on Cloth

Cloth* was often the mediating surface** that became a stimulus to my imagination and through which I developed sensory experience as a child. Almost everyday, I would stand by the window of the tiny high-rise flat I lived in with my family, to enjoy looking at the laundry on bamboo poles under the sun. The myriad movement of the fabric never failed to fascinate me, which one moment appeared to be floating on water and the next lifted and sailing in the wind. On some days, I imagined a group of phantasmagoria dancers dancing on clouds, or perhaps colorful printed kites in the breeze? On other days they looked like an animated group of invisible beings in clothing cat-walking on air. Inevitably, my other senses were also aroused. I smelled the nice fragrance of detergent from the fresh wash and I heard the fluttering and rustling of the fabric in the sun and wind.

Soaring Colors 2My relationship with cloth expands as I practise art. From the passive childlike observation and imagination, it has become an active medium in many of my expressions.

Cloth is a teacher to me. As I “manipulate” and work with it, I discover more and more different facades and qualities of the material. Today, cloth is still inspiring me to continue my journey with it towards endless possibilities.

*“Cloth. What an elegant substance it is, at play with the breeze, in combat with the wind, protecting and wrapping and shielding and comforting. Like a seductive woman, sometimes it is bold and sometimes it is barely there. Cloth is the stuff of mystery for making costumes and stage sets, wedding veils and death shrouds. Even children use lengths of cloth when they first begin to play dress-up. Cloth, that old silent companion of the human race, has always kept very special company with artists.” Mildred Constantine and Laurel Reuter, Whole Cloth, p9. pub. The Monaccelli Press 1997.

**“For cloth, like the body, is a “mediating surface” through which we encounter the world.” Pennina Barnett, Letter from the Editors ‘Textile. The Journal of Cloth and Culture’ vol.1, Issue 1. p3. pub. Berg 2004.

Meiling, 2008-09-09

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