Shervone Neckles

Red Rag Rosie and Little Miss Pinky Rug
crocheted yarn with rug backing
3 x 4 x 2 in.

My work is about people, the historical events that influenced people and the traditions that have shaped us as a people. Fabric is the core of my work. I believe that by expressing my ideas through fabric (to wrap, drape, sew, collage, weave, draw, print and create with and on fabric) I have established a kind of ownership of that item or idea. Once something that’s familiar or known to us in other materials or substances has been recreated in fabric it undergoes a permanent transformation.

Using the techniques of dollmaking, quiltmaking and crocheting that are influenced by my ancestors is my way of forming a connection, continuing a tradition, preserving the memories and inserting myself into history.

From pieces of fabric I am able to create richly textured dolls and quilts that weave historical data with personal memories to develop the stories that I call “The Tales of Red Rag Rosie and Little Miss Pinky.” The characters “Red Rag Rosie” and “Little Miss Pinky” are the narrators that take the viewer through an visual story-like fantasy, telling complex tales of slavery, subjugation and the hope and spirit of resistance.

Finding discarded fragments of fabric and collaging them to form quilts and dolls is essential to my work. This philosophy of being resourceful and using all that is available to you, comes from a long tradition not only practiced by African and Afro-Caribbean Americans but by many cultures. This practice continuously inspires this body of work.

The quality I admire most about my culture is the strength to find humor in the midst of struggle and pain. That quality I try to mimic and express throughout this series. This body of work is not meant to poke fun at or to make light of its sources but is to reveal a sense of redemption, and an unstoppable spirit.

© Shervone Neckles