Week 13: stitched

indigo lines

It is now a third of the way through my project and it’s time to review. What do I feel drawn to with all these past weeks of experimentation? What resonates? The most common theme of my blog posts is about the line, the stencil mark making lines suggestive of the perforations of a piano accordion score or a line of stitching. The sound lines of the field recordings. The stitched line.


The act of stitching on paper is disruptive, it leaves incisions where the needle perforates the material. It is in itself an anathema; paper tears, it is not traditionally a material which is stitched (except for the spines of books). Yet using stitching as a method of drawing connects me to the memory of my maternal lineage, mother, grandmother, great aunt, all of whom were great handcrafters and embroiderers. These domestic artforms have historically been dismissed as women’s “fancywork” and undervalued for their creative and artistic qualities.


In The Book of Touch, Constance Classen interrogates the notions of eighteenth and nineteenth century “ladies work” which were seen as “an artistic and sensory ghetto in which creative women were pressured by gender conventions to contain – and downgrade – their aesthetic aspirations”.[1]

My stitching references this heritage yet is disruptive, freed from the constraints of this gendered norm, emerging as a tangle of threads overlapping and looping through the paper or becoming half finished lines. Not an embellishment, but an additional layer of textural narrative which stops and starts like a talking voice. These stitched drawings form part of my field notes, which has become an ongoing book project filled with ink sketches and thread.


[1] Constance Classen, The Book of Touch. (Oxford: Berg Publishers, 2005), 229.


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