The mnemonic qualities of textiles: Sustaining lifelong attachment

This article gives an insight into my research practice and the first four interviews with Australian textile practitioners Elisa Markes-Young, John Parkes, Sara Lindsay and Ilka White, who I'd like to thank for their time and generosity.

Abstract: This paper uses Jonathan Chapman’s theory of emotionally durable design to explore how memory is invested in and lends value to textile artefacts, thus ensuring their enduring preservation. Through an examination of the works of Elisa Markes-Young, John Parkes, Sara Lindsay and Ilka White, the paper argues that a greater understanding of objects with mnemonic qualities provides new ways of challenging object obsolescence for art and design practice, thus offering a model for sustainable design.

The article was published August 2014 in craft + design enquiry, Volume 6, “Craft.Material.Memory”. You can download an open copy of this issue of craft + design inquiry here

Image 1: Unknown artist, Patchwork quilt (detail), n.d., cotton fabric, cotton thread, cardboard backing pieces, 1800 x 2100 mm. From the collection of Ilka White. Photo: Danielle Chau
Image 2: Sara Lindsay, Cinnamon and roses (detail), 2004, cinnamon sticks, rose petals, linen, lace, muslin (dyed with tea and turmeric), cotton, silk, 380 x 4490 mm. Photo: Jeremy Dillon. Courtesy of the artist
Image 3: Tablecloth (detail), n.d., black and white cotton thread on linen, outline, herringbone and satin stitch, buttonhole wheels, crocheted edging, approx. 1200 x 1450 mm. From the collection of Elisa Markes-Young, started by Stanisława Leciejewska, embroidery continued by her daughter Aniela Hadasik, continued by Renata Markes Photo: Christopher Young
Image 4: John Parkes, genes/Jean’s (detail), 2009, recycled cotton cloth (pillow cases & pyjamas), cotton & linen thread, cotton yarn, detail. Photo: John Parkes. Courtesy of the artist