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Sunday, 27 May 2018

The textile art of Second Skin

Last month, Tenfold Textile Collective held its second group show in the very welcoming city of Ballarat. The exhibition was open Thurs – Sun for three weeks. We were really happy, and maybe a little surprised by the number of visitors we had, both locals and those making the trip up from Melbourne (or beyond).
Page 5 and Page 47, Tara Glastonbury
The works in the exhibition started with the notion of textiles as a second skin. Throughout our lives our skin is almost always in contact with textiles. From being wrapped in cloth at birth and again at death, using it as a protective layer, as an evolving form of self-expression and a statement of our values through the textiles we choose to use. We sit on cloth, sleep between its layers, decorate our homes with it and work with it.
Left: Lou Hicks, from Amour de soi series. Centre and right: Morgana Robb, Skin series (all three pics by Paul Hicks)
The pieces explored notions of identity, ageing, emotional expression and belonging, and featured natural fibres, found objects, recycled clothing, clay and plastic bags.
Rose Kulak, Fibreshed Scarves
My quilts (at top) are based on page layout grids. Taking my older working identity, or skin, as a design manager and fitting it to my newer skin as a quilt designer and maker. The rules and conventions of graphic design being made to fit quilt design. They are also a celebration of the freedom of having complete creative control rather than being dictated to by a client.
Claire Munnings, Shield Maiden (photo by Paul Hicks)
‘What do you do?’ is one of the first things we ask people we’ve newly met, and ‘How’s work going?’ for friends and family. How we earn a living is a large part of our identity in Australia. Not having an easy answer to these questions for the last few years has made for unsettling times, as I no longer fit into an accepted mould.
Korina Leoncio, Weathered series
The quilts are also made from another second skin – our clothing. Leftover toiles from my pattern making, clothes of mine that are no longer wearable, and donated pieces all went in to the works.
Lisa Mori, Slow 1, 2 and 3
No matter how early I start, I still seem to be sewing things at the last minute – it didn't help that I changed my mind so many times before settling on an idea for this one too.
It's a good discipline though. I've missed two other deadlines recently, for shows I would have liked to submit my quilts to, but juggling work alongside making means quilts don't always take priority. The Tenfold exhibitions are not deadlines that can be let go so easily, and for that I'm grateful.
Left: Sarah Williams, The Story Behind. Centre and right: Ana Petidis, Untitled Cloth
I've spoken to quite a few textile artists recently who've asked how we've come together as a group and how we manage to put on exhibitions. It's made me realise again how lucky it was for us to have magically landed in the same year to study. Beyond that though, it's keeping your eye out for gallery call-outs, ongoing proposal writing even when you've been rejected, and providing each other with motivation to continue. I hope some of the textile artists that visited our show are now tempted to organise their own... We're already back to writing proposals for 2019!
Jem Olsen, The Daily Disrupted

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