between mum and I

I am interested in what occurs within a making space, in the physical, theoretical and emotional space that develops and is negotiated when working on a project with another person. Between the stitches of this work is a making space negotiated between mother and daughter and the tension between having an art practice and a family.

This quilt is informed by the tradition of whole quilts being worked on by a group of women. But this quilt diverges from this history because, rather than the quilt being made for practical reasons, this quilt operates primarily as a trace or document of time spent making together.

I established some basic rules for the project: we can only stitch together, working one spiral each, each instance of making marked in a new shade of red thread. The making days quickly developed a routine. We set ourselves up: hoops, needles and threads. And as we stitched we caught up on the previous week. This lead to other lines of conversation, and then a quiet, all but the sound of thread passing through the cloth, the tightening of an embroidery hoop, positions shifting to make room for the other.

As each spiral grew we were required to pay more attention to and negotiate the physical space between us. Sometimes we stitched side by side sometimes opposite each other. There was choreography to this quilt.

As the work developed I reflect on what is shared across a cloth. We talked about the past, debated the details of events. I learnt about her experience as a young mother, her relationship with her own mother. We talked about failure, about being average, about children and dying.

The third layer of this quilt is time itself. An animation of a spiral being stitched making visible the process, the stitching which is more often seen completed rather that taking place. But it is the time spent which is often just as important as the material residue.