4iv8o1_500tumblr_myqotbhiqq1qa4iv8o3_500© Eliza Bennett, all photographs from A woman’s work is never done

Using my own hand as a base material, I considered it a canvas upon which I stitched into the top layer of skin using thread to create the appearance of an incredibly work worn hand. By using the technique of embroidery, traditionally employed to represent femininity and applying it to the expression of it’s opposite, I hope to challenge the pre-conceived notion that ‘women’s work’ is light and easy. Aiming to represent the effects of hard work arising from employment in low paid ancillary jobs such as cleaning, caring, and catering, all traditionally considered to be ‘women’s work’.

Eliza’s statement

٠ Melissa Zexter’s click and stitch: a marriage made in heaven ٠

0x550© Melissa Zexter, Brooklyn Bus Map, from Maps and Memories. Gelatin Silver Print + thread.

0x556© Melissa Zexter, Color Eye Chart, from Maps and Memories. Gelatin Silver Print + thread.

0x559© Melissa Zexter, Cardinal, from Embroidered Portraits. Gelatin Silver Print + thread.

0x5566© Melissa Zexter, Leopard, from Embroidered Portraits. Gelatin Silver Print + thread.

0x5599© Melissa Zexter, Schoolgirls, from Embroidered Portraits. Gelatin Silver Print + thread.

0x55333© Melissa Zexter, Bizzard Lovers, from Other Landscapes. C-print + thread.

0x5598© Melissa Zexter, Willows, from Other Landscapes. C-print + thread.

[…] For me, sewing was another way to build up a surface and to build upon the content of my photographs. I loved the meditative process of sewing – it was in such contrast to the technologically more immediate art of photography. I was also interested in how thread blended in and reacted to the photographs. The combination of sewing and photography brought together two very different processes that I love. The use of embroidery is a reaction to the photographs and is a process that aids in the transformation of identity of the person or place being photographed. […]

I take and print all of my photographs. Some of the photographs are digital prints and others are gelatin silver prints that I make in a darkroom. I take the pictures first and then decide how I am going to change them with the addition of sewing. The thread acts as a connection between the person and myself or place that I have photographed. I always think of the photograph as something from the past and the thread as a reaction to the past and present. The thread makes the photograph more personal to me and allows me to meditate on the image. Combining the two mediums (photography and sewing) allows me to reinvent the photograph; to visually react to a person or a place.

excerpts from an interview published at TextileArtist.org

٠ Maurizio Anzeri and the problem with labelling and expectations ٠

maurizio_anzeri_rebecca© Maurizio Anzeri, Rebecca, 2009

20110701033135_maurizio_anzeri_Rita300© Maurizio Anzeri, Rita, 2011

I came across Maurizio’s work through an unusual root – Bric-à-brac -, a section of the electronic journal Sans Soleil, specialized in issues related to Art Brut and self-taught art. Not only because of that but also (1) because embroidery is a very common medium within the world of art brut, and (2) because it is also fairly common to encounter appropriations of portraits that authors then re-work – in a sort of manifestation of the complexity of any identity notion or even as a symbolic expression of transcendental ego features -, I “was lead” to believe that Maurizio was not an academically trained artist, nor was he in a conventional circuit.

Anyway, my instinctual mode of association came into place and I found myself thinking of spontaneous art. It was only when I looked for more of Maurizio’s work on the internet that I realized it was framed in a completely different world, though that didn’t change the fact that I really enjoy his embroidery work. The problems that arose have little to do with the work itself, instead they pertain to the artist and the machine around him, which he is undoubtedly responsible for. There’s no sign of bad faith in Maurizio’s statement about his work. In fact, he meets my expectations, in part created by the qualities of the work itself, and speaks of something alike affective labor: “I work with sewing, embroidery and drawing to explore the essence of signs in their physical manifestation. I take inspiration from my own personal experience and observation of how, in other cultures, bodies themselves are treated as living graphic symbols. I then use sewing and embroidery in a further attempt to re-signify, and mark the space with a man-made sign, a trace. The intimate human action of embroidery is a ritual of making and reshaping stories and history of these people. I am interested in the relation between intimacy and the outer world.”

There is no denying that his work is sculptural. I don’t understand the need to label it as photographic, since the photographs are either found, archival or collected in flea markets and the medium that defines his artistry is embroidery, not photography. While googling for his work I came across a description in Vitrine Gallery where it says that Maurizio invent[ed] the term: ‘photo-sculpture’ and I can’t help but laugh. I don’t know who’s responsible for this slip or if this is just bad marketing, but it doesn’t help him in anyway to “sell” him as a surrealist or an avant-garde artist from the 70’s, especially because he was born in Italy in 1969 which would lead to biographic discrepancies.

