New Prayers For Old Feelings: Weaving the world back together
AuthorDunnill, Anna Ruth Rosalind
AffiliationVictorian College of the Arts
Document TypeMasters Research thesis
Access StatusOpen Access
© 2019 Anna Ruth Rosalind Dunnill
This studio-based project asks: how might embodied textile processes offer a spiritual counterpoint to a fragmented, anxious and inattentive state of being? How can a textile-based studio practice develop an ethos of care and attention towards the self, others, and the environment? My research responds to the experience of living in a digital ‘attention economy’, in which we are largely disconnected from spiritual frameworks and from the natural world. In seeking to rekindle an ethos of care, attention and interconnectedness, I investigate the material and spiritual possibilities of ancient hand-processes such as weaving, fibre and dye. Through these repetitive and labour-intensive practices, I examine the way that attention can be redirected and reconstituted as a form of prayer and devotion. I draw on the writing of eminent Bauhaus weaver Anni Albers, which advocates for a return to materiality, as well as Indigenous epistemologies of interconnection articulated by botanist and Potawatomi writer Robin Wall Kimmerer. The studio project encompasses several related bodies of work: an installation of knotted, braided and beaded fibres, a small-scale embroidery, two series of small tapestry weavings, and a site-specific installation produced in Kansas City, Missouri. Through these artworks I explore ways of acknowledging both anxiety and the sacred through textile practices that enact forms of wordless prayer, acknowledge history, record time and labour, are portable and thus present everywhere, and focus attention and care on the natural world. In creating and writing about these works, I seek to answer my research questions, and promote nurturing and healing new ways of being and making in the world. My research engages with a number of artists whose work intersects with repetition, craft, ecology and prayer. These include Chilean-born Cecilia Vicuna, whose thread-based installations intertwine prayer, language and the notion of the precarious; Polish-born, Chicago-based artist kg (Karolina Gnatowski), whose small-scale formal tapestries hold memory, identity and narrative; Perth-based Teelah George, who works with a laborious and prayer-like process of embroidery; American artist Liza Lou’s meticulous and transcendent bead-weavings; and the practice of Yindjibarndi Australian artist Katie West, whose work with plant-dyeing functions as a form of meditation, and a means of re-connecting, de-colonising, and Indigenising place. Woven through the thesis, these works articulate a range of approaches to materiality and process in response to uncertainties and the sacred.
KeywordsTextiles; Weaving; Dyeing; Craft; Prayer; Sacred; Care
- Click on "Export Reference in RIS Format" and choose "open with... Endnote".
- Click on "Export Reference in RIS Format". Login to Refworks, go to References => Import References