Stories from the Quilt Part 3: Stitching & Stapling

Stitching & Stapling

Extracts from my journal.

28th March 2012

“When hems fell down on school uniforms, my mum’s quick-fix technique was to staple them up. During the school day sitting on a line of metallic shards became increasingly uncomfortable, leaving imprints on the back of hot skin. I remember this being the catalyst for learning how to sew - one of my formative moments in mending and morphing cloth."

7 May 2012

“My mum popped in on Saturday on her way to lunch in the city. I mentioned the stapling-memory and she laughed, telling me she had never stapled our hems - this was something she did at boarding school. It was one of the stories she used to tell us. Somehow I’ve managed to merge her life-narratives with my own… quite challenging to how much faith I can put in childhood memories, or any memory? I thought I really could remember the staples biting into the backs of my legs..."

The realisation that memory is completely fluid and changing, made me wonder whether it’s all that important that our recollections are totally factual. Perhaps our mind has intentionally changed them for a good reason? It is well known that everyone’s memory of the same event will be slightly different depending on their perspective and past experiences. So does it matter? I think not. Which is convenient because my memory is particularly fluid (read: inexact and full of holes, but quite forgiving).

I wanted to acknowledge this observation with the making of a textile series using staples. Mark-making with a stapler is  satisfying - the clunk-clunk-clunk of my extra-long stapler as it pierces through paper and fabric. A rhythm forms and one can get lost in pattern-making and repitition. Somewhat like the rhythm found within stitching.

I then realised that the staples would be ideal for rust-dying, which I did some experimentation with. I was interested in the results. Ultimately, from these stapling patterns, I made a digital repeat designs that I could then transpose over my ‘map-making’ painting. A merging of significant childhood memories, a celebration of memory’s fluidity. 

More images of rust dying can be found in my gallery. Also, a collection of inspiring images on my Pinterest page.