20-maurizio-anzeri-zelda-1941_2009© Maurizio Anzeri, Zelda, 2009

Maurizio Anzeri's La Famiglia (2013)© Maurizio Anzeri, A stitch in time… La Famiglia, 2013

Tri-dimensional photography, collages, photo-montages and so on, are part of the history of contemporary photography. With surrealism, dadaism and constructivism these techniques were already building their one symbolic field but with the advent of digital photography there was a new boom. The nostalgia, nothingness and apathy that led artists to turn to archives (not only but also) as a way to react to digital manipulation and bring back analogue deconstruction of the one-layered idea that photography is an amalgamate of signs that “were really there”, also sprouted the discussion about the photographic support and its potential to be something else.

Questions about what defines one’s identity in the 21st century merged with questions about what defines the photographic medium and with it portraiture gained a new light. There are several examples of collages, montages and embroidered portraits, most of them recognized and awarded in the last few years and I’ve been posting some of them here – an example is Julie Cockburn. This is the ground Maurizio walks on. There is not a single problem with not having invented the wheel. This lack of originality doesn’t define the work in absolute, only in relation to its culture. In an intimate relation, the work is free to become whatever one needs it to be. The problem is with lying and bad faith, which ruins expectations of an authentic creation.

Sean O’Hagan, from the Guardian, states Anzeri creates something new and surprising by applying an old-fashioned craft to old-fashioned artefacts. I keep questioning the need to adjectivize this as new, specially since the works-of-art are good enough on their own without the help of ‘new-technological’ or ‘ground-breaking’ add. There are also other descriptions which, without being false, are just over embellished – there are far too many adjectives and no critic of the art on display. It’s part of the problem with art criticism in general, too complex, so let’s see another example.

maurizio_anzeri_roundmidnight© Maurizio Anzeri, Round Midnight, 2009

I can’t say who worte it, for there is no signature, but in Maurizio’s portfolio in The Saatchi Gallery one can read that Anzeri’s delicately stitched veil recasts the figure with an uncomfortable modesty, overlaying a past generation’s cross-cultural anxieties with an allusion to our own. My problem with this sort of statement is that it is pretentious and naïf at the same time: it is arrogant to the point that it suggests that what the work communicates should be contained (within a subject and its culture); and it is ingenuous in the sense that it presupposes that there is one understanding for the notion of ‘cross-cultural anxieties’, which means the spectator bust be either the colonizer or the colonized.

I’ll finish with another of Maurizio’s statement, since they are the most honest to his work: “I’ve been collecting old photographs for a long time. A few years ago I was doing ink drawings with them and out of curiosity I stitched into one. I work a lot with threads and hand stitching, and the link to photography was a natural progression. I put tracing paper over the photo and draw on the face until it develops. Sometimes the image comes straight away, suggested by a detail on a dress or in the background, but with the majority of them I spend a lot of time drawing. Once the drawing is done, I pierce the photo with a set of needle-like tools I invented and take the paper away; the holes are obsessively paced at the same distance to convey an idea of geometry. When I begin the stitching something else happens, drawing will never do what thread will – the light changes, and at some points you can lose the face, and at others you can still see under it.

text by Sofia Silva

┐ Sonja Bäumel, growing a second skin └

01 copy© Sonja Bäumel, Embroidered Tattoo, 2007

The embroidered tattoo is part of the fashion collection “Slow down…”. Latex layers
have been revived, reinterpreted and transformed into a skin. A skin embroidered with
local tradition.

sy_baeumel_cro_memb© Sonja Bäumel, Crocheted Membrane, 2008/09

“Our skin has a second layer of skin. A layer full of life, which serves as a membrane for exchange. This body membrane is made from the same substance as the world. The human body does not end at the skin, but invisibly expands into space. The hidden membrane exists between our body and our surroundings. We can enter this invisible micro level with a microscope; we enter and magnify the micro world. What happens if we make the micro world of the human body perceivable? I want to confront people with the fact that our body plays host to countless bacteria and that a balanced perception of the body is closely linked to a balanced perception of the self.” via Deezen magazine

0108sonja baeumel_expanded self1_0tumblr_mdf6ohXgLz1qeqxnz© Sonja Bäumel, Expanded Self, 2012

“Sonja Bäumel, supported by the bacteriologist Erich Schopf, has found a unique way of visualizing the invisible surface of the human body. She uses a gigantic petri dish as canvas and the bacteria living on her own body as colour. She develops and speaks a language combining art and science and thus creates a biologically living whole-body picture.
After the application of the invisible bacteria colour on the body, the body is imprinted on agar, the nutritive substance for bacteria, which is first filled into a huge petri dish (210cmx 80 cm). After a few days, a living landscape is growing there. It consists of a unique mixture of life forms on Sonja Bäumel’s body on a certain day, in a certain Viennese area. With this project, she wants to highlight the existing invisible infrastructure in order to understand and make use of it.”



