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Milk Tooth

Anna Kotai wafta twenty five + image

Techniques: Hand stitch, machine stitch, ceramics
Materials: Artists canvas, DMC pearl cotton thread,
cotton cord, porcelain beads
Dimensions (cms): H – 150, W – 150, D – 50
Photographer: Darren Mok

The milk teeth are kept inside the wall. Pushed into the cavities between the bricks. Tiny souvenirs from the past that spark a tangle of memories, a chain of fragile threads, intersecting, linking and overlapping.

In my work I examine the practice of collecting significant objects that evoke feelings of nostalgia. I am interested in exploring the idea of ‘Saudade’, a term that describes the longing for something that is absent, something that can never be retrieved, or something that may not even exist. It is a particular type of memory that can simultaneously produce feelings of intense pleasure and desperate sadness. In this way, our milk teeth remind us of childhood, of lost moments and contradictory versions of the past.

As a fashion and textile designer, I am interested in exploring the relationship between fabric surface, three-dimensional form and the historical significance of garment making. The surface of the Milk Tooth is hand embroidered with chain stitch and forms a detailed map representative of memories as they connect and twist over time. Ceramic milk teeth beads, handmade from porcelain, are sewn as clusters inside machine stitched pockets to represent the practice of collecting nostalgic objects and keeping them safe. I have chosen to use a jacket as the vehicle for this textile work because it is something that we keep year after year; it appears in our memories and reminds us of time and place.

Anna Kotai’s art practice merges textile design and three-dimensional form. She creates voluminous garment silhouettes with experimental draping techniques and combines this with surface manipulation and embellishment. Hand embroidery, machine stitch and ceramic beads are used to create new surfaces for traditional garment techniques such as pockets and collars. 

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