Final Project, UAL Level 3 Diploma In Art and Design, June 2021
This work is an exploration of human memory and the memory of materials.
In April 2021 I was saddened to know about the closure of a long-standing Jersey family business, a 176-year-old fabric shop. This shop and its owner, who worked there for 50 years, were both a center point of my research.
This installation aimed to promote a dialogue about what is worth remembering, aspects of collective versus individual memory, and the roles each play in creating a defined historical identity. Though public archives successfully gather formal information, private archives and personal accounts make the past palpable. Traditional memory-bearing objects: photos, audio and video recordings, diaries, letters, postcards, souvenirs, and handcrafted gifts are extremely powerful in bringing memories to life and passing it on to further generations.
I used blurred photographs, scraps of fabric, fragmented video footage, and snippets of conversation to recreate my arbitrary memories of the place and the person. But almost abstract images, the texture and colour of the fabric, sound and moving image were removed from the specific time and place enabling the viewer to concentrate only on their emotional impact.
The speed of technological development is eroding interpersonal experiences. I want to communicate the value of mundane moments, preserve them and share them with future generations. By including dialogues with my son, I want to stress the importance of communication and demonstrate how easily the memory of a place and a person can be created. I was, of course, questioning the danger of this ease.
I encouraged the audience to share their recollections of the shop with me, in person or in writing. Like fabric scraps becoming a new whole in a quilt, I hoped, these pieces of memory could come together to create new knowledge to be shared and passed on in my future body of work.
In my emotional connection with the Island, I want to celebrate the human and the marks people make on the world; to treasure the local, the small-scale, the eccentric, the ordinary: whatever is made out of compassion. In this sense, for me, art is a form of care.
- How was your day?
- I had a wonderful day
- What did you do?
- I studied and then I went to a magic shop.
- Were toys there?
- No, there were fabrics and also a very interesting shop owner.
- Was he making fabrics?
- He was selling them and knew everything about them. And I bought fabric there.
- What for?
- To sew a baldachin.
- What is baldachin?
- It goes above your bed in summer, so you can sleep with windows open and mosquitos won’t bite you. The shop owner was very kind and offered to me little pieces of bright fabric.
- Is it for a blanket?
- Yes, you can make a quilted blanket from them.
- Let’s do it!
- Do you want to do it together? Will you help me?
- There were so many interesting things in this shop, for example, red shutter gates!
- Does he open them?
- Yes, he opens them in the morning to let the visitors in.
- For you?
- For everyone
- And for daddy?
- For anyone who wants to come to the shop
- I also want to go there and buy fabric!
- What will you do then?
- Sew a blanket!
- Sew a blanket?
- I want to buy fabric and make it with you
- Which colour do you want?
- Like in the story, made of fabric scraps, right? Will you help me to make it?
- Yes I will! Which thread will help me?
- We would need a strong thread and a needle.
- And colour?
- You may choose your colour
- That’s ok, we will do that
- And a beige one, like Fluffy
- That’s ok, agreed
- Mama, I want to buy fabric to make a quilt, when can I do it?
- We can go together, day after tomorrow I think, will you choose the scraps yourself? Which colours?
- Which one you like most?
- Brown, purple, red, navy, yellow, green, red, blue. These colours I like.
- That’s ok, let’s do that.
- Mama, what did you do today?
- I went to a very interesting shop.
- Were toys sold there?
- No, there were no toys, there were fabrics.
- Did you buy something there?
- Yes, I bought fabric there.
- What for? For me?
- Yes, for you, to make a blanket.
- Oh yes, will I have a lot of blankets? One, two, there, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen?
- Oh yes, that’s a lot.
- This is how many I want
- What are you going to do with them?
- I will choose one for each night!
- Which colours would you like?
- Yellow, green, light red, dark red, light yellow, dark yellow, light green, black, white, brown, navy, and dark white.
- There is no dark white, there is grey, right?
- Yes, that’s right!
- Will you help me making it?
- Yes, what thread we will use? I like brown, black, purple, red, yellow and orange
- Well, what do we need to sew a blanket?
- Sharp sticks, needles, that’s the plan. How do we make blanket, tell me, Mum!
- If you make a blanket from one length of fabric, you cut it to size, add a soft lining, and add the bottom fabric. Then you finish it on a sewing machine or by hand stitching. If this will be a quilted blanket, you need to prepare lots of fabric scraps and sew them together.
- Mama, I want the quilt one. Let’s make it this size!
- Same size as this one?