“My mother, whose stitching is as close to perfection as is possible, must have taught me to sew but I don’t remember it. What I do remember is having to learn machine sewing at school. As girls we had to do domestic science while the boys got to do woodwork. We made smocks, I remember, which horrified my mother because she thought they looked like maternity dresses.
I took one of those smocks home to finish and was asked, with clear disapproval, “is that how you’ve been taught?”
Sewing thus became a locus for the conflict between school and home, Englishness and my Chinese heritage, a conflict sharpened by the fact that school was a boarding school.
I think my lack of sewing skills and knowledge is due to the rupture in the traditional passing down of those skills from mother to daughter. And yet I am drawn again and again to stitch and textiles.
Sewing is thus both reparation and traumatic re-enactment.” (Clare Smith)
The project was initiated and organised by Clare Smith and made possible thanks to the generosity and enthusiasm of fellow artists: Gwen Hedley, Rosie James, Joanna Jones, Claire Manning, Ruth Payne, Linda Simon and Bev Williams and all the contributors to the accompanying zine: Julie Brixey-Williams, Laura Cadman, Natalie Dowse, Helen Frank, Ruth Geldard, Jill Gibson, Sue Gough, Gwen Hedley, Daniel Hughes, Rosie James, Joanna Jones,Louise Jones, Eric Lesdema, Jayne Lloyd, Bethan Lloyd Worthington, Claire Manning, Isabella Martin, Helen Mayer, Tania McCormack, Kate Murdoch, Clare Smith, Susan Truseler, Frieda van de Poll, Bev Williams, Rachel Wooller, Catherine Wynne-Paton
On Saturday 22 November, Jayne Lloyd performed “Net” on or near Margate beach from 12-3pm.
Videos: Ewan Golder and Clare Smith