In this period of forced confinement, which I do not weigh at all because I love to be on my own, and indeed in the next life reborn librarian or cloistered nun or hermit, I’m working on the fourth piece, after Wind, Cloud and Flow.
Compared to the other fabrics, and in particular to that of Fluire, which is made from a very thick and rustic cotton outfit, this one has completely different characteristics; it is part of an old linen sheet, very smooth, almost impalpable. As delicate as it tries to be, when the needle goes through it creates holes that look like chasms. In spite of this, the tangle of threads seems to hold the fabric together, a little at the least, strengthening and piercing it at the same time.
I love to feel under my fingers this semi-transparent veil woven of strong threads, fragile and tenacious at the same time. Every time the pencil becomes too intrusive and prevents me from following the design properly, I’m forced to wash it off, and I’m always afraid that the passage in the washing machine will completely unravel it, given the edges, already heavily frayed.
All fabrics, after washing and exposure to the sun on my terrace – strictly suspended from a hemp rope with wooden clips – become stiffer, and almost take on the consistency of paper, which as a good graphic designer I obviously love. Then, as I handle them, they become softer and softer, and more and more difficult to embroider.
The softer and more inconsistent they are, the more complicated it is to follow the pencil trace; when I put them in the frame they give the impression of tearing in my hands at any moment; if I stretch them too much the design deforms and then when I take them apart the embroidery is all crooked; if I stretch them too little they form waves, in short, who wants to deal with simple and linear situations? I certainly don’t. Everything that is twisted and different attracts me like a magnet.
A very nice aspect of the smaller embroideries is that I can carry them around (or rather I could carry them around when you could still leave the house :-D). This for example I brought it to the Maxxi in late February, perhaps the last time I went out, now almost a month ago. I have a curious belief that the energy of the places I am in weaves itself into the embroidery and magically permeates it, making it richer and wiser.
I’m giving a lot of thought to the fact that I’d like the embroideries once displayed to be able to be touched as well as observed, and perhaps smelled. I might use a shade of natural essential oil that somehow recalls the feel of it, such as helichrysum for Fluire or Vento. I like the idea of creating something multi-sensory, I just don’t want to point in this way to one direction rather than another; as I have already written I conceive of a work of art as a mirror, in which everyone sees himself.
I also have another work in progress, more abstract and linear than any of the others, on a cloth full of little tears; when the threads pass over the holes they look like little colored bridges suspended in thin air. They remind me of those people who desperately try to hold everything together as their world crumbles, and pull out an unexpected and inspiring strength. It’s for them that I live, for those who spend their existence giving it a meaning, fighting if necessary for what they believe in, and inevitably remaining on the margins of the very large group of more fragile and delicate people, who prefer to follow roads already beaten or rely on the dictates that come from above, from various and eventual types of high.
My heart is close to the men and women for whom honor, consistency, courage, the given word, trust, sincerity and generosity, loyalty, are values that come before anything else. This I would like my embroidered illustrations to convey to those who touch them, smell them, look at them.