Previously shown in
Earth materials 2023
Cloth and clay 2024
Eleanor’s work is best understood as a contemporary response to paper textiles associated with the Tohoku region of North East Japan where she was based, a place to which she returned to study how to make thread, kamiito and learn more about woven paper, shifu. She uses paper and textile techniques interchangeably and in recent years has built up a body of work which uses ‘broke’ waste from the printing process and which repurposes paper which would otherwise have been thrown away.
In the writing of ‘Washi Memories’, a book about papermakers from this area which was hand printed by The Old School Press, she rescued waste sheets of a poem entitled ‘Punting to Islip’. Written by Eddie Flintoff, and printed at the press in 1994 on Japanese kozo paper, the layout of this narrative poem mimics the meandering river. The poetry of the printed word takes on a new form as the paper is slashed, rubbed and rolled into thread and layers of printed script are reminiscent of ikat or shibori tie-dyed threads.
Some of the sculptural vessels Eleanor makes which use discarded kozo paper become holding forms for the threads of the poem; the threads are ‘too good to waste’ and this chimes with the Japanese concept of ‘mottainai’. Hard to precisely translate, it is a term often used in Japan which expresses regret at the idea, or actual process, of something being wasted. Eleanor is responding to and preserving historic processes which see paper as a textile, both a cloth and thread. Layers of script and stitch provide surface detail, a contemplative drawing of paper and thread, one which is revealed or masked through the processes she employs.
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