I love the vulnerability that cloth shares with the natural world—fragile and tenuous, but also resilient and strong. Much of the fabric I use is derived from plants (linen, cotton) or insects (silk), so it is a natural medium for expressing the tactile quality of outdoor elements.
I dig in, or excavate, reaching below the surface of the cloth. My images build and evolve slowly, sometimes with just the hand-stitching of a single thread.
Devoré, or burn out, is a process that allows me to carve or etch deeply into the fibers, leaving a thin transparent veil holding the piece together.
Manual cloqué is my own method of working on fabric stretched under tension, resulting in deep dimensional relief—above and below the surface plane. And the process of waiting for cloth to rust has a welcome unpredictability.
The mark-making that results from all of these techniques is not just on the surface but through it. The image becomes part of the permanent structure of the cloth.
I usually cover the entire textile, presenting a multitude of marks. I’m interested in the impact that numerous marks make, collectively. Manipulating the cloth changes its inherent structure and weight, and that change determines its overall shape and the way it hangs in space. I like that the process can, at times, dictate the form.
Susan Lordi Marker