Article about the artist and photographer Carolyn Drake whose project Internat engaged her with a group of young girls who had been isolated in a Ukriane orphanage.
Brigitte makes quilts, collages, sculptures in order that she make comments and tell stories about people and the world – often as critiques of political and social choices.
Earth stories: Copper / Erdgeschichten: Kupfer
2016, textilcollage, h 162 x w 159 cm
1st prize The Gala of the Unexpected at the National Quilt Museum
Stratifications / Schichtungen
2014, textilcollage, h 120 x w 210 cm
The Clock is Ticking / Die Uhr Tickt,
2016, textilcollage, h 181 x w 108 cm
Soft Overcome / Sanfte Gewalt 2015, textile collage,204 x 196 x 4 cm
I got chance to go over to The Peoples History Museum this month to take part [with Jade and Zi from work] in what I thought was a talk but pleasantly turned out to be a workshop. It was called The Fabric of Protest and was organised by Helen Mather and Lisa Gillan [firstname.lastname@example.org]. Helen is an independent artist, painter who is interested in banners [and quilts as paintings as I discovered through chatting – there were so many connections].
The workshop that I took part in was one in a series in which people to come along on a monthly basis, in earlier meeting that I had not attended they had come across the story of the Matchstick Girls. This is very basic but essentially, in a factory down south, girls of 14 and maybe younger were employed to make matches and pack them up. Part of the process involved putting the matches in there mouths and as a result they would develop horrendous mouth cancers. Alongside this was the very poor standards of working conditions and at the time, they were considered as unskilled workers and were therefore unrepresented by a Union [which only worked for skilled workers at the time]. On one day a girl was fired which resulted in the entire workforce walking out and marching down to the local Union representative to demand support. This, I understand was the birth of the modern Union’s.
This workshop had decided to make a banner that represented this action, previous weeks had seen the design for the banner develop and this session saw the beginning of sewing happening. We managed in a=our small groups to get the lettering cut out and started some sewing before the session finished and for other in the next groups to continue with. There were so many similar practices happening in this event and the MQB, there shared experience of working on one item was particularly rich.
I am hoping to get along to another session in the future before it is finished but it is during the week and so may not be possible.
The phrase ‘It Just Went Like Tinder’ was a term used by someone at the time of the incident to describe the reaction of the girls / workers when they decided to take action and not stand for the mistreatment any more.
I cannot remember the name or date of the event but I understand the banner is going to be used as a backdrop for a musical event in Manchester during December. I believe the singer is possibly an artist in resident at the Manchester Peoples History Museum and is doing a concert in response to this residency. Will endeavor to find out more.
OK – this is probably a more accurate account… http://www.unionhistory.info/matchworkers/matchworkers.php
textiles – felt – ready made objects – shower curtains. weaves between the structure of frameworks she creates, fluid mature of textile. Is a weaver and considers grid like influences [of weave] with connections to labour, mass production and capitalism.
I have selected these two images due to the slightly unweildy look of the textile, they seem at odds with the clean design of the framework – which could have been a simple DIY job [although it may not be].
Dual, multiplicity, collision of positions.
conflated personal histories [and collective histories] in response to the history of textiles. Particular interest in ‘summer & winter’ weaves and their doublesidedness. interested in the role of craft and its relationship to political activism. CELEBRATION OF HOBBY CRAFT ASSOCIATIONS WITHOUT RIDICULE OF THE PEOPLE WHO PARTAKE IN SUCH ACTIVITIES.
This isn’t the first or last reference to identity politics in Faught’s work, and the history of the role of craft – textiles in particular – in and as political activism is clear both here and in previous works, eg, in his replication of sections of the AIDS Memorial Quilt.
Josh Faught. Triage, 2009
Hemp, nail polish, spray paint, indigo, logwood, toilet paper, pins, books, plaster, yarn, hand made wooden sign, denim, and gloves. 203.2 x 304.8 cm
When the case study came to an end, a few people asked if we could continue to make quilts and meet up. Although it would not run as a case study, I was keen to keep a level of engagement with communal making and, I had really enjoyed doing it. The women who wished to continue had so many interesting things to talk about and so we have continued to meet every other Monday evening. instead of paying for the village hall, we meet and work in each others houses which has bought further intimacy and friendship to the making of quilts.
We approached it a little differently in that we did decide as a group on a design and the fabric we would use. I had purchased a book called Modern Bee and we have taken inspiration from one of the designs in their, we could have followed the instructions word for word but as a group we preferred a more relaxed approach and used it as a guide.
Everyone bought in samples and leftovers we already had in our stashes and I provided a lovely length of vintage liberties fabric that had been donated by a local person when they saw my posters for the original MQB.
We worked with all that we had with the only ‘interference’ being that we dyed up a batch of fabric in a grey to pull it all together a little more.
Despite not officially documenting this particular adventure with the MQB, I have got a few photos of work in progress. In the future, we do have some thoughts of perhaps collaborating on a piece specifically for this research – but it is early days at the moment.
Ref: Conner, L. Modern Bee. 2013. Lafayette, Stash Books.
When it come to textiles, for the last few months the focus has been on quilting. I’m quite happy with this but as a mum I often find myself at locations waiting for one of my daughters, quilts are not exactly portable so I have used the time to explore textiles in other ways in more bite size pieces. Much like the amateur knitter sitting at the side of the local pool, I found myself doing some embroidery [although I would consider them to be drawings].
These samples have again allowed me to engage with a slowness of pace in working and the ability to use time in a manner that I could have some autonomy. I believe these approaches to stitch might be worth further development with regards to narrative and materiality.
I have used the quilt top / sandwich to develop some ideas with sequins. Think in this case it has not worked, not sure why but it feels like it is two separate things forced together. I am going to keep going with this though but it will need more thought. Once I get a little more time I would like to work on a piece a lot more heavily, at the moment it seems too polite. Need to take it to extremes.
I need to gain more control of the straight line, particularly the machine sewn ones. I am ok with the mix of machine and hand sewn lines but it just needs a lot more of a lot more things?