Exhibition gallery

This work explores the process by which memories are embedded into cloth and the fabric of a building.

The condition of the six ‘windows’ in this installation suggests the gradual immurement of the industrious needlewoman trapped in the room by domesticity, whose thoughts are revealed in the fragments of cross stitch samplers framed on the walls. The net curtain is used as a metaphor for the duality of home as sanctuary and prison in its combined role as airy, transparent furnishing and claustrophobic barrier to light. The first curtain is pierced by pins and needles in the traditional tally pattern of counting units of five, but these marks also suggest a prisoner marking time, while the misuse of sewing equipment suggests a subversion of the domestic. In succeeding windows the tally marks metamorphose into chalk marks on board, then chalk on brick, and finally they disappear completely, suggesting the windows are insidiously becoming blocked up as cloth turns to stone, sanctuary becomes prison, and memories become part of the fabric of the room.

Beside the ‘windows’ hang three small net curtains, embellished with tambour lace trims that include ambiguous phrases, such as ‘I can see through you’. They suggest that the fabric of the curtain acts as a silent witness in the home, retaining memories. However, all is not as it seems. Photographic images of the curtains, taken in sites within Salts Mill, suggest that the curtains have agency and are playing a more active role in the entombment. Rather than retaining memories, the curtains seem to be discussing the events, implying they played an active part in them. Most tellingly, the wording on one of the curtains reads ‘Appearances can be deceptive’.

Rather than revealing the gradual solidification of memory with the passage of time we seem to be witnessing its gradual erasure and destruction of the evidence.

Carol Quarini: biography

View the Seminar with the Cloth & Memory team and the artists at Salts Mill

Carol’s textile work reflects her background as a lacemaker. She makes and studies contemporary lace and uses it as a medium for conceptual work. Carol is currently studying the net curtain as part of her research for a practice based PhD at the University for the Creative Arts, Farnham, where she also completed her MA. She is using the net curtain to re-read the relationship between the uncanny, the gothic and the domestic.

Carol exhibits internationally and her work is held in private collections. More information about her work can be found on her website www.carolquarini.com and at www.transitionandinfluence.com.

Cloth & Memory exhibition