Sonja’s website here

┐ Sara Rahbar └

© Sara Rahbar, Untitled, from the series Love arrived & How red, photography, 2008

© Sara Rahbar, Trapped in Dark Night with Nowhere to Run, I Have Died a Million Times Every Night in this Bed (left) + Kurdistan Flag #5 (right), from the series Flags, mixed media + textiles, 2005-2010

© Sara Rahbar, Solitary (left) + Anonymously yours (right), from the series Confessions of a Sinner, mixed media, 2011/12

Rahbar seems to meditate on the flag like a monk would stare at an icon. “It represents my father and so many, many promises and hopes of tomorrow … It represents endless possibilities, escapes, and mirages … it’s a very loaded image for me,” Rahbar explained. “Years and years of memories, experiences and attachments, and what is the work but a direct reflection of my life? What I’m focusing on, and what is boiling, twisting and turning inside of me.”

(…)

“And I remember how I worked on one of my first flags. I was traveling from Tehran to Kurdistan with Hossein a very dear friend of mine. He was going to work as a soundman for a film and I was going to photograph Kurdistan and try to figure out my next project and what to do with the rest of my life.”

“We lived in Kurdistan together for months, I would write, take photographs and gather random found objects and textiles that were used for donkeys and horses and sew them onto my flag. I would sit somewhere, sew for a bit, roll up the flag, put it in my backpack, and continue to take photographs, everything was on the go and very natural and in the moment. I worked to work out the turbulence that existed within me; I was healing myself and at the same time communicating an immense pain as I always am with my work. The work is a byproduct of me; emotionally and mentally, it keeps me together. I take care of it and it takes care of me.” excerpt of article by Hrag Vartanian, in Hyperallergic. continue reading here.

More of Sara’s work here

┐ History is written by the disobedient └

© Sofia Silva, (sketch detail), from the series The Protester, 2012

I heard of a darkness, descending upon the old archive of words
And the muffled whispers of the elders drowning in the midst of the long rows of obedience
This you must know to be true brother: we are the dead.

The weeping past and his wretched son soon will be victims of their own doing
All else follows
And when all is done and the night is purified of all these thoughts, I will sell you as you sold me
All else follows

It’s by death I am your brother
And it’s by death I do exist
And it’s by death that I owe allegiance to this darkness that undid all my thoughts

Rejoice, brothers and sisters! Rejoice, brothers and sisters, we are the dead…

So I tilted my head back and held on to what I knew to be true: the relief of nothingness
And reason my dear brother will not suffice.
These vast and silent glass eyed armies and their mirror shaped minds seek but virtue.
But I am corrupt. I am corrupt to the core.

It’s by death I am your brother
And it’s by death I do exist
And it’s by death that I owe allegiance to this darkness that undid all my thoughts
Yes, we’re the dead, brothers and sisters, we’re the dead

I heard of a darkness brothers and sisters, falling down on what remained of whom we were.
And it’s with whispers that our lives have become within a measurable distance of an end
What will become of dreams my dear enemy?
When this delightful destruction of words has rendered its means
When all is done and the night is purified of all these thoughts, I will sell you as you sold me

It’s by death I am your brother
And it’s by death I do exist
And it’s by death that I owe allegiance to this darkness that undid all my thoughts
It’s only by death that you own me

I heard of a darkness sliding down the streets
Tearing apart limbs and all their deeds
and reconstructing these new men, not out of hope, but of love and sorrow
All else follows
Because it’s by death that all these confessions have become my truth.

Words written and sang by João Rui, from a Jigsaw

┐ Sabrina Gschwandtner └

© Sabrina Gschwandtner, Hula Hoop, 16 mm film, polyamide thread, 2010.

Watch & See exhibition, Gustavsbergs Konsthall, Sweden, 2009.

© Sabrina Gschwandtner, Quilts in Women’s Lives (left) and What is a Dress (right), 16 mm film, polyamide thread, cotton thread, 2009

“My quilts utilize film footage from early Feminist documentaries. I re-work these narratives by sewing them into new configurations and adding in my own footage.

The source of the historical footage is the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), which recently de-accessioned the 16 mm films in their library. Anthology Film Archives took some of FIT’s films into their archives and gave the rest to artists who work with found footage. The short, educational documentaries I received are dated 1952 – 1982, and focus on textile crafts such as crocheting, knitting, sewing, fabric dyeing, and quilting.

After watching the movies, I cut them up and sew them together with my personal film footage. I bleach, dye, scratch, and paint some of the film.

