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Kettle, AM., Aubrey, K., 2015.

Thread as a chronicle of contemporary political and symbolic narrative

Output Type:Artefact
Venue:Craft Now, Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead;, Collect, Saatchi Gallery London ;VAS:T, Scottish Royal Academy of Art, Edinburgh;
URL:shipleyartgallery.org.uk

The research interrogates thread as a female chronicler of contemporary event-based history building upon the emancipatory use of stitch in 20th century suffragism by key figures of the influential Glasgow School of Art. Two artefacts 'Golden Dawn' and 'The Dog Loukanikos and the Cat's Cradle' articulate a feminine voice as assertively radical, using craft as soft power to actively in engage in political debate on territorialisation. This monumental scale draws on the concept of 'sublime' which in free-stitch, is original to my work. It extends stitch into a unique contemporary form, significantly utilising embroidery/decoration as an expression of violent protest, within the mainstream of arts practice, influencing current political discourse as opposed to marginalised as applied and domestic. Commentary in the Wall Street Journal USA (2014), identified its innovation as the sole politically motivated craft commentary in the Crafts Council exhibition Saatchi Gallery 2014. The artefact 'Golden Dawn' was acquired by Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead, for their seminal collection of key British makers. The stitched artefacts entered the debate on the political dramas in Greece 2013- 2015 and the wider debate over European unity, economy and authority seeking to encourage participation in the general elections in Greece and UK 2015 and represent the disenfranchised minority. They were exhibited in 8 major international galleries; the Saatchi Gallery, London in 2014, 2015, the Scottish National Academy as invited artist and the Rijswick Museum, Holland. The research builds upon a Research Residency funded by Australia National University, Canberra (2014) which investigated the notion of homeland linked to the symbolic/mythic/metaphorical element of thread. The works contemporise the pre-eminent historical canon of British figural, biographical work in fine dense thread and goldwork, which extends from the Bayeux Tapestry and medieval Opus Anglicanum. Further they engage in cross-disciplinary practice with the inclusion of glass elements by Kirsteen Aubrey.