I have always been fascinated with fabrics and, by extension, fashion — not a surprise since my mother was a hard-working seamstress who designed and produced one-of-a-kind, hand-made garments for clients, made with a special love and talent for wedding or party dresses (her favorite commissions).
In addition to being extremely talented with a sewing machine and needle, my mother was very conservative, and for a significant part of my life I worked against her otherwise closed-minded attitude to shape my own identity, trying to sort my own decisions among all of her extremely strict mandates.
A few weeks ago, I came to make my first textile artwork. Organically, I started to play with a home-made, stretched canvas and some translucent fabric from my mother’s shop, my childhood home in Argentina. Meditating on the strong memories of our shared life, I hand-dyed her fabric with red acrylics, an experience that alluded to the recollections of my early menstrual bleeding. Later, I stitched the pinkish fabric and a zipper onto a plastic mesh already on the canvas which served as a 3D base. I thought of my mother’s long days of work to make ends meet; on how much her hands had cared, mended, and tended; on how much she loved flowers. I thought she would be proud of my stitches and my patience during this hand-sewing act, so reminiscent of her long hours of work to finish her own manual work.
The finished piece is an homage to her noble profession and my profound love and gratitude for her. The fact that the artwork turned out rather sensual is not a coincidence: it is my way to celebrate her identity as a hard-working woman who had to struggle since an early age and perfected a noble craft. In the end, I am satisfied to have added my own rather defiant variation on a fabric that would have otherwise been a leftover piece of textile from an old wedding dress in a forgotten drawer.
Image: “Homage”, mixed media (repurposed mesh wrap from flower wrapping, acrylic-dyed repurposed fabric, fabric, thread, zipper) on canvas, 12 x 5 x 12 inches. If you are interested in this or other of my artworks, please contact me here.