My mother’s hands

One of my favourite galleries is the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra. Some of these portraits really give the viewer a tangible sense of what the person was like, especially at the time the painting was created. But how do you create a portrait without basing it on a literal picture of the person (their face etc)?

My mother’s hands is a mimic of a type of counted-thread work called Hardanger in which I’ve replaced the thread and fabric with wire and metal mesh. In the process it has also increased quite substantially in size (70cm x 70cm). I also found it impossible to replicate some of the stitches with the wire. In a sense this just adds to the portrait of my mother’s hands, and my mother: constantly occupied, adapting and learning.

It was also a very scratchy project. It is going to be some time before my hands forgive me.

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