ISOBEL McGARRY : ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

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I have always seen cloth as a narrative, a way of telling a story or recording an experience or event, a way of honouring and remembering something that is important. Sometimes about things that cannot be spoken of because the feelings that accompany them are so fragile, often intangible…this is the base of the work and it is what drives me to keep stitching.

My commitment is to a world without war ……… I stitch the crosses and appliqué the leaves to silk that I have wrapped in the eucalyptus leaves of my country, gently transferring those images to the cloth. For me, this is a way of thinking with words/without words, stitches to remind myself of the preciousness of this life/world… The crosses are for the women and children, the men, the animals and the habitats that have been lost to destruction, and the leaves to show the capacity for growth, new ways of thinking that will let us tap into our endless reserves of compassion.

 

TEN THOUSAND LEAVES

 

‘Ten Thousand  Leaves’ evolved from my life-long commitment to peace, the non-violent settlement of disputes, and my reading of the Japanese poetry compilation, “Manyoshu”, compiled around 759. These poems capture the transient nature of existence and the wonder of life in our world.

 

In my work I have been exploring our journey as a species and our relationship with plants, which is as integral to our lives as our relationship with each other and with our gods.

 

My materials are silk, cotton and thread. I think about the philosophy of Wabi Sabi, and the mending of the tears and breaks in the fabric of our lives. Always present is the running thread that binds humanity together and creates the possibility of tolerance and difference, allowing the contemplation of the new, the old and the vanished, while the narrative is of plants and the miracle of transformation, light to life to colour to stitch.

 

For me, most particularly, I love the meditative state of hand stitching and the dreaming through the long hours of work with needle and thread.

 

2015

 

 

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