Dear friends the other day I was sitting at my son’s cricket practice at school, stitching a couple of leaves and another mom asked me what I am doing. I tried to explain my work to her and had a hard time doing so. Even when I know exactly what I should have said, I struggled to make her understand without showing any images.
So to practice I decided to write about it here. This is part 4 of 13….
I love contradictions. Dichotomies fascinate me for eg: Art/Craft, Success/Failure, good/bad, pure/sullied, masculine/feminine, self/other, nature/culture, life/death, human/divine, sacred/profane … and the list goes on…
I have a lot of conflicted feelings about the world we live in and sometimes those feelings extend to my work.
These days I mainly stitch flowers. A couple of years ago if you told me that I would stitch flowers, I would have said: No way Jose!
Hannalie Taute studio wall photographed by Kleinjan Groenewald 2020
If I think back now, I guess it started with marigolds for my Stink Afrikaner exhibition in 2016.
I am fascinated by the idea that flowers can be seen as a language of sorts. (see floragraphy) and that it can be used as a symbol for emotions or a code. Inspired by codes, I learned about the Voynich Manuscript which in turn inspired me to embroider real as well as imaginary flowers. The Victorians used flowers to send ‘secret’ messages.
I find joy in the process of stitching a variety of blooms on small pieces of rubber and then later arrange them in bouquet-like pieces. Almost like building a puzzle. And then of course there are the contradiction of stitching flowers onto rubber, which i like. It is also an ode to my mother, to a time when she was a florist, but at that stage I didn’t pay attention to her creations, partly because i was too young i guess.
What is your favorite flower?