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A stitch to every sound

English

12 visits

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Main author information

Claire Lucy Barber (United Kingdom)
University of Huddersfield (United Kingdom) 580
Scientific production

Event
GKA ARTS 2022:     3rd International Conference on Arts and Cultures
02/17/2022

Keywords
visual aesthetics Anthropocene Eco acoustics embroidery socially engaged textiles

Abstract

This paper considers a solitary and creative endeavour developed at The London Wetland Centre (LWC) that originated as part of an arts programme called Unravelled Wetlands. At LWC I found a vibrant space for stitchery where stitches became the accumulated marks of my attentiveness to listening. The firmness and character of ground fabric reacts to the threads and plays an important role in the stability of the embroidery through the placement of a stitch – one that is crisp and clear on the surface or sinks into the grain of the fabric. The yarn used serves as a mediator in a meeting of sound and ground fabric. It created a new set of conditions depending on location, for example when I sat sewing cross-legged on the banks of a pond or on a bench beside a gravel path. Gurgles, creaks, chirrups, sharp calls, occasional quacks, rustling close by: sounds as a texture crisscross over and through the space where I was seated and merge outwards to the expanse of the sky. In this context, the metronymic- like frequency of aircraft looks to confront the concepts of the Anthropocene in relation to a persistent repetition of filling stitches – often obscuring the linear stitches made moments before. One of the outcomes of this project is a series of workshops, that introduces The LWC as a place to engage others to become active listeners, fully immersed in the moment during an improvised action of stitchery. Part of the role of the embroiderer in this context is to filter and identify sounds, to track them, mark their rhythms and let them exist as a texture onto the cloth, and to attend, with increased sensibility, to the rumbles of life happening in front, behind, around us and to question the durability of what is heard.