Graduate Alumni > Advanced Fiber Studio (Highlights)

Erin Armstrong
Erin Armstrong
(Spring 2021)

In my work, I rely on materials with intimate personal histories to illustrate memory’s effect on the body. Using drawing as a method of archiving, I cling to and unwind the ephemeral flashbacks that pervade my everyday life. Artmaking has served as an outlet to reflect on these multifaceted and traumatic recollections by rendering them more permanent. This introspective process allows me to engage in a ritualistic conversation with myself that formalizes the otherwise fleeting notions of shame, care, and intimacy.
Recently, I have turned to working with bed linen for its tactility and inherent reference to the body. I emphasize materiality by scabbing and scarring personal items, using these corporeal functions to degrade and mend. To make these soft fissures, I rely entirely on manual techniques like sewing and embroidery that entail breakage – bent needles, snapped thread, and ripped seams document the physical effort exerted in these methods.

Similarly, I am interested in exposing the time-based aspects of these methods while integrating repetition. In order to test my bodily memory and to facilitate the transfer of fading thoughts, I draw mainly with my non-dominant hand, occasionally augmenting these unsteady lines with the more skilled marks of my dominant hand. Transparent notions of place, touch, and thought overlap physically in my work and harmonize on one timeline and surface. By combining different approaches to stitching and drawing, I seek to encapsulate dreams states, anxieties, and touch-sensitive memories.
Though my art is grounded in privacy, formal elements such as continuous lines and pointillism act as entry points for the viewer to embed their own memories into the piece. Currently, I am interested continuing this drawing practice while experimenting with the weight of emotional burden through sculptural forms.