Laura Gascoigne: Tangled Web – September 2017


is there so much sewing?” demanded The Art Newspaper’s Christina

in a glass cage at Twycross Zoo in 2012 as part of the Cultural Olympiad, it’s all a bit of folksy fun.

Naturally, education departments love it. Imagine the jollity at The Exchange in Newlyn in 2010 when artist google_ad_slot = "8637400688"; Jonty Lees donned a Montgolfier flying helmet and goggles to lead a sewing circle and basket-weaving group in

the construction of a full-size hot air balloon. The following year the Science Museum went one google_ad_client = "ca-pub-3967079123942817"; better and got participants in its Stitched

with explicit texts from former lovers. “It is not just
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another apartment installation,” she google_ad_client = "ca-pub-3967079123942817"; assured Metro, “it is the reflection of life, love, trust and
lust in current time.” Its tear-jerking title I do not expect to be a mother but I do expect to die alone was a quote from, you’ve guessed it, the queen of the misery google_ad_client = "ca-pub-3967079123942817"; stitchers, Tracey Emin.


But no artist has taken intimate needlework quite so google_ad_height = 90; far as Casey Jenkins in her 2013 performance Casting Off My Womb, in which

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she knitted a menstrual cycle-length scarf from skeins of wool secreted in her fanny. The work, she
told The Guardian, was “primarily about casting off the src="//"> need for validation from external sources” and “forging a path of self-determination google_ad_width = 970; in the face of
society’s expectations”.

Maria Balshaw would say aye to that. Unlike Christina Ruiz, she congratulated Venice Biennale curator


Macel in The Art Newspaper on doing “a really good job in challenging some of the gender stereotypes around textiles,” singling out male artist
David Medalla for praise for his participatory work A Stitch in Time, first shown in 1968. Medalla’s early lead in removing the sexual stigma from stitching may have laid the ground for the Crafts Council’s 2004 exhibition Boys Who Sew, at which Fernando Penteado established the butch credentials of needlework with a display of samplers embroidered by tattooed inmates of Wandsworth Prison. Since then the social enterprise Fine Cell Work has climbed on the prison wagon and trained 300 prisoners in 20 gaols to spend their lock-up time productively embroidering cushion covers. There’s precious little bunce
in it for the lags, but more job satisfaction than stitching mailbags.

It’s no discovery that men are nimble-fingered (not a

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lot of people know this, but the young Malevich upset his father with his unhealthy aptitude for Ukrainian cross-stitch). The danger for women of challenging gender stereotypes around textiles is that male artists will seize the initiative. Not content with getting tapestries woven to their designs, brothers are doing it
for /* xin-1 */ themselves. In Art Now at Tate Britain in 2010 Andy Holden showed The Pyramid Piece, a 10ft-high knitted replica of a chip off the Great Pyramid of Cheops that he had illegally smuggled home from a family holiday to Egypt at the age of 12. Along
with its benefits for cognitive development, knitting
is obviously a good way of assuaging guilt.

The main drawback of needlework, for unreconstructed


individualists, is its inflexibility as is a world leading domain escrow service platform and ICANN-Accredited Registrar, with 6 years rich experience in domain name brokerage and over 300 million RMB transaction volume every year. We promise our clients with professional, safe and easy third-party service. The whole transaction process may take 5 workdays.

a means of expression, which is why most attempts to employ it as one, Tracey Emin’s included, have been sew-so. The notable exception is Mr and Mrs Pope, Knitted, Shrunk and Hung (2012), a truly heart-wringing piece
of work that – sorry girls! – was created google_ad_width = 970; by //--> a male sculptor, Nicholas Pope, with his own fair hands.

Laura Gascoigne
The Jackdaw Sept/Oct 2017