Where was day 3?? (Alberto Burri)

When I came back off holiday I set myself the challenge of blogging everyday. Now anyone who knows me will know how unreliable I am and disorganised so it’s no surprise that I only managed 2 days!! 

As a result of these behaviours I’ve also had to learn to be very forgiving of myself and have had to surround myself with very forgiving and understanding friends, I love you all!

So please accept this as yesterday’s blog, much like the 2 parcels I sent yesterday that I promised to send over 3 weeks ago!!

One of my degree research points was on Wabi Sabi, a Japanese concept of finding beauty in decay and the impermeable. This sits very well with me and researching artists has been a joy. 

In my search I discovered Alberto Burri, an Italian gentleman who passed on in 1995. He had been in the Italian army during WWII and had spent time as a POW in America.

There he had begun expressing his feelings through art using what came to hand, mostly burlap fabric which he stitched and burnt. There is a delicate rawness to his pieces from this time and on his return home, where he continued to use burlap in his work.

Where as the archive textile garments I have studied have only general wear and tear, that tell of happier times, Burri’s pieces speak of destruction and a need to repair (he was an army doctor). Holes and frays remain, reminding us of the long term damage to bodies and minds caused by war. I personally find his work very moving and sad. 

I have gathered more pictures and articles about him on a Pinterest board

Burri continued to develop his skills and developed a technique called  Combustione.

It’s funny how serendipity can guide you in a direction and it’s a while before you can see where you’re going; only a few weeks ago I was drawn to a new book New Ideas in Fusing Fabrics. I’ve always steered away from these techniques because of the H&S issues and quite frankly it’s all started to look very dated.
Using synthetic fabrics has gone out of fashion and I couldn’t understand why I was buying a book that recommended it’s use when I was working predominantly in traditional fabrics like cotton and linen. I’ve even bought a soldering iron!

So maybe here in Burri’s work is the answer, I’m not sure exactly what yet but there’s something calming about letting coincidence take the lead, like floating on a river on a lilo. Hopefully it won’t turn out like my last kayak ride down a river in a huge black & blue bruise.


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