The sewing machine and the actions of people at home sewing took on a new symbolic meaning in the national effort to create personal protective clothing (PPE) during the first Coronavirus lockdown.
Technology and film artist Jan Frith from Ryde presents ‘Sewing Memories: Care Homes and Covid’ (2020), a new version of her digital interactive work first shown in December last year before Covid was on the horizon.
‘Make do and mend’ and ‘call to arms’
Sewing memories of mostly elderly care-home residents reminiscing about their ‘make do and mend’ era of sewing have been combined with recent memories of people across the Isle of Wight who sewed as a ‘call to arms’ to make PPE urgently during the Covid crisis.
It is particularly poignant that many people who died at the onset of the pandemic were those in care homes, the inspirational people behind this project originally.
Combining new and old tech
The work exhibited comprises a Singer sewing machine, micro LCD screen and Raspberry Pi computer. At each revolution of the sewing machine handle, the text of the memory shown on the micro screen shifts upwards one line, referring to the sewn fabric that would normally move through the needle foot-plate.
By turning the handle the viewer can directly engage with the physicality of the old Singer sewing machine and read the memories of various past and present sewing generations. A film of all the memories will accompany the physical piece.
Where and when
Showing for a limited time from Wednesday 9th December until Friday 11th December 2020 at Aspire Ryde Community Hub (ARCH Window Gallery) 35 High Street, Ryde: Daily 10am until 4pm.
“I want to thank all the people that came forward to contribute their wonderful sewing memories for this work and I hope this is a small way of acknowledging how their served their country.”
Jan moved to the Isle of Wight from London having studied for her MA Fine Art at Central St Martins (The London Institute).
News shared by Jan, in her own words. Ed