cotton, linen, paper, silk, and wool on repurposed rope horse fly net
31 x 15 x 6 in.
My work redefines aging fiber artifacts—horsefly nets, fishing nets, and similar vernacular forms—through needle-weaving and knotting. Their worn imperfections are mended into the new, and the transformation becomes part of their continued narrative. Stripped of function, these once three-dimensional nets lie flat. By giving them new volume, I honor the revolving intersections of past and present. Weaving within and across their fixed borders allows for long, reflective periods of creation informed by the familial moments and unexpected associations that their previous lives evoke.
Absent their true stories, I imbue them with my own, reclaiming once-functional objects, typically put to use by men, through a personal and historically feminine gaze—that of compliance, of erasure, of renewal, of motherhood, of eldercare. What began as autobiographic meditation has evolved into work that more broadly speaks to histories, loss, and longing and exists in other realms of interpretive possibilities.
© Amy Usdin