The last 18 months have been a period of immense disruption, causing many of us to consider the role of home and work in our lives; where does work end and home begin? Is home a place of safety or somewhere we can’t escape ourselves?
This exhibition draws together a collection of works made before, during and after lockdown in which Hannah Lamb explores how textile can mediate complex ideas and deep emotions about home, work and the role of making as an act of caring.
Hannah has a deep fascination with the structure and surface of cloth, its tactile properties and its deeper meanings. In her recent book ‘Poetic Cloth’, she describes how the properties of different materials can hold deeper resonance: ‘Materials speak to us if we choose to listen. They speak of touch, memory and place. For me, cloth has the ability to describe what is difficult to put into words – it is poetic.”
The works in this exhibition all make use of a subtle material language to convey the artist’s sense of her place in the world.
Large-scale installation work ‘[De]Constructed Cloth’ aims to capture the rise and fall of the West Yorkshire textile industry. Cyanotype ‘blueprints’ taken from unpicked quilt sections, appear and disappear as traces of the heritage of cloth manufacture. The work reflects the changing nature of work in post-industrial northern cities.
In ‘Duty of Care’ Hannah explores the theme of care, both for herself and others. An original indigo dyed work apron, shows the signs of wear and repair. Further layers of repetitive darning stitches were a soothing and meditative making process, but also suggest a continuous struggle against institutional neglect.
On a more intimate scale, a collection of smaller pieces represents a personal response to time at home during lockdown. A multitude of house shapes, printed, stitched and constructed from scraps and offcuts, seem to obsess on the nature of home as a space of making. In the language of materials and making, comforting floral patterns and softly quilted patchwork pieces appear subdued by ink marks and suppressed by tightly bound threads.
Hannah Lamb, Duty of Care, 2021. Photography: Lucy Forrester
Hannah Lamb, Home/Work, 2021. Photography: Lucy Forrester