Bramble thorns and barbed wire – both are effective means of protection!
Barbed wire has been both a feature and a theme in my work as an artist for many years now. The idea to try including barbs within the weave of my tapestries came from my need to represent something of the tension I felt whilst listening to the peace talks in Northern Ireland back in the late 1990s. Having grown up in Belfast during the 60s and 70s, it seemed to me to be the perfect material to represent conflict as my memory is of there being so much of it around at the time.
The first people to see the first tapestries I wove that incorporated barbed wire, did not think of it as representing conflict except in terms of texture – the soft wool of the weft and the hard sharpness of the barbs. They were living in the local rural community of SE Wales and only thought of barbed wire as a material for use in farming.
Metaphor or not, for me the barbs still represent conflict and although that theme in my work has broadened over the years, it is still a fact that the hard, sharp material of spikes, either man-made or natural, are there to protect one thing against another where there is a conflict of interests.
I have included a photo of one of my earlier tapestries from this thematic period – if you would like to see more examples of my work, please visit Design Fibre ICT at www.acmd.co.uk
More examples of my tapestry weaving can be seen at www.acmd.co.uk