Amazwi Abesifazne

Voices of Women – stitched cloth telling the stories of (often) poor black women from rural townships in South Africa.

There illustrations through stitch are supported with text.

Agnes Mosalo

On 16 December 1991, I was working at the plug firm for two years. We were working for whites and we were faithful to them but they were not to us. When they had to pay us they ran away with our money. We, the employees, were so hurt. We went to our respective homes. We stayed for about a month and three weeks with nothing to eat. After that we received letters from the authorities saying that we would have to meet with the people we used to work for to talk about our money. When we arrived there, there was no one. We never got anything until today.

Nokuzola Ngidi

It was 1986 in the years of Apartheid when we were living the bird’s life in Odendaalsrus, At that time people who did not have a passport (permission to be in a certain area) were arrested. My mother was sleeping over at the house.
The police and Boers used to arrive and wanted our parents. They said that we were “kaffirs” children.

What I won’t forget is when they took my father. He was going to work. They took him away and we did not know where he was or where they would take him. My mother did not report this at the place where he was working, Saaiplaas, as she was scared of being arrested. After a month we heard that there were a man that was found in Kroonstad and that he was at the hospital. He had an employee card with the name Zibonele Filane and the name of the place where he was working. That man was my father. He was injured. His waist and leg were broken. He died.

I do not want what happened to my parents to happen to my children.


Ana Lupas: The Solemn Process 1964 – 2008

Ana Lupas is a Romanian artist.  In this work she worked with communities in the  Transylvanian village of Salistea Sibiului, she consider herself  and her role as the ‘initiator’. She would invite local people to use old traditions and build monumentally scaled wreaths onto wire netting which had been stretched over a premade skeletal structure (made / designed by her?). Once made, these artefacts would be displayed in the home, on farmland as objects of interest. Over several years, such objects were made. the idea would be passed on through families and villages but after 10/12 years, due to a worsening economic climate –  the making of the works stopped.

Lupas, knowing these works were now deteriorating, she started to draw them to restore them and perhaps act as a commemoration.

For the last (latest) stage of the work, the wreaths have been gathered and stored in metal containers which are formed in the shape of the original wreaths.

Lupas states that it reflects ‘behavioural patterns, engendered by a tradition that has been validated for several millenia by being kept alive in the community’s consciousness’

Tate etc. Vol 2017. Issue 39. p93

A practical post

Having to make and invent your own studio facilities and tools seems to be an integral part of engaging as an amateur with a creative hobby.

This post that I found helped me work out a way to create quilts on frames when short of space. 

feeling stitchy: Stitchy Snippets – Antique Textiles

This is the work of Louise Saxton who takes old embroidered textiles and re-uses elements. They seem to have a backing and are pinned rather than stitched heavily to give a raised movement. I appreciate its practical approach in technique despite its complex visual impact.

This post is a repost from the Feeling Stichy blog:

Amy Twigger Holroyd

Amy Twigger Holroyd is interested in sustainable knitwear, amateur activities that happen in the home such as repairing and actively seeks out ways to support amateur and small scale activities.

Like me she is keen to understand PEOPLES LIVED EXPERIENCE of these activities. will read her PhD Thesis which is about Amateur Fashion Making. I appreciate her methods of articulating this work and the distinct vehicles she is using to do this i.e. design-led, knitted garments.

She has a book coming out in 2017, called Folk Fashion it seems like it will be worth reading:

‘In Folk Fashion: Understanding Homemade Clothes, Amy Twigger Holroyd explores the vibrant world of amateur creativity and unpicks the contemporary experience of making and mending clothes for ourselves to wear.

A dynamic resurgence in sewing and knitting has emerged in the last decade, supported by the connective power of the internet. Today, many people are making and mending their own garments at home, and deriving great pleasure from this creative process. However, making clothes is not a consistently positive experience: conversations with makers reveal many stories of homemade garments languishing at the back of the wardrobe. Twigger Holroyd draws on theories of fashion, culture and craft to help makers understand their mixed experiences of wearing homemade clothes in a society dominated by shop-bought garments.

Many folk fashion makers are motivated by concerns about the environmental and social impacts of mass-produced clothing, and see that creating their own clothes can lead to a slower and more satisfying experience of fashion. However, the relationship between amateur making and sustainability is more complex than it may first appear. Using an unexpected metaphor of fashion as common land and incorporating a focus on individual well-being, the book critically examines the potential contribution of domestic activity to a sustainable fashion system.

Taking an inclusive approach, Folk Fashion looks at the making and remaking of both individual garments and the wardrobe as a whole. Twigger Holroyd combines her own experience as a designer and knitter with first-hand accounts from a diverse range of folk fashion makers to provide an array of perspectives on this fascinating, yet under-examined, area of contemporary fashion culture. Examining both mainstream and emerging practices, she not only develops an understanding of what is happening now, but also suggests ways that folk fashion might continue to flourish, diversify and evolve in the future.’

Kerry James Marshall

Painter whose sole intention is to get more images of black people in galleries. To do this he realised that he needed to be a good painter so he becomes better at painting by copying the styles of other painters i.e. rococco large scale historical scenes, impressionist plein air.  You can see it in all his paintings, a need and desire to develop – so anything goes. FIDGETY ARTISTS. He has, as a result become an excellent technical painter [on top of his powerful image making skills]. When making a painting, he will make the clothes / costumes for the models to wear and will get the flowers in and then sets it all up with mannequins as opposed to models.

He has a constant conversation with the History of Art and will take anything from a few weeks to a decade to complete a painting.

Kerry James Marshall, Nude [Spotlight], 2009
Kerry James Marshall. Slow Dance

Ref: Nude

Ref: Slow Dance

Polaroid Studies

Again, another idea that I am exploring. I am not a good photographer but the idea that taking images with a Polaroid adds an element of loss of control. I am not suggesting that amateurs do not have control [I believe the opposite is true more often] but there is certainly an element of informal training, learning by You Tube or from an off the shelf magazine.

I am keen to explore making paintings that are of something that has not perhaps worked as planned. i am also not sure if, at this point it is the real reason but i will engage with making a number of small painting studies from polaroids. having done a few more, i hope to get a better understanding of my purpose. For now, here you can see one such example.

Painting of Polaroid 1. Gouache of Paper. [Perren, 2016]