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Alice Spencer

Kasaya

The imagery in my work has evolved from many years of collecting ethnic textiles. I am interested in how textiles shape cultural identity and how, in connection with our bodies and surroundings, they compile and transmit the story of human activity through time. Over the years, a textile-based lexicon of structures and conceptual associations has become the language of my work.

Recently, I have been looking at patchwork, a time-honored process in which leftover scraps of cloth are pieced together to make larger textiles. Combining artistry and thrift this process brings vibrant beauty to clothing and other humble household objects.

Patchwork is found across the world and its use, meaning and structure varies widely. For example, quilt makers in the American South evoke the drum rhythms of their African forbearers in quilts made from the clothing of deceased family members. These coverings serve to warm and comfort loved ones left behind. In contrast, monks in Tibet, using remnants of silk brocade, follow exacting spiritual measurements in crafting their cloaks. Even monks of the highest status wear patched cloaks or kasaya to signify their humility.

The stories embodied in the structures and patterns of patchwork are the genesis of this body of work.

Kasaya #1
collage on board with hand-printed papers
36½" x 52½", 2013
Kasaya #2
collage on board with hand-printed papers
29" x 41", 2013
Kasaya #3
collage on board with hand-printed papers
48" x 63", 2013
Kasaya #4
collage on board with hand-printed papers
35½" x 46", 2013
Kasaya #5
collage on board with hand-printed papers
38" x 50", 2013
Kasaya #6
collage on board with hand-printed papers
30" x 41", 2013
Kasaya #7
collage on board with hand-printed papers
33" x 32", 2013
Kasaya #8
collage on board with hand-printed papers
37" x 38", 2013
Kasaya #9
collage on board with hand-printed papers
24½" x 26", 2013