the body's first architecture

Artist Ann Hamilton makes a beautiful statement about textiles being the body’s first architecture, and how the body knows things experientially, through contact with textile. She says that when she started making things with cloth, “it was like another skin.”

I keep thinking about this idea and the relationship between textiles and the body, and perhaps even with text, as I’ve been experimenting with paper and cloth.

I’ve spent the last couple days immersed, more or less, in this work.

The dress shape references the clothing I was wearing when I arrived from Korea as a child. Here's, it's made in Korean hanji (mulberry paper). Multiple layers of hanji are built up using a traditional Korean process called joomchi, which involves wetting and agitating the paper, to break down the fibers of the individual layers and adhere them to each other. 

I am trying to remake this image in as many ways as I can -- to experiment with fabric and form. Here, two additional takes. The background fabric has been stitched using a Korean quilting technique called bojagi. 

I am experimenting with color and pattern. Traditionally, white is a color of mourning in Korea and I am drawn to the contrast between this and the rich reds and golds of celebration. 

As joomchi dries, it can be molded to take on different shapes and forms. I've tried making soft shapes with fabric and batting and wrapping with joomchi. I've also been wrapping scraps of joomchi around stones. 

I like the idea of mixing these -- the fabric shapes, light and soft, and the stones. I like the idea of surprise if you are expecting an object to be one thing, but it turns out to be another.