I have taken the Edward Thomas poem ‘Lights Out’ (1917), and the haunting opening line ‘I have come to the borders fo sleep’ as the starting point for this piece. Recently I have made work that deals with memory, commemoration and the relationship between clothing and identity.
The resulting exhibition ‘decorated’ referenced specific soldiers from the First World War through military insignia and uniforms.
The shift for this piece was from that of historical archivers to develop a fictitious character and echo the sensation of being lost in the thoughts that overwhelm him in the moments before his death.
Beginning with a period tailcoat I set about decorating it with machine embroidered appliqués of letter forms, symbolic forget-me-nots and a number of hand drawn portraits. The purpose of this was akin to costume design in using the language of clothing and colour to Crete mood that assists narrative.
Collaboration with both the model (Stephen Quinlan) and photographer ( Lucas Garvey) delegated control of the creation of imagery from that of personal, hand drawn to that of a nostalgic document.
By exploring technology through digital print and the use of typography the resulting quilt explores the way in which a cherished photograph can act as a portal to bring us to an event than that captured by a single image.
The process of simple hand stitching over the digital print distorts and helps us to tease out the relationship of materiality and tactility in our memories.
Photography in gallery courtesy of NCCD and Electric Egg.