140 days is the average length of a major depressive episode (MDE). For this project, 140 indigo-dyed handkerchiefs are combined with texts to illustrate the length and depth of a MDE.
Indigo dyeing requires continual tending and balancing of the vat, and is a metaphorical process for living with depression. The organic indigo vats I have maintained for several years illuminate the parallels discovered between the two deepest blues.
A handkerchief is often stashed away in a pocket, and yet is a beautiful object absorbing tears or joy and despair. Each of the 140 cloths is dipped up to ten times, deepening the color of the semi-transparent cloth.
Along with the textiles, a collection of texts describes the condition in the words of poets, and the statistics of science. Each passage demonstrates a way of talking about depression, and for those who know what it feels like, they describe what is so often hard to explain to others.
Together, the words and the indigo-dyed handkerchiefs make the pain and suffering that is experienced with a MDE more visible, marking the way for better understanding and empathy.
Engram 1, 2015
A few years ago, I began to record stories and conversations with my mother. Through these recollections of her 50-year career as a designer/weaver, I find consistencies with my own creative life. This first work, Engram 1, uses her first encounter with textiles to explore the interaction of storytelling with memory.
The words of the story become material: heard, recorded, printed, stitched, and traced in order to making the invisible visible. The audio recording is fragmented and layered, just as the memory patterns are embedded and re-collected. Dense and open imprints of text refer to the present and past; the text is readable or illegible. Sixty-four layered ‘pages’ tell the story of a story, from hand-written transcription, to a digital typeset screen-printed image of the text on fabric. Each page contains a fragment of the text; the story is not complete on any one. Traced and embroidered words highlight the shared memories, those that mirror my own early memories of making marks on cloth.
Every installation varies; the arrangement is fluid and ephemeral, just as our memories continue to change each time they are recalled.
Traced and Transcribed
Stories connect us with others over time and space. A single question unwound a thread of events in my mother’s life that caused me to consider how my own experiences reflect hers. Listening to the story of her life as a designer and weaver provided word and image material for this series of cloth pages that record my investigations into memory processes and kinetic self-identity.
Seeing through Leonardo da Vinci’s codex pages inspired me to work with the clarity and confusion caused by text on translucent materials. Like reading through the words written on the page before, what I hear and feel about her story is read through my own experiences. The process of printmaking creates layers of text that resemble a densely woven pattern beyond readability. This textural pattern refers to the millions of memory fragments that that are stored in cupboards and boxes in our brains. The textiles here refer to a specific event that was located in storage, unfolded, and hung in the light to be seen. Then, significant words and phrases highlighting connections between our lives are traced with hand stitches, making them visually tangible. Each gestural stitch commits the words to the cloth, fusing her memories to my own body/mind and creative production.
Installed at the Phipps Center for the Arts, Hudson, WI, January 2017.
Gallery view, Phipps Center for the Arts
Left 3 panels: Textual Obscura (front), Textual Emergere, Textual Contineo (farthest back) 2017, Screen-printing on cotton and silk, embroidery, 40" x 40" (each panel)
2017, screen-printed cotton and silk, sewn construction, 40" x 40" x 4" deep
Subject to Change
This collection explores how I’ve challenged some of my own assumptions about clothing by creating textural surface patterns using words that shape my world.
The text is printed with natural and synthetic dyes, and left as yardage or made into garments. The yardage allows the viewer the opportunity to consider aspiration: what form the fabric, and self-identity could take in the future. Altered texts and textiles indicate the changing nature of our environment and technology, and how we navigate these shifts. Intentional faded patterns, and stitch marks indicate previous seams challenges assumptions about quality and perfection.
What is static, and what do we change daily? Screen printing both repeat and random elements allows me to react to the image in process, building a layered surface that emphasize the complex nature of the sense of self, and how we create and present an identity of the moment.
2014 subject to change: different lengths, different self what was once is now something else
2104, indigo, silk subject to change: rising from mist dark and light separate into what is, and what is not
2014, silk, natural dye, stitching subject to change: temporary and yet marked permanent past
2014, printed corduroy, embroidery subject to change: broken fragments connected
Patterns of Order and Disruption
This MFA thesis project explores how textile design and garment forms can be combined to communicate to others about our sense of self. The act of printing is a repeated gesture, and contributes to the process of developing an understanding of the self, as well as solidifying what we want others to believe about us.
Text is used as image and message. The meaning is informed by the patterns and textures; legibility, readability, and expression vary the interpretation. For example, the word NO can also be read as OZ and ON, depending on how you look at it. Pattern structures are used to enhance the relationships between words; the words 2A (2nd amendment) and don't shoot are arranged in lines that won't ever meet. Reversible textiles expose or conceal aspects of the self. The SUBJECT TO CHANGE series addresses how a uniform digital print can also be varied and made individual with the reminder that the self is fluid and context-dependent.
The work was shown May 3 - June 30, 2013 at Gallery 1639, St. Paul, MN.
2013, screen printed cotton don't shoot another chardonnay? DON'T SHOOT
2013, screen printed cotton text/image pattern same word different meanings perspective
subject to change
2013, screen printed silk, screen printed cotton, digitally printed cotton variations: hand printed (method) hand printed (text) interupted printing
SUBJECT TO CHANGE
2013, reversible yardage: digital print and screen printing on cotton
2012, mono-print with t-shirts
2012, mono-print with bra, 30"w x 24"h.
Identity of the Moment
Collaboration with Composer Joey Crane Performed for Making Place Regis Center for Art, May, 2013
Identity of the Moment
The garments worn by vocalist Elizabeth Windnagel were printed with unintelligible text from Joey's score Jewface. Saxophonist Kyle Hutchins is draped with a printed shawl, which is taken from him at the end of the piece.
2010 This stop-motion video explores identity construction; what we are born with, what comes from experience, and what we apply to ourselves and show others.
An illustrated poem by Deborah Digges
2011, digital and mono-print with chine collé, 34"w x 26"h.