Jessica Hemmings

Textile Writer

Another Girl in the Neighbourhood

BY JESSICA HEMMINGS

The eyes of the makers inhabit the same frame of reference. Needle and cloth, film and camera, held close to each makers’ body. So close stray threads of hair briefly obscure our vision. An awkward break and re-spoken word expose the intimate intrusion of recording.

The hands of one maker stitch in swift, confident gestures a narrative that reveals further layers of making. The film projector’s interior mechanisms, first traced against a backlit window, emerge in halting black marks across the white cloth.

The camera lens frames these rhythms with soft edges of Super-8 film. Suggestive of memory, the film’s slipping focus belies the accuracy of each narrative stitch. The act of “holding together materials” begins to tell us a story, insight into the similar labours of embroidered cloth and camera frame.

Film spliced, thread snipped: narratives brought together through stitches and time. Along the way expectations are unsettled. The filmmaker’s hands iron cloth flat for his splicing machine. The embroiderer’s hands work with a speed and accuracy, while a tongue-in-cheek musical homage to her roots in Northern Ireland tries to keep pace.

Tools remain basic. One mechanical eye, recording stitches on bare cloth, tells us a story about time, vision and working with our hands.

Dr Jessica Hemmings

January 2009