Magical Threads – Great Northern Warehouse and Dez_Rez_Projects 285 Deansgate Manchester from 11th February-5th March 2022
Posted on February 9th, 2022 by Jane Fairhurst
My Magical Threads installation comprises 3 bodies of work developed from my researches into ancient symbols of protection. As individuals we often feel powerless to effect change and at such times may resort to older forms of magical protection, amulets, talismans and fetishes.
The taller Fetishes for Uncertain Times were made in response to unsettling global politics and increasing climate change. Created from random fabric pieces sewn together in no particular order, the shape only emerging as wadding is pushed into every corner and crevice. Amulet devices, in the form of twisted threads, shiny buttons and beads, embroidered knots and wavy lines, are then added using traditional craft skills handed down through generations of women in my family, the distaff side or female line.
Magical Threads of the Distaff Side refer to the long association of women with the production of thread and cloth and are a reminder of our more recent disassociation through mass production and the problems created through clothing worn once then discarded. The distaff is a three pronged stick that held the raw material, wool, linen, cotton, from which a thread was drawn. The free standing metal distaffs provide plinths for my smaller textile pieces.
In my paintings I respond directly to my textile pieces. I enjoy the process of painting and particularly the challenge of painting an object in front of me, observing the way the light falls, in this case, on the various fabrics and attached buttons, beads, nazaars (evil eye beads) and embroidery. The abstract nature of the subject matter also appeals, as does painting something that is of my own creation.
The metal stands were commissioned from Upholland Blacksmiths.