One of my sculptures: My Egg. Do not Sit! is going to an international exhibition in Finland.
The work is a textile sculpture of a human egg in the process of fertilisation. It contributes to the debate about ownership, choice and human rights. Who owns a woman’s egg?
The complex multi-layered textile sculpture is informed by a microscopic photo of a human egg. It is built through both solid and hollow shapes that are intertwined together. The sculpture uses warm colours associated with beginnings and round shapes both as negative and positive spaces and shapes in various textile making methods: shibori, lace, nunofelt and solid felt. Colour, shape and methods unite to further emphasise the depth and complexity of the arguments the piece embodies. The artist’s stance is expressed in the mount. It looks like a vessel, in this case a chair, but the artist’s instructions are clear. It is mine and you do to not use it in this way. It is Not Your Vessel. The owner has expressed their desire. It is also made delicately so that you cannot actually sit on it. You will break it if you do. Still, the choice stays with you.
The choice of materials in developing the piece was also reflective of the complex history that women have with reproduction and birth. It is a considered selection of merino wool, silk fibres, the staple of any felting texture. Then in the nuno felt I have embodied knit mohair from a friend that knits many wraps for new mums. and vintage silk from my grandmother as well as Russian silk from mum who had experience a really scary childbirth with me. There is Blueface Leicester fibres as they are the foundation and ever lasting presence in all my core work. And a bit of a raw and hairy fibre from a the dog of a friend. She shared with me a story of her miscarriage and I asked her if it would be ok to use the fibre from her best friend , her dog. And as it is always in this situations I have used a handful of fibres that are from a sheep whose name I know and whose owner is a friend of mine.
The piece looked impossible to make as with its complex structure took a while to digest from the microscopic photos I have seen to the 3d object I have developed. I have tried it in several sizes and also experimented with various ways to incorporate the complex shapes and textures. It took half an year to develop the prototype. And I have discussed it with several mentors.
Please note that in the next photo I am wearing the One Hat. The one hat always come out when we are at a cross roads and need to make a hard choice. A choice that might make us grow out of our comfort zone or our understanding of what is right to us, might not be right to others.
The most insightful conversation was with Marjolein Dallinga who gave me a generous insight into the connection between fibre authenticity and structure.
I have also discussed it with Brigitta Varadi at its early development as I needed insight of developing a mounting that would reflect the message consistently.
The positive and insightful feedback that I have received from my mentors enabled me to work further in the direction of creating the work.
The exhibition is a collaboration between Feltmakers Ireland and Finnish Feltmakers Association. The call out was for ‘A touch of Red’ pieces that interpret the colour or the concept in the pieces developed for consideration of the judging panel.
The exhibition runs from 1st July to 4th in Jämsä, Finland
The gallery is an old bank building overt two floors in the town centre.
Feltmakers Ireland is the national organization with members throughout Ireland. It supports work in felt to both amateur and professional crafts people.
I was so glad that my work was selected for this exhibition- it is such a core story in my practice.