Today I am interviewing Textile Artist Marjolein Burbank who’s work is constructed using TEXT. Let us explore her UNDER/OVER WEAR collection which demonstrates ‘WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WOMEN START TAKING UP SPACE?’
HAS PERSONAL EXPERIENCE INSPIRED ANY OF YOUR UNDER/OVER WEAR COLLECTION?
I have been in vulnerable situations, being a woman, that happens to a lot of us. Just ‘simple’ things like catcalling, men talking to your breasts, being careful (at night), what I am wearing. A lot of this doesn’t happen to me anymore, but for the younger generation this is a real problem. I feel for (wo)men who have real problems with all kinds of abuse. We should all feel and be safe .
IS THE UNDERWEAR YOU USE RECYCLED? WOULD YOU CONSIDER USING PRE-WORN ITEMS?
Often I use recycled underwear and other materials pre-used. Love the extra layer it gives, the feel and look of older material. I find pleasure in hunting for things in thrift stores. I have accumulated a lot of materials in this way. That’s why, when the shops closed during the first and second lockdown, I could still find enough in my own home to use. Since the beginning of the COVID pandemic, I have been making and posting one artwork a day on Instagram. It has proven to be my savior.
DO YOU WORK TO A PLANNED FORMAT OR IS EACH PIECE SPONTANEOUS? OR BOTH?
I don’t really plan, other than in my head. My head is full of ideas and my table full of bits and pieces. I write a lot down on scraps of paper and when I find them I might reject entirely or use differently. This is all part of my creative process. I am (somewhat) chaotic, just because I so love to start new work but when I know how its going to look I get less interested. Now, in this pandemic, I stay home a lot more and have embraced Instagram. I make and post new work everyday . Love this medium now that there are no exhibitions.
DO YOU USE SKETCHBOOKS?
I have tried but a sketchbook isn’t always around when I come up with an idea. In the middle of a conversation, or with a cat on my lap, I write it down on a piece of paper.
WHAT INSPIRES YOUR LANGUAGE / TEXT? DO YOU KEEP A LIBRARY OF COMMENTARY OBJECTIFYING WOMEN? WHERE DO YOU SOURCE YOUR QUOTES?
I often use the English language in my work. As a non-native speaker the meaning of the text is not always clear in translation. I love that. I often use text with a double meaning. I keep books on the history of feminism. They are a resource I often go back to. But I find a lot of inspiration in newspapers, magazines and the internet. When I know what I want to say I use Google to find expressions. I also use song lyrics.
DO YOU USE YOUR OWN BODY HAIR, AND IF NOT, WHAT MATERIAL DO YOU USE?
I have used my daughter’s long dark hair to embroider with, and the white hair of a friend. My own hair isn’t long or thick. But for most of my stitching I use commercial thread.
EXPLAIN YOUR ‘MALE/FEMALE WHAT IS IT TO YOU?’
I made this on vacation having ‘found’ the corset. My inspiration is taken from general form filling – one of the first questions being ‘Male or Female’. Often there is no need to know this. I love to fill in ‘Male’ myself! Body hair expresses the ‘silo mentality’ of standard business practice to gather and then not share information.
IS THE EXPECTATION OF WOMEN ‘DOING IT ALL’ MASKED AS ‘HAVING IT ALL’ TODAY?
Thanks for this question, this will be the start of a new artwork! Woman, the ‘lucky ones’, who have a career, relationship and children, have it all, but have to work around the clock to maintain it all. These woman, more than men, are always occupied, mentally and physical. Woman do it all!
WHAT INSPIRED YOUR UNUSUAL BREAST SIEVE AND IS IT RECYCLED?
This is simple. I found several sieves in a thrift store. What else could I have stitched on it?
WHICH ARTISTS DO YOU ADMIRE?
Now that I am on Instagram, I have found a lot of artist I admire. I don’t want to follow them all because when I see something I could have/would have/should have made it is frustrating. On the other hand it pushes me further in expressing myself through my art. To name a few – Jack Ravi (collage), Sheila Kruger (collage), Renee Toonen (embroidery), Ilaria Margutti (embroidery), Michele Kingdom, Ainsley Hillard, Leena Illukka, Rosa Verloop, Alexandra Bircken and Marisa Ramirez.
You can contact Marjolein and explore more of her artworks at =====Textile art ===== Marjolein Burbank – Home (weebly.com)
‘Breast Cancer’ is my favourite piece. You can view my own Womanhood Collection here Abstract Textile Artist | Ccunningham-textileartist-woman (wixsite.com)