ANA KIRBY www.transformingthreads.co.uk Cloth is one of the first things that touches our body and remains our constant companion, very close to skin, providing sensations of comfort or irritation, its textures continuously in conversation with our neural sensors. Fabric, textile, thread, in their rich and varied forms, provide ongoing messages to ourselves and others about how we see and feel about ourselves. We dress up, we dress down, we dress for an occasion, we dress for status, we make heads turn or we make ourselves invisible, all through the use of cloth. I am totally fascinated by the power of cloth and how we use it. For generations women spoke through fabric, when the social norms of the day did not allow their stories to be verbally expressed. I am equally fascinated by how certain items of clothing hold strong feelings and emotions. We probably all have such items in the loft, items that we can neither wear nor throw away nor give to charity. They hold too many memories and tell a unique story. My work combines my professional training as a clinical psychologist / therapist with my passion for fabric and thread as well as all that textiles have held over the centuries in cultures and in individual family stories. What you see is a creative expression of a psychological process; it may be the representation of an emotional state, the depiction of a relational concept, the shift in a conditioned way of thinking or the questioning of cultural norms or ideas. My soul sings when unresolved emotions are set free, whether my own or others. Using fabric or items of clothing to facilitate such a change is deeply beautiful and joyful for me.
The Dress ‘The Dress’ is the transformation of my First Communion dress into the story of what happened that day, more than half a century ago, with all the feelings, conflicts and expectations that such a ritual had on me. My mother made the dress, every stitch expressing her love, our strong bond and what she deeply wished for me. It also expressed her religious beliefs and all the norms and expectations that were tied up in that belief