Needle and thread are my drawing tools. I stitch on paper by threading a fine needle, piercing the paper, and pulling a line of color into space. Laying the thread down against the paper, I create a relief, pierce the paper again, pull the thread through to repeat the sequence to color an area. It is very, very, slow work. I work intuitively. Every stitch is a decision, an intentional gesture made in response to the materials, the emerging patterns, the overall composition that arises. I am compelled to think about length, depth, placement, angle, and relationship to other lines.
With thread and paper, I explore texture, color, form, and scale. Titles come to mind within this contemplative process. After the piece is completed, I study it and allow it to reveal itself to me. Red is the color of blood. Human lives have been lost in every conflict that has arisen over the use of the earth: from the displacement of one group by another to secure land to the wars fought over ownership of land; from territorial disputes to the flexing of colonial muscle; from eviction to new ownership of homes and subsequent inheritance of generational wealth. The earth just keeps soaking up the blood. Rectangles formed by parallel lines of red thread can symbolize many things: agriculturally altered land, city blocks, graves, pavement, parking lots…all the patterns we humans have imposed upon the earth. It is important that the viewer also move around in front of this work and look at it from the side as well as straight on. The viewing perspective makes a huge difference in how the piece is read; not unlike in how our perceptions of one another and even history change when we consider the facts from the other person’s perspective.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Dolores Slowinski, a long-time resident of Detroit, has a BFA in weaving and ceramics from Wayne State University. Her work experience includes art writing for national, regional, and local print and electronic magazines as well as serving as arts administrator and resource person at the state and local level for over 40 years. Slowinski returned to studio practice in 1999 and began showing her work in local, state, and regional galleries in 2005. Her art work explores the use of thread as line in the form of hand-stitched drawings on paper. Most recently her work has been included in three international exhibitions: 23rd International Open, Woman Made Gallery, Chicago, IL, 2020; Shifting Landscapes, Surface Design Association, juried, members exhibition at form & concept gallery in Santa Fe, NM, 2017; and World of Threads Festival 2016 in Oakville/Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. Hers is among the first 100 World of Threads Festival Artist Interviews posted online at worldofthreadsfestival.com.
Slowinski’s work has also been included in local and international publications including: Textiel Plus,TxP, a Dutch zine focusing on contemporary textile art, 2020; Microsoft Chicago blog post, 2017; Post-Industrial Complex, Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit, MI, 2012; Textiles: The Art of Mankind by Mary Schoeser, Thames & Hudson, London, 2012.
© Dolores Slowinski