Considering the Temporal Nature of Embroidery

Hand Embroidered Ice Cube

I’ve recently been experimenting with a radical new approach to embroidery within my practice – that is embroidery with ice!

Using ice a ground for my embroidery has thrown up some interesting challenges, one of which is how to present, document, and/or preserve the new embroidered works. In documenting my initial experiments I have used a DSLR camera and a DV camera to create time-lapse and real time videos respectively.

You can see examples of these in the videos below. The video is a time-lapse video of the embroidered ice cube and the second is the real time video of the embroidered ice cube melting.

As you will see above the result of these two methods of documentation are quite different – the first video is only 13 second long whilst the second is well over an hour in length.

Both outcomes raise interesting possibilities. I find the second video a much more meditative document whilst the first is perhaps much more suited to life online being so short – I can’t imagine many people watching the second video online sitting through it from start to finish!

This notion of time, or lack thereof is really interesting and offers a new dimension to my embroidered works. I can see both forms of document serving a purpose depending on the content of the individual piece of work.

Of course I have also been considering ways in which I might present these embroideries in the context of an exhibition. In certain instances it might be that these videos will serve as exhibition pieces serving as a digitally preserved memory of what once was. However, I am considering ways in which I might present the actual embroidered objects as an exhibition pieces.

With this in mind I am considering ways in which I might present the works, as well as ways in which I might control the melting of the ice – whether speeding it up or slowing it down – or even prevent the melting of the embroidery altogether.