Thursday, September 27, 2007

Peach ties

"Un camison rosa melocoton de nylon de los anos 70. Era de mi madre, me lo quede como recuerdo despues de su muerte hace 26 anos, lo tengo guardado en un cajon - la textura, el estilo y el color me recuerdan a mi madre. No se que pasara con el en el futuro, pero no tengo intenciones de deshacerme de el ni de regarlarlo. Si lo perdiera, me sentiria triste y liberada: triste porque es el ultimo recuerdo material que me queda de mi madre, aliviada porque me siento muy aferrada a el."

"A pink peach-coloured nightie from the 70s. It belonged to my mother, I kept it as a reminder after her death 26 years ago. I keep it in a drawer - the texture, style and colour remind me of my mother. I don't know what will happen to it in the future, but I have no intention to get rid of it or give it to anybody. If I lost it, I would feel sad and liberated: sad because it is the last material reminder that I have left of my mother, relieved because I feel so strongly attached to it."

from my correspondence: female, 48, Spain

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Pink with white spots

"Being 2 years nine months, at Easter, standing in front of a long mirror in my parents bedroom, with my mum expecting me to admire my new outfit (pink coat with little white spots and matching hat with upturned brim) and I hated it! I did not dare say so - my first conscious experience of having to be careful, I think."

BBC Radio 4 Memory experience 2006

Friday, September 21, 2007

Hospital Linen

"From 1992 - 1995 my studio was located in a disused ward for the elderly at the Hackney Hospital in the East End of London. The building had a previous life as a workhouse from 1729 - 1929 [...]. Within a few weeks of my arrival the laundry attached to the hospital closed [...]. I became obsessed with the hospital's derelict interior. I focused my efforts on documenting the laundry and the metaphors of meaning that could potentially be revealed. I photographed this deserted industrial-sized space, with its broken equipment and discarded heaps of bedding, to evoke a more personal poetics of loss. My photographs [...] act as reminders of a community of (invisible) women's labour. The illuminated and visible moments of a community slipping away is intensified by the material evidence of the overlooked detritus of the everyday: laundry bundles, discarded cloth, rags, and abandoned nurses' uniforms."

Janis Jefferies, Laboured Cloth
in: Livingstone, Joan & Ploof, John (eds) (2007), The Object of `Labor: Art, Cloth and Cultural Production, Achool of the Art Institute of Chicago Press, The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts & London, England, pp. 285, 286

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Reality does not wear a tie

"Abstraction and reality - not realism - conduct this rancorous argument throughout modernism. The picture plane, like an exclusive country club, keeps reality out and for a good reason. Snobbishness is, after all, a form of purity, prejudice a way of being consistent. Reality does not conform to the rules of etiquette, subscribe to exclusive values, or wear a tie; it has a vulgar set of relations and is frequently seen slumming among the senses with other antithetical arts."

O’Doherty, Brian (1986), Inside the White Cube: The Ideology of the Gallery Space, The Lapis Press, Santa Monica, San Francisco, p.38

hidden layers inside a tie

Conceptos del Peru

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


In 2004/2005 the artist collective subRosa set up an installation at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art with the title "Can You See Us Now? Ya Nos Pueden Ver?"

Visitors were asked to cut out the labels from the clothes they were wearing and to pin them on a map of the world making links between themselves and the origin of their clothing.

"Thus visitors actively explored and demonstrated their own participation and complicity in globalized labor conditions."

subRosa, Can You See Us Now? Ya Nos Pueden Ver?, in Livingstone, Joan & Ploof, John (eds) (2007), The Object of `Labor: Art, Cloth and Cultural Production, Achool of the Art Institute of Chicago Press, The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts & London, England, p. 82

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Lucky Lady

What a lucky lady to have buttons that boil, iron and dry-clean ..... so much in a button ....


"One [memory] is of losing my mum in a clothes shop. I ran around looking at people's shoes under the racks of clothes, Then I saw my mum's shoes - I think they were brown with low heels and a buckle - and I ran round and put my arms around her. Then I looked up - possibly because of a voice that I did not recognise - and it was not my mother but an old lady. I burst into tears. Mum must have then found me - she was nearby but I didn't know that. I often used to get lost in shops as I grew up because I would spend a long time looking at something and not realise that others in the family had wandered off - or that I had wandered off!"

BBC Radio 4 Memory Experience

Pink Wool

"I was wearing a pink wool coat and hat, the hat was a bonnet style and had swansdown around the front. I was also wearing leggings made from the same fabric - they had a row of little buttons at the ankles that made them fit snuggly; the buttons were done up with a button hook while I sat on the kitchen table. I remember the clothes, and a flight of huge steps - I had to really stretch my legs to climb them. I felt pleased that I could do it on my own."

BBC Radio 4 Memory Experience

Pink lining

Yesterday I bought another old sewing box, dark wood, lined in pink fabrics, suggesting a private, intimate, secret space. I am reminded of Effi Briest, the heroine of Theodor Fontane's novel (1895), who hides her lover's letters in her sewing box, where her husband finds them - with tragic consequences.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Food and Fabric

Reading the newspaper my heart goes out to all those people all over the world affected by disasters, by floods and droughts, storms and fire, earthquakes and wars. When life becomes a matter of mere survival, water, food and fabric are what matters most.

This pink nylon fabric with the dainty white flocked flowers reminds me of food, of iced cakes, of stawberries and cream: luxuries which - like the abundance of fabrics available for our comfort - we often take for granted.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


I love the feel of silk. I always thought if I ever was very rich, everything I would wear and all my furnishings would be silk - well, maybe with a bit of cashmere thrown in.

I have abandoned my dreams of being rich and have learned to appreciate the qualities and beauty of other fibres, but silk still has a special place in my heart.

A few years ago I found some lovely white silk fabric, the kind you would use for a wedding dress, at a street stall at a bargain price. I made a duvet cover out of it. There wasn't quite enough fabric, so I added red silk from a curtain a friend had given to me and purple silk from a blouse I found in a charity shop. It was gorgeous.

By now the colours have started to run, the silk is beginning to wear. But I still love the feel on my skin and the sound in my ears when I turn in my bed drifting into sleep.