We mentioned on the a little while ago after stumbling upon the amazing textile work on their . Needless to say I was extremely intrigued by the work and the process. So we arranged an interview, and thirdstitch kindly obliged. Check it out:
1. Tell us a little about yourself and where you are from.
I currently live in a place called Winchester in England, UK where I’m on the third year of my BA course. I’ve lived all over the UK, my mum never seemed to be happy living in one place for too long. Some of that has definitely rubbed off on me and I consider myself a bit of a nomad.
2. Embroidery and knitting as mediums seem to be relegated primarily to older, err… white women. You as a young, queer woman of color seem to be turning this idea on it’s head - making the work even more ironic and compelling. When did you first become interested in textile and embroidery? And how did your work evolve into what it is currently?
I don’t recall a specific moment when I started using textiles and embroidery but as I child I do remember cutting up old clothes and turning them into new stuff. For example I’d take an old pair of trousers, turn them into a bag and give it to my mum as a Christmas present. I guess I’ve always used craft work to express myself creatively.
I first became aware of the subversive element of what I was doing on my foundation course. The more I explored the historical side of textile techniques the more I realised that the people I read about who used these techniques were nothing like me. Embroidery and knitting are considered leisure activities so are predominantly pictured as being done by middle class, white, domesticated women as they are the folk that have the time (and money) to be doing such activities. Of course this isn’t actually true, and I enjoy challenging that notion.
3. Your embroidery on brick is also quite ironic as it juxtaposes soft elements with hard street elements - and two materials rarely seen together. Can you explain how this idea came about and what you hope comes of people’s exposure to this work in the city?
The brick series came about after a period of trying to link my past in graffiti and street art with my present work in textile art. I am particularly interested in challenging the idea that people who knit and sew are female and/ or feminine. I liked the juxtaposition of hard brick material and soft threads and yarns. I especially enjoyed drilling into bricks and getting my hands dirty! By placing these items in a public context I wanted to encourage dialogue on both street art and textile arts. Despite how unoffensive these works seemed, they didn’t last long in the public domain. It goes to show that people still have a problem with people putting their own touch onto ‘public’ property.
4. Your “queerying vintage mags” series explores difference and seems to very cleverly replace traditional images with those that seem to be in stark contrast to the images in their original context. Can you explain the idea behind these drawings and mixed media pieces in-depth?
The ‘queerying vintage mags’ series was again a response to what I see as prevalent in the field of textiles. I wanted to critique the idea of history as fact and who’s to say that black people didn’t sew in those days? Of course they did! It might not have been in such a leisurely context but knitting and sewing garments is definitely part of black history, despite what we are led to believe. I wanted to explore these ideas in a humorous way, I think sometimes it’s easier for people to deal with serious stuff if you take that slant on it.
5. Your knit projections and drawings seem to take 2D forms and transform them into something completely different in 3D form - Can you explain your inspiration for this?
The knit projections series was a largely aesthetic body of work with not much concept behind it. I wanted to clear my head for a while and spend time drawing for the sake of drawing. Although, the idea of covering spaces with such a feminine mark definitely linked to the female reclamation of space for me.
6. Lastly, your performance work seems to be evolving quite interestingly from your work with textiles. Can you explain the use of mustaches and beards in this work? And what statement this makes with regards to gender roles and sexuality if any?
The performance work is my most recent and is still in the development stage. In this work I am exploring the multiplicity of identity. It would be impossible and a bit ridiculous for me to take one fixed position with my work but gender is a large point of interest. I am intrigued by the possible intersections between race, gender and sexuality and the ‘queer’ position I take when exploring them. Ie. Where does my genderqueer identity begin and my black identity end? Why do they not co exist in the reading of my work?
Much love and thanks to Thirdstitch for the interview.
CHECK EM OUT HERE -http://www.thegaq.com/
P.S THIRDSTICH WAS A NAME I USED TO GO BY.