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Saturday 26 November 2022

A Visible THREAD is showing my work 'Queer Words are Fruit and Reeds' at ACE arts in Sommerton Launching today!


I am a member of the seam collective and we are presenting A Visible THREAD, an exhibition which explores the visibility and invisibility of thread at ACEarts, Somerton from 26 November until 24 December 2022. Through our unique perspectives and a diverse range of textile disciplines, eight seam artists have created new works to stimulate thought, connection and conversation. 

Read more abouA Visible THREAD exhibition, our thoughts behind A Visible THREAD in Making thread visible, how it started as a research residency in Spring 2022, and what we all got up to during our residency on our blog.

I am showing my work Queer Words are Fruit and Reeds

The work explores the nature of myths and legends as they change through time. It explores the visible threads of narratives conveyed through history as they become altered, preserved or erased. The two figurative soft sculptures in this piece relate to the Greek myth of love between two youths, Kalamos and Karpos. 

The story is told in Nonnus's Dionysiaca. The pair enjoyed swimming and racing; one day tragedy occurs, Karpos drowns, and in his grief Kalamos commits suicide. In the story Kalamos is turned into a water reed ‘Calamus’. The sound of rustling reeds is thought to be Kalamos sighing and lamenting Karpos forever. 

Then Calamos gave his form to the reeds which took his name and like substance; and Carpos grew up as the fruit of the earth. 

It has been suggested that this myth inspired the title for Walt Whitman's "Calamus" poems in Leaves of Grass. Whitman’s poem, in turn, inspired David Hockney with his painting “We Two Boys Together Clinging” a title line lifted directly from one Whitman’s poems  

The soundscape created for this piece immerses the viewer into a private experience of the work. A reading of “We Two Boys Together Clinging has been slowed down to distort the reading and create a new experience, essentially ‘queering’ how the words are received and understood by the viewer.  

“Queer Words are Fruit and Reeds” is a culmination of research through experimentation during a Residency with Holborne Open. During the residency i was able to test approaches such as suspending work and creating soft sculptures.  I also experimented with tactile drawing approaches (drawing through touch) and embraced sustainability, through constructing the figures from rejected charity shop clothes. 

The combination of the soundscape and installation creates a new experience connecting the legend of Kalamos and Karpos and Walt Whitman’s poem. Investigation into the poems and the legend were discovered through David Hockney’s painting “We Two Boys Together Clinging.” The process of critical play and experimentation during the residency of Holborne Open enabled time and reflection to draw these elements together. The result produced this new artwork whilst unlocking and revitalizing some threads queer history. 

Listen to the Soundscape for the installation below


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