Real bodies have their lives stitched into them: Burial gown

Joy Denise Scott wafta twenty five + image

Techniques: Hand embroidery, applique, fabric manipulation
Materials: Artist’s worn linen frock, silk, lace, linen, cotton, mulberry bark, embroidery threads
Dimensions (cms): H – 126, W – 45, D – 10
Photographer: Dianne Smith

Grounded in the notion of how feelings are intimately tied up with how we experience the world and why it matters, continual work-in-progress. ‘Real bodies have their lives stitched into them: ‘Burial gown’, presents me with a creative challenge. As an emerging artist, I am learning through stitch how to describe feelings, and their trigger effects on lived experience. This is vulnerable work. Not only the trust placed in the improvisational process as to how a medley of impromptu embroidered patches of feeling end up as points of contact on the gown, but also addressing how they evolve and take shape through and in relation to each other. Every patch of embroidery is approached with a meditative sensibility. Stitches breath, seeking their own direction. Intuitively a form of life mapping begins to manifest itself, articulating the randomness and the knotty complexities of becoming. In this way, the art of stitching is realised not as a method of representation, of something understood, but the act of uncovering elements of the not as yet known. Through this continuous process of stitching, I reclaim and recreate a gown for my eventual departure, pieced together from traces of feelings and experiences in celebration of a life lived.

As a transdisciplinary practitioner my art making encompasses embroidery, poetry, improvisational theatre, and community arts. In its broadest sense, my work takes direction from feminist writer and scholar Sarah Ahmed, as to how our feelings are wrapped up with how we co-exist with others and why it matters.

Wafta twentyFIVE + crossover
on-line catalogue

includes essay by Erin Coates, Wafta history, images and statements from artists on the 42 art-works exhibited

wafta exhibition catalogue