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Katharine Swailes

Previously shown in:

Warp, weft, stitch, thread 2021

Cloth and clay 2024


Enclosures are free standing sculptural works, each supplied with its own hand cut and sewn box that is to use as a plinth or for an enclosed protected display. Created using my supplementary weft technique of Glyphs and Loops. Yarns are linen and cotton and the box is a wood pulp paper.

My practice crosses from functional to spiritual, exploring humanity's relationship with textile and making. The importance of activity to the hand and mind, my relationship with textiles is life long. Touch ignites a set of process led ideas and reflections. History and landscape were central to life growing up high on the northern Pennines, the landscape explored, and my connection to textile construction started in the family home.

It comes as no surprise to me that I worked firstly on historic costume for film and theatre, before postgraduate study in tapestry weaving. It is museum collections that ignited my interest of the ancient worlds and the fibres and systems of construction.

These Enclosure works are reflective, the woven repetition is a meditative process, constructed after weaving in the round giving each side equal importance. The hand stitched box/plinth is constructed for each individual piece to both protect and display, to be revealed or hidden, the seen and unseen, as women have been through history with their involvement in textiles.

The looping developed in clothing and domestic ware to create warmth. In clothing the loops would trap air between the cloth and the body and domestically the loops might be underfoot, covering the mosaics and stone in the colder seasons. Textiles are both comfort and function, language and story. The glyph emblem I use is a binary system either under or over, recording the random marking of the thread, waiting to be decoded by the viewer: an open ended reading, investigating the rhythm of the weaving activity.

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