At the weekend I went to an exhibition of mixed fine art, and amongst the few textile technique pieces encountered the work of Miranda Argyle. Mags Ramsey’s blog also mentioned this artist, and that Argyle’s website directed further to a piece of stitched writing in the Victoria and Albert Museum. This poignant sampler was made in the 19th century but would now pass as a piece of contemporary feminist art.
Miranda Argyle is very interesting on the act of stitching. I was also intrigued by her statement that ‘Sewn text is rarely used to document.’ because as I have developed my own image-making in textiles I have realised that this is my means of documenting my emotions – a kind of psychological diary, but without words. I started to think about what difference it made to have to stitch the words, especially slowly in repetition as Argyle does – is this a declaration to oneself? to others? a mantra to persuade or convince oneself? to expunge?
Stitched words are also used by Tracey Emin in many of her autobiographical drawings. Using written language can be a means of adding a extra dimension, or layer to the meaning – just as rendering in textile itself adds physical depth and more complex possibilities for interpretation to a piece.