Textile Study Group

artists and tutors sharing ideas imagination and skills

Dorothy Tucker

Artist statement

My choice to stitch by hand and the way I build a contemporary stitched textile continues to be inspired by kantha. Kantha is a Bengali word for cloth and stitching an embroidered quilt. These quilts are made from the good parts of old worn saris, layered and held together with lines of running stitch. I am intrigued by the free style qualities evident in the drawing of kantha designs, the mix of non-representational images and decorative motifs, and the individuality of each kantha.

As I became more informed about making kantha I began to reference the woven saris borders and coloured stripes sometimes sandwiched between layers of folded cloth work by including layers of coloured fabrics in my work.

In May 2017 I participated in DIS/rupt, a Textile Study Group exhibition. To express the dismay, despair and damage I feel as I read current migration stories I created two similar but contrasting dresses for this exhibition. One a pristine garment hung out to dry. The other stained and torn presented on the ground as if left behind and trampled on. This damaged dress is partially concealed in sand littered with cigarette butts and ring pulls. Through the contrasts between these dresses the viewer is invited to imagine what might have happened, and to consider the dangers, disruption and loss experienced by refugees. Both dresses carry designs based on the pomegranate, a symbol representing life and death, growth and fertility across many cultures. To replicate a printed fabric these designs were hand painted using dye based watercolours.

In the autumn when pomegranates were for sale in local shops, entranced by the vibrancy of dye based watercolours, I made a series of paintings which led into three patched and pieced textile pieces in which the stitching is partially damaged by burning and abrasion.

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