The formal logic of my sewn designs are derived from popular American quilt motifs including log cabin squares, octagonal stars, and “string quilts,” wherein long, thin fabric scraps left over from other projects are cut and sewn together. The works are hung like curtains in the windows of exhibition spaces, or displayed on gallery walls via light boxes.”Sabrina’s statement

More of her work here

┐ Mary Stark – Searching for Celluloid └


Abandoned, discarded, unwanted film is woven into handmade artefacts and photographic prints are created in the darkroom from constructed negatives. Time becomes an integral element, with each print or object measuring a duration of film. This recent work explores the materiality of photography and film in the digital age and creates a dialogue between the still frame and the moving image.

Mary Stark is searching for celluloid. It’s an exploration that, paradoxically, began in the digital space.

“I was interested in working digitally with video,” says Stark, who recently completed an MA in Photography at MMU. “Then I realised that, of course, all this digital film has a physical ancestor. It’s like a piece of thread.”

The thread analogy is important. Stark’s BA, also at MMU (she graduated in 2006) was in Embroidery. She has combined both the material physicality of film and the action of weaving for her Cornerhouse Micro Commissions project, Searching For Celluloid. “The idea is to develop film as a material,” she explains, “to turn a whole feature film into a physical object.”

The interface between analogue and digital is providing increasingly intriguing creative possibilities, and particularly interesting in Stark’s case is the fluid relationship between the two – there is no sense of either/or, no digital/analogue divide.

“I’m using digital tools to help me design the patterns I’m creating with the celluloid,” says Stark. “I’m interested in the dialogue between stitch and film, both digital and analogue.”

It’s an interest that has also led Stark to explore a process of ‘weaving’ digital film footage together (see Vimeo video, above). A celluloid film is projected, captured digitally on video and then woven together using Final Cut Pro: “It’s quite experimental at this stage,” she says. source: digital innovation

more of Mary’s work here and her blog with all info about this project here

┐ Ananda Serné └

© Ananda Serné, Untitled

© Ananda Serné, Untitled

Sometimes I see images in my head and then I draw them, but only with the intention to make a photo later. I almost never take a photo spontaneously.

Ananda’s site here

┐ Julie Cockburn └

© Julie Cockburn, The Veil, Embroidery on found photograph, 2011

© Julie Cockburn, The Astronaut, Embroidery on found photograph, 2011

“The loss of, or manipulation of, the human face is the most disturbing and fascinating aspect of Cockburn’s work. These faceless or masked portraits me of John Baldessari’s manipulated mass-media images. He often used colored dots, or other means, to cover faces, interrupting the viewer and de-personalizing the image. But Cockburn’s photographs seem to have the opposite effect. She often embroiders or cuts out shapes into a complex pattern, and this record of tedious physical labor draws me into her images. Furthermore, whereas Baldessari begins with mass media, Cockburn often begins with a portrait, or something that appears to come from a personal photo album. Still the manipulating work that Cockburn does on the photograph creates a barrier between myself and the subject, but this barrier is no greater than the history that already divides me from this image of yesteryear.


Her work strikes me as, metaphorically, having something to do with memory. Her “hand crafted” photographs point towards the intensely personal and perspectival nature of our memories. As we process and understand our experiences, does memory obliterate reality or is memory itself an act of discovery? It seems significant that many of her chosen photographs include women. This intensifies both the manipulative and hand-crafted nature of her work. Is memory — is history — gendered, and what control do those who are remembered have over those who are remembering?”

source: Transpositions, excerpt from text by Jim Watkins

More of Julie’s work here and here

┐ Elizabeth Ingraham └

© Elizabeth Ingraham, Resilience, from the series Skins

“My subject is skin: flexible and emotive, superficial but essential, protective but vulnerable. A boundary. A border. A membrane. An organ. A commodity. A pelt.
In this on-going series of work, I am exploring how expectation, desire and convention—our own and others—form casings which shape our deepest selves and which become so familiar they seem like our own skin.
My skins are physical, emotional, cultural. Their fabric is a social structure as well as a textile, and their fabrication requires translation and invention as well as construction.
My skins are garments—not clothing for the body, but clothing as the body. They costume and camouflage the self, conceal and reveal identity, contain and control sexuality, embody states of longing and desire. They can be put on, worn, taken off, discarded. Like biological skins, these skins are permeable. They can be unzipped, unbuttoned, rattled or read, and I invite the viewer’s explorations.”

Elizabeth Ingraham


“. . . for me, SKINS is really about colonization. Colonization of our bodies, no matter what race, class or gender, whether we be women, men or children. . . . [R]ecurring [is the] motif of transformation; of finding a way to convert or reconstruct a self image that transcends traditional ideology; a way to shed our ‘skins.’
“The person in the poetry metamorphoses away from boundaries of image, finding a way out of her skin, whether it be through love, lust, environment, solitude or art.
Through our own self-searching, we have found that SKINS is finally about power. It is about finding a real power within ourselves, our lives past and future, and within the flesh of our own bodies.”

Kathryn Moller

Elizabeth’s work here