Oddly enough, one of the first gallery exhibits I plan to take you to is one I haven’t been to myself. Diane Savona’s one-woman show at the Conant Hall Gallery at Educational Testing Service in Lawrence can only be seen through Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-4 p.m. — hard for most of us to get to. Fortunately, her excellent web site is almost like a visit to her gallery. She’s also in the exhibit “Seams: Contemporary Art to Wear” at the Noyes Museum through Aug. 24, and will be teaching a workshop at the Newark Museum Nov. 9.
Using samples of “domestic archaeology” she finds at flea markets and garage sales — such as pot holders, knitting samples, sewing tools, pieces of crochet work, kitchen tools and well-worn fabric — she creates garments by piecing these together. They are not garments meant to be worn, but rather tell the story of the person, or culture, from which the samples came.
She has created a series of quilts from her mother’s old clothing, patterns, fabric, tape measures, and photo-graphs. Another series chronicles her mother’s illness and hospitalization before death, and a reliquary uses her mother’s old underwear, wig, religious items, sewing notions and personal effects hand-sewn onto an old ironing board cover.
“My quilts all have very strong narrative elements,” she writes. “As I’ve been cutting, dying and sewing my mother’s old clothing and materials to create these pieces, I’ve attempted to use the language of the cloth to incorporate the story into the quilt itself.”
She also makes ceramic impressions of old textiles, and a “Road Cloth Series” made of gloves, shirts and umbrellas found on the street.