Working with parents during their pregnancy and early postnatal period of their babies lives, I am often struck by the belief still held that babies are best contained, preferably asleep. Society leads many new parents to feel that it is desirable for their babies to be calm, still and undemanding, despite the evidence that an infant's physical and emotional development is enhanced by early interaction between infant and parent. Swaddling can be a useful way of settling babies, but can also restrict this early dialogue.
I had wanted to explore printmaking on fabric rather than paper since seeing some examples by Louise Bourgeois, and this project gave me a wonderful opportunity to experiment.
The cloth was treated with cyanotype chemicals, and the image of the swaddled infant was exposed onto the cloth. Varying the exposure time enabled me to produce images of varying ghostliness.
In contrast to the beautifully crafted Swaddling Band in the V&A, I wanted the cloth to have a frayed and unfinished quality. And rather than discreet neat needlework, the stitches to be an obvious 'suturing-together' of the pieces with florescent pink thread, perhaps as a reference to the birth experience of many women, both in the past, and the present day.
Italy (probably, made)
White linen, trimmed with whitework, reticella and punto in aria lace
V&A collection reference number(s):