My fetishism of clothing and materials that remind me of people and places is something I am constantly questioning, and this path of enquiry, with relation, in particular, to the fold and drapery is something I feel will carry me into this second year.

I am interested in exploring the idea of objects which seem to retain a history, memory or narrative. ‘To live is to leave traces.’(1)

Cloth and its inevitable links to the home and the body fascinates me, and I would like to continue a broad investigation into themes around the interior, the body and cloth.

I believe in the potential of cloth; in the physical sense, being a highly versatile material, and in the metaphysical sense, being something that retains so much additional information.

Last semester I was exploring the ideas around the ‘fold’ in quite a literal sense. However, as I started researching into memory and cloth, I came across a recent article about the ‘Founding Hospital,’ which housed abandoned children in London. The mother would leave a ‘token,’ a button, a thimble, a hazelnut, or more commonly, a scrap of fabric with the child. If she were ever to reclaim the infant, this would be a way of identifying them to her.(2) This seemed such a tragic and beautiful description of memory cloth, that I have started to become increasingly interested not in whole pieces of a cloth, but of fragments, which are ‘folded’ and ‘twisted’ with stories and meaning.

It was after this that I visited the Ashmoleon, Oxford, to see the Pre-Raphaelite exhibition, and by coincidence found their collection of textile fragments. I realised that it is the potential of cloth to reveal, to mask, to hold intrigue, and to become metaphorically folded or unfolded that I am drawn to.

‘Each is a small part of a whole which is never complete.’ [On finding comfort in items of clothing, or photos or letters from the deceased.] …. ‘Minute parts of the whole, their significance is perhaps more in proportion to the whole than their own minimal entity.’(3)

I am interested in the narrative that can be unravelled from a fragment.

(1) Walter Benjamin in Young, D. J. B. The Material Value of Color: The Estate Agent’s Tale. Home Cultures v. 1 no. 1 (March 2004) p. 5-22

(2) Martin, C., Poignant Textiles Tokens of Tiny Lives. Crafts (London) v. 227 (Nov/Dec 2010) p. 20

(3) Ash, J., Memory and Objects in Kirkham. P., [Ed.] The Gendered Object. (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1996) p. 220

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