For me drawing has always been a vital space or place to be and think. Drawing allows an exploration of abstract thoughts as spatial and tactile. Although I am a sculptor, drawing is always there as a continual studio activity behind the scenes. I have been drawing items of clothing from my life. Clothes hanging out to dry, folded clothes and a lot of sock bundles. They are trivial, but I like the way these handmade bundles are part of routine, domestic ritual and how drawing can bring that everyday activity into my thinking space.
Sketch of Sock Bundles, 2017, Charcoal on paper
I have a dress that I wore to my Dad’s funeral. I didn’t buy it for the funeral, but hadn’t worn it before and decided as it had little birds on it (my Dad was a keen bird watcher) that it was appropriate. In the days between his death and the funeral I fixated on what I should wear, it was a way to cope and make the forthcoming event manageable. I have never worn the dress since. But six years later I decided to draw it. The first time I did a small sketch, I could hardly let the pencil touch the paper. Then I drew it bigger, just focusing on the little birds. But somehow this was too distanced from the fabric of the dress. So I painted over it and instead drew it using my fingers in crushed graphite dust. The drawing doesn’t represent my Dad or show the little birds. But it does I hope suggest that enveloping bodily grief; how an object can become that emotion.
The Dress I Wore to My Dad’s Funeral (drawn with fingers in graphite dust), 2017, 145 x 67 cm.
In ‘The Book of Skin’ (Reaktion Books, London, 2004), Steve Conner talks about the organ of skin as a manifold space, a topology, similar to a mobius strip or klein bottle. He says the closest example of this continual space would be a membrane or fabric. This understanding of skin and fabric suggests a close relationship with clothing. In addition there are parallels with the manifold space of memories and self – a continual shifting membrane between then and now, inside and outside, there and here. Clothes become these inhabitable memory spaces.
Sketch tracing the inside and outside of a pair of shorts, 2017.