This print collection is one of co-cultural artefacts with a storytelling narrative, each scarf an archival and emotional piece of artwork based on the close relationship between myself as artist, and Babushka.
Co-Designed in person, together with the Babushkas and featuring motifs from their traditional embroideries.
The extensive design process began with personal research in 2016 and discovering, collecting and photographing the historic textile work of the women still living in the exclusion zone, Chernobyl, Ukraine. We bonded and became close through many visits, stitching together and talking about our shared love of embroidery and their textile history.
Embroideries were generously shared or donated, others found in homes evacuated and abandoned since 1986. All the women want their, ‘work to live on when…[they] have gone’.
Tatiana’s Birds in the Blue Sky [with pink crochet trim]
Tatiana has an embroidery background, she once worked in a textile factory. She was so nervous when beginning her collage composition that she didn’t want to be seen in any video or photos. Halfway through she had become so excited and engaged that she changed her mind and by the end of her design work, was proudly posing with her scarf design for us.
She firmly decided it should be viewed one way up and should not be a multi-directional pattern as is common within scarf design. This lends credence to the fact that each scarf is an artwork or picture, showing an insight into their hearts.
‘Tatiana wanted the background to be suggestive of a blue sky, the flatness and use of negative space giving your eye and mind room to focus on the beautiful motifs and flowers she reasoned. I hope she likes the gradient I added. She chose to have a crocheted lace edging, ‘to make it pretty’. I firstly sent images of it to her and then the scarf itself. I believe she has received it, but I can’t be sure. Early in Russia's war the small village in which she lived became even further isolated and inaccessible by road when a bridge was blown up. Only military police can travel there by boat. She had to leave her beloved village and moved, with her partner to somewhere on the zone border.’
Tatiana's Birds & Blue Sky - Storytelling Scarf
Scarf Size: 60cm x 60cm [approx.]
Box Size: 16cm x 16cm x 4cm [with drawer & tassel pull]
Material: 100% silk [washable at 30°, light iron]
- Edges trimmed with crochet lace trim - specified by Tatiana
- Hand-rolled edges [high quality]
- Digital print with...
- Redacted screen-print [the negative evidence] critically underlines the impending disappearance of this community and gives a depth to the piece
- Each scarf unique due to the variables of the hand screen printing process
- Launching at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, November 2022 [together with film of the artist]
‘Collaboration between artists, ethnographers and research participants can generate new knowledge about particular contextualised understandings of culture. From this perspective, art is used to create a collaborative and dialogical form of ethnographic knowledge’ (Rutten 2016, p.298).
50% of profit from this artefact will be donated to the Babushka’s of Chernobyl.
AVAILABLE TO PRE-ORDER