craft&design Selected

  Selected Makers

Emma Blackburn

My work has a historical basis, involving the staining and decomposition of ancient cloth that ‘speaks’ of human life. I create contemporary interventions with museum collections and their audiences, to dig out untold or hidden narratives embedded within archive objects. I have a particular interest in textile artefacts and look to reveal their close relationship with people, places and moments in time. 
 
Cloth and stitch are dominant in most of my work, combined with braiding, knotting, printing and dyeing methods. Text is also utilised, giving the objects a ‘voice’ - whether that be a whisper of a chain stitch; or big appliqué lettering that SHOUTS. There is a physical labour involved in the making, as most of the work is created by hand and champions tradition textile methods.
 
I undo, fray, bleach, cut and remove stitches, and ‘ruin’ the work until it is suggestive of ancient cloth that evokes images of poverty and labour, but also of love, through constant repair and patching-up. These small and large-scale explorations are rooted in historic research, and are reminiscent of how curators interpret, conserve and present museum objects.
 
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