Jessica Ferrer

Common Thread No. 4
Rives BFK paper
39 x 26.75 in.

My work stems from my ongoing interest in visibility, perspective, and identity. Inspired by traditional Philippine banig, or woven mats intended primarily for sleeping and sitting, these paper weavings represent the hybrid nature of identity and memory for people who associate home with more than one place. Initially undertaken as a consideration of the rich cultural tradition of weaving in the Philippines and the women who produce them, these works quickly evolved into a far more personal exploration of the cultural mash-up I have accrued as a Filipino-American. I reference Philippine patterns and processes, but acknowledge my own level of remove—the accidental and sometimes intentional erasure or obliteration of memory or associations—as a first-generation American by abstracting their structure.

As the convergence of two separate planes, weaving is a fitting metaphor for the nature of hybridity and its ensuing intermingling. The expected regularity in these patterns is disrupted by limiting each piece to two similar colors and distorting its web. Parts cross over and under each other, with every intersection further cementing their union and developing a new plane. I often found myself lost in the repetition of threading the strands through each other, struggling to imagine each finished piece. Consequently, the process became one of surrender and intuition rather than control.

© Jessica Ferrer