Clothing receives us, holds us and eventually outlives us.
My work explores memory, death, and clothing and in this exhibition specifically, I explore my experience of losing my grandmother, Margaret in 2021. I initially kept a lot of her clothing as I felt it was still so connected to her and made it feel like she wasn’t gone completely. My gran’s shoes were items I felt especially reluctant to get rid of as they felt so tied to her, holding the shape of every step she’d taken in them.
‘Memorial Suit’ is made from some of her clothing collection that I kept and features her jewellery, personal items, and photographs of us together. These garments are also used in the patchwork table cover of ‘Sewing Desk’, made with the sewing machine that she gave me.
Linking clothes to the places that they inhabited is also important to me. ‘Remembering’ shows me wearing the Memorial Suit in locations that hold special memories, and ‘Past Lives’ are photographs taken around my gran’s house. I recently made a second part to the ‘Past Lives’ series, titled ‘New Lives’ in which I documented the process of donating the shoes to 20 different charity shops. The act of letting go is a theme that runs through all my work in this exhibition.
Despite the sadness, my gran’s last days were full of humour and joy, and I want my work to have a sense of fun and celebration and show the beauty of the belongings she left behind. Making this exhibition has been part of processing her absence but also celebrating what a wonderful person she was.
Contact Laura Emmett