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My thoughts about pillowcases 2

As part of the process of collecting pillowcases I have been cataloguing them. Recording where and when I bought them, noting the materials they are made from, the colours used for the embroidery, the stitches used and making small sketches of the designs. I have also been researching, mainly the ones purchased on Ebay, their provenance. Many sellers do not know anything about the pillowcases but some have contacted me with details of who embroidered them and why, or how they came to own the pillowcase in the first place. Each story I am told I am adding to what is fast becoming a pillowcase archive.

But it is more than that. I seem to be building a project archive, adding to what I already have in Clarice’s archive. I suspect this will become a major part of Resting Place.

I find the idea of labelling and cataloguing, researching and cross referencing fascinating and  hadn’t realised, until now, just how important this aspect is.

As a child I remember being thrilled when I was allowed to go up in to the loft to explore the many boxes of collected ‘treasures’. Long forgotten boxes of a past. I suppose this excitement at discovering some long forgotten item has never left me. Except that now I am actively creating the boxes of ‘treasures’ and building something which I hope will perhaps express the   pleasure of discovery that I experience.

So, back to pillowcases. These items that have witnessed so much. Played host to dreams and nightmares, to those wakeful times of excitement, dread, worry and anticipation. From  procreation to death, they bear witness to so many aspects of our lives, in fact almost a third of it.

I am still exploring how I will use pillowcases. My initial starting point of making castings has now progressed to making

 This process of transformation has helped me to focus on the next stage, to etch the fabric of the pillowcases themselves. This process, known as Devore, is something that is new to me. I will be learning this technique during my next visit to London Printworks Trust (LPT) in Brixton.

I am working with LPT as one of their ‘artists in residence’ over the next 6 months. I will be developing Resting Place with them and then launching the project and my new body of work at their studio in November. They are a wonderful resource and it was very exciting to see their studio feature on ‘The Apprentice’ this week. If you want to learn textile printing techniques they hold many great workshops.

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