Well, as I write, the ‘A’ Team are hard at work in the Landsdown Gallery, Stroud. Yesterday they achieved what to many would have seemed the impossible, and successfully hung the work in the Museum in the Park but they are back at work today in the Landsdown. It is all very exciting as we are now so close to the official opening and those of us not involved with the actually hanging are looking forward to seeing how it looks when we visit to steward, teach or give a Gallery Talk. Time therefore to hear about the work of another of our members, Rosemary Campbell. As a textile tutor of enormous experience Rosemary is well known for the many exhibitions in which she has participated both with the TSG and edge – textile artists scotland including several two-man ventures with another TSG member Alison King. I asked Rosemary, which aspect of DIS/rupt she has been working with for the exhibition.
This was difficult and it took me some time before I decided I could be brave enough to tackle the highly personal disruption in my own life, which was my divorce. Later, it was very interesting to find that two other members of the Textile Study Group were doing the same and on comparing notes, fascinating to discover how similar our experiences and emotions were and how our resulting work is so different.
Can you tell us something about the piece you are working on for DIS/rupt
I divorced over 20 years ago so my approach is very analytical.
I believe that during the divorce process communication becomes confusing and difficult, the language conflicting, while in the healing process one inevitably ‘searches for answers’ so I looked to text as my starting point. Initially phrases such as ‘out of tune,’ ‘a life in shreds’ came to mind. I like word search puzzles so using ‘ relationships’ as a starting point, I made one up. I also decided to disrupt my working practice, which normally involves a great deal of decision making in paper if I am working large scale and to begin by sampling and working in cloth instead.
What are the materials and processes that you are working with?
Many of the materials and techniques I used are directly related to the 60 plus words and phrases I collected. ‘Fingers burned’ led to burning the edges of cloth, ‘cracks appearing’ led to the use of wax. White and black lace and net I still associate with both weddings and mourning while not used as frequently today as they once were. I enjoy the use of mixed media, collage and found objects, so I used photo copies of my wedding album to create tone beneath some of the stitched surfaces. Painting and dyeing, printing and stitching the fabric are used to form ideas and create surface texture e.g. I used scraps of shredded paper and stitch to create a surface which is intended to be ambiguous, ask yourself, does it represent confetti or shredded divorce documents? I have incorporated the use of the music played at my wedding which you can listen to through earphones. I am very grateful to Catriona Eunson who helped me to achieve this. Air on a G string’ by Bach is initially played in tune using both hands, then out of tune with lots of mistakes! In the end it is played well using one hand. I think the analogy is fairly obvious. The headphones are decorated with a removable fascinator as both women and men are equally affected by divorce.
Are you able to give us an idea of the scale of your piece?
Yes, it is 2m by 80 cms and will be wall mounted.
What message do you hope the viewers of your work will take away from the exhibition?
I hope viewers will look closely at the work and find some of the hidden references within the piece. That they will feel an association with it, whether in a successful partnership or not and realise how complex relationships are, how we are all connected, how there are no winners. Divorce is a very a difficult experience emotionally and practically and your world can feel a very black place at the time. However, you can emerge from that place with a stronger sense of self. No bad thing!
Thank you Rosemary, the subject of your work will resonate with many people. If, readers, you want to know more about Rosemary’s work and the ideas behind DIS/rupt look on our website. TSG
There are still a few remaining workshop places available and full details and booking information can be found at SIT select 2017
In the meantime, keep an eye on our Facebook page and here on the blog for more updates, photographs and news about the Symposium which takes place 6th May. Information and availability of places can be found at Symposium