Clay McLaurin: Embroidered Curiosities
Textile Arts Center BK (505 Carroll St., Brooklyn)
Every item found has an uncertain beginning, but from each uncertain beginning there is a path – one that leads me in search of discovery. I am drawn to the mystery of origin, especially in objects from the natural world. For as long as I can remember, I have collected pods, seedlings, leaves, and other organic objects, so to muse on their complexity, hypothesize their genesis, and allow their design to inspire my own.
With my embroidered drawings, I am on a journey, seeking the uncertain origin of the object, and the certain design of what it becomes. Creating these images helps me to discover the cyclical relationship between the human and the natural world – the way it shapes us, and how we shape it.
I create each embroidered drawing sewing by hand and machine on to paper. The work is very physical and requires a bit of surrender so that a rhythm forms, and loops, hatch marks, or lines fall naturally across the surface. Each finished piece resembles an abstract world, an obscurity, an unknown thing – but each has a path, which leads us to discovery, which turns the foreign object into a familiar seedling in the pocket.
To me, these embroideries are like scientific drawings, resembling the discoveries of natural world explorers like Ernest Haeckel and Albertus Seba. In some areas, the thread builds up on the surface of the paper, creating a dimensional and unfamiliar phenomenon. In other areas, the thread creates a void, opening a portal into another world. These marvels inspire me to keep creating, just like they inspired early collectors of rare and strange objects to keep exploring the wonders of our world.
On display through April 13th