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Alice Spencer

transcribing time

In travels over the last 30 years my husband and I have acquired textiles from China, Mongolia, Bhutan, Turkey and Guatemala and other countries with strong textile traditions. We have found that studying and collecting textiles has been a rewarding way to understand the cultures in the countries we visit.

As a painter much of my recent work has evolved in response to my experience with textiles and the traditions from which they come. The structural nature of weaving and embroidery, folding and piecing, informs both its formal and conceptual framework. My work references the role of pattern and cloth in ceremonial and social transactions and looks to ancient burial sits and the stories told in the remains of patterned cloth, jewelry and pottery.

I am interested in the idea of the renewal and continuity of life through the transformation of cloth fragments into patchwork quilts, particularly those of Gee's Bend, Arkansas, and Boro, textiles of Japan. I think of pattern as the embodiment of life’s great energies and as the vehicle we use to incorporate nature's beauty and power into our visual and material culture.