Before the digital age, memories, histories, significant events and vital information for preservation were individually recorded by processes that were all-consuming, the outcome of which was a unique artefact. Hand drawn maps charting our landscapes, tapestries recording historical events, and quilts intricately embroidered with family histories all involved vast levels of observation, time and thought that has no parallel in the way our society documents life today.
If we need to know where we are going we perhaps look at a google map, similarly if we want to document an event we take a photo, which will probably be digital, and existing as a file on a computer. This instantaneous process allows us to repeat the process easily so that we are able to record endless images, which often end up being cursory, bringing into question the value we place on these images, and whether they hinder our actual experience and observation of what is it we are documenting.
The process of learning hand weaving has served to heighten my awareness of this division in how our ancestors and how we, now, record events. For the past 9 months I have been creating a series of weavings representing my experience of various cities I visited that year. Each weaving collages together the disconnected fragments of my activity and narrative within the city to create a personal map capturing a period in time in my personal history. The process of traditionally weaving an image must be the most extreme opposite to taking a digital photo, and through the thought, time and planning it has taken these weavings to get from experience to final object therein lies, for me, the excitement and value. I hope that these works will engage the viewer on focusing on the importance of journey from event to object and challenge people’s ideas of the value of images through the process of weaving.
Also through these weavings I have worked again with colour theories brought to my attention through the writings of Josef Albers and Johannes Ittens, as it makes sense to me to have begun my studies in weaving, grounded in understanding the principles already explored in the historical context of textiles and art history in general. The importance for me, next, is to explore weaving in the light of this moment in time.