Artist Statement- 

 

In my early 30s and living in a small Welsh village, a few miles from the small welsh coastal town in which I grew up in, I have at a later stage in my life recovered the ability to think and work artistically after having been discouraged from doing so from my own anxieties. 

I hand stitch layers of thread onto fabric. Whilst I sew I explore each moment of the process; the threading of the needle, the tying of the knot, the feel of the fabric, the movement of the arm, and with a mindful curiosity and observation I encourage myself to become aware of any thought or emotion which comes, particularly those which bring discomfort. 

The work first began as a way to overcome my fears of being creative due to my history with anxiety. I found that the repetitive act of creating a stitch whilst being mindful of my reaction gave me the space needed to dissect and overcome the pain and discomfort of the thoughts and physical sensations brought on by the anxiety. Figurative forms have entered my work, and these do well to engage audiences and suggest all may not be as it seems (which I tend to often feel about myself), inviting participants to take a closer look and engage their own reactions in trying to make sense of what they are seeing, feeling, thinking. The form chosen was that of a teddy bear, the choice behind this was to somehow bridge the gap between my lost childhood-like creativity and the creative awakening I am experiencing as an adult.

My aim is to allow my work to evolve so as to not only become a direct outcome of my stitch making, but also used as a way to represent my opinions, to highlight observations or to explore new ideas and insights, through the mindful act of creating a stitch. During the production of a piece new areas of interest arise and lead to the next body of work, yet likely kept within the bounds of 'creating a stitch', future works which interest me and have the potential for fresh new takes on my work are with the use of film, performance art, public engagement and large scale works. 

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 © 2021 Matthew Downham