I last wrote about Diane Savona nearly two years ago (see post), but she’s back, this time with work in From the Archives at the Center for Emerging Visual Artists in Philadelphia. The Passaic-based artist embeds domestic objects between layers of cloth to form fossil-like impressions, which can be read as hieroglyphic symbols. Combined with apron images, Ms. Savona’s stitched markings suggest cultural maps.
The artist uses samples of “domestic archaeology” she finds at flea markets and garage sales – 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.
“My arts shows textiles in an archaeological context,” she writes. “Constructed of local salvaged linens, my work is connected to the people in my community, past and present.”