Having completed the stitching for ‘”Missded’ 2″, I’ve now cut it up to create the ‘tokens’ shown below.
When one of the ‘tokens’ is put in a frame, it becomes a thing in its own right; a fragment still, but one quite divorced from the others and from that from which they were cut.
What started with this (a drawing made in seconds by me and my son):
became this (a stitched version made over several days):
and ended up as this (one of many ‘tokens’ cut from the above):
The following shows one of the tokens in a frame:
What this made me think about was how I would show these works: as individual objects such as that above or in a group? If there were several of these shown together, then their relationship to the original stitched work (and therefore the original drawn work) would be obvious. There would be a sense of the repetition of times when I’ve missed having the children. Grouping them together would therefore turn them into a work about remembering; remembering in those times when I haven’t had the children, what we did when in the times we spent together.
The original stitched work is about two things:
- the difference (in timespan) between those times when I have the children and when I have not. i.e. it’s an attempt to recreate a brief moment (the original drawing) in a form which takes many hours and days to complete
- the act of remembering and savouring those particular moments, holding onto them in times when I am on my own (the act of stitching is repetitive, akin to remembering something (or looking at a photograph) over and over again
The tokens made from this stitched piece are about the fragmenting of my time with my children. As an individual piece (such as that above) it’s about a time when I’ve said goodbye. Grouping them together therefore would show a lot of ‘goodbyes’ but also an equal number of ‘hellos’.
What I’m wondering now, as I’m about to complete the second of these stitched works, is whether when grouping a number of these fragments together (and as they are grouped together, so a wider memory is rediscovered) I should mix up the pieces, so that some from different drawings are placed alongside, after all, memory is not linear and memories often become mixed up with others. What will be palpable from seeing the grouped tokens is a sense of many goodbyes and indeed hellos; fragments of times when I’ve been without them and thinking of them, but on a positive note, a sense of many memories shared with them as well.
Following on from my last post, I’ve now completed all the tokens along with another piece comprising some of them stitched back together.
In the eighteenth century, some mothers would reclaim their children from the Foundling hospital and one supposes they might have also reclaimed the tokens left with them. Either way, the reclaiming of the tokens seemed a good way for me to articulate the time I spend with the children, as if my picking them up is a kind of reclaiming. The fact the number of days I have with them are far fewer than the number of days I don’t means I only wanted to use a small proportion of the tokens to create a new piece.
I called the new piece ‘Morning Has Broken’ after the Cat Stevens song, which my son and I were singing together.