Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Portrait of a Marriage

Conscious and unconscious memory is activated by our associations with cloth, stirring our senses and emotions. ‘Portrait of a Marriage’ is a textile assemblage book within which a poem reveals the intimate emotions and thoughts that textiles evoke. This oeuvre references the textile books of Louise Bourgeois. 

I awaken to the scent of your body
in the sheets and your pillow
in the clothes you wore  yesterday
still unwashed.
My hand caresses the creases
of where you lay
I inhale slowly and deeply 
absorbing the redolence
that still summons my love.
I sort through your clothes
where your absent body still resides
in the stains and in the folds
in the way your elbows and knees
have shaped them.
I leave them there, absented
your body still lingering
longing that once again
you  will inhabit them.
molecules and cells
imbedded between the threads
are all I have of you


Co. 2019 Line Dufour


51cm x 47cm. cotton canvas, garment and domestic textile tags. machine stitched, embroidered.

Though garments and household textiles we purchase may be recyclable and environmentally sustainable, the tags attached to them are not. Many rank others according to the fashion brands they purchase and acquire. This is an assemblage of people with small budgets and no extra money for the luxuries of designer products.


Diana Scott participated in the community component of Worn Worlds installation.  The absence of maternal love and affection in her life was revealed as she shared the story of her 1927 Patsy Ann doll. The many outfits made for this doll outlived Diana's mother and Grandmother, but not Diana's pain from the absence of love and affection towards her as a child.  The years fray and deconstruct the  dress as it does the toxic hold these unloving relationships had upon us.

Rhythms of Daily Life

Referencing Louise Bourgeois' textile works, and finding from them a source of inspiration, I played with useful textiles through the lens of art, and the eyes of an artist. It alludes to the repetitiveness of our daily domestic tasks. 

At Loose Ends

At Loose Ends
a series of textile sketches. Dryer sheets, denim work pants, cheesecloth, 
machine stitched, hand mended.
28cm x 21.5cm.

years fray my edges
wear me out in places
each thread pulling away
undoing the fabric of my life
time ripping and shredding
each thread a moment
a memory , an experience
an emotion, a parting
an anger, a tenderness
a resentment, a kindness
these threads woven together
the warp and weft of what I was
and am no longer
now that time has

copyright Line Dufour 2019


Our personal narratives are pieced together by fragments of our past including the textiles that have accompanied us along the journey, imbuing them with memory and feelings. Embedded in cloth are our stories, our histories, our identities and our cultures.  Cloth arouses thoughts of warmth, comfort, protection and intimacy but also paradoxically, confinement, containment, fragility, and impermanence.  So much of women’s labour is invisible, impermanent and unseen. Domestic work is consumed, disintegrates, dissolves, disappears, is forgotten, is invisible…so many of these hours regarded as insignificant and inconsequential.
Landscapes (below) consists of four textile assemblages that paint the canvas of a domestic life.  Constructed of textiles collected over the duration of the artist’s life, these ‘Landscapes’ utilize everyday and mundane textiles that are part of domestic chores - endless menial tasks most often done without remuneration or praise, often not seen by others, and usually only noticed by a small and intimate circle. These textiles are silent witnesses, archaeological evidence of a life and its relationships. Each piece takes years to create and has left these markings ꟷ the wearing, the fraying, the stains and the rips. These ‘landscapes’ are the art that forms an ordinary life.

The Terrain Travelled: linen dishcloth, vintage flour bag, denim construction work pants, 'art' class apron, Queen of Hearts playing card: stitched
The Daily Terrain of Living. 101cm x 81cm. cotton, denim, dryer sheets, clothing tags. upcycled fabrics

The Landscape of Everyday,  104cm x 78cm. Linen, cotton, denim, found objects. upcycled textiles. 2019

Dream Fields   86cm x 79cm. cotton pillowcase and bed sheet, dryer sheet, plastic netting, window screening, garment tag. 2019. 

Landscapes is attached with clothespeg to a clothesline. The clothespegs have a line of poetry written on each of them. Below, the pegs, along with the poem. 

Cloth accompanied
ordinary moments
of domesticity
ART of my life
these markings

Years disintegrate
my labours
evidence of a life

Finding the Words

Finding the Words. 101cm x 65cm. Dryer sheets, transfer, cotton cheesecloth. Handstitched, embroidered

The various roles society demands that women assume create fragmentation and division of self. In women’s roles as mother, sister, aunt, daughter, friend, professional, employee, employer, it often seems that too many people want pieces of you, demand more of you than you can give. All this creates a disconnect with the self and threatens well-being and wholeness.
With each art work created is an entry point into myself, uncovering me and making myself visible to others. This is especially true of Finding the Words, where my full-length portrait is curtained by the text and painting, nebulous and numinous. My silent voice makes itself heard. Text plays a more prominent role in my life, at times appearing to eclipse the visual art I am creating. The textile collage mirrors how words and images shape my thinking process. Slowly they emerge to form strands of words that are then stitched into a cohesive whole. My artistic process parallels my awkward, tedious and meticulous writing journey. Each word is carefully examined for flaws and tested for its quality and authenticity.

Finding the Words (poem)

I vanish between the spaces of the words
I disappear into the blanks
I recede into the silences
I can only find my creativity in the quiet places
I live in the place where there are no words
fueled only by the quiet
punctuated by various sounds
in this space 
my awareness wanders 
into nooks and crannies
of  ideas and thoughts
into  memory and emotion
where love is stored
Each word that comes to me a pearl
formed in the shell of my silence
and like the pearl
clear luminescent smooth and hard
each word a bead strung upon a strand
to make me whole

© Line Dufour 2019