Double Exposure is research project looking into the depiction of vulnerable women and girls in visual art.
Start from the beginning here.
So far my research into the imagery of “Souvenirs” has taken me two ways. I began this project by applying simple embroidery straight onto the severed pages of the book, over and around the models in these images, obscuring some parts of the photographs and highlighting others. Having worked in this repetitive manner, getting to know my subject matter, I was ready to start manipulating the imagery in other ways. To allow more complicated embroidery, I needed to transfer my chosen images, by now cropped and circular for visual uniformity, onto fabric. This was a fairly straight forward process aided by iron-on transfers. I sew, hardly for work, but to a decent standard. A good knowledge in manipulating different textiles certainly helped when planning this move.
I am a painter first, and an artist second. This did not cement as my only professional identity until my time in the Edinburgh College of Art, however. I do not feel I was outright discouraged from exploring other methods of expression, but presenting a coherent body of work was a key part of our academic criteria and something you were encouraged to work towards. It took time and more confidence than I would have ever expected to allow myself to lower my brushes for this one. Hence why “Double Exposure” is such a personal project for me. The re-introduction of textile based art for the first time since my teenage years has been an exciting re-discovery.
I have already touched on how embroidery continues to be viewed as a feminine medium. Textile art altogether has often been dismissed as a hobbyist’s technique, more at home in the WI Fayre than a reputable Art Gallery. I have only two words for those of such narrow minds: Louise Bourgeois. Especially due to the weight of its historic reputation, embroidery and textiles can be weaponised to the artists’ means. I needed to counteract the upsetting subject matter of Double Exposure with something calming and sensory. To fight crude with quaint, if you will. Thread and a needle are the perfect tool for this job.
I find the soothing tactile-ness of this work almost therapeutic. I feel every piece is taking shape almost on muscle memory alone, stitch after stitch. Building this body of work feels both important and inspiring – this is a good place to be, mentally as well as professionally.
Happy holidays – see you all after Christmas.