Red Thread [Rauður Þráður]

Posted on 11th May 2021 in General

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A collaborative weaving of creative minds, Photographer Emilie Sandy and Dutch Weaver Erna Janine

Red Thread [Rauður Þráður] is a Stroud based collaborative photography and textile project with Dutch Weaver Erna Janine, exploring different stories, expressions and experiences of motherhood through intimate conceptual portraits of eleven women.

In Icelandic, ‘Rauður Þráður’ – Red Thread, is a common expression, meaning “the main theme of a story”. Ties and connections of motherhood are explored through this body of work. The exhibition features anonymous photographs, co-created by myself and the participants – where the women creatively utilise unique red, hand-woven pieces of cloth created by Janine in order to freely express their experiences of motherhood.

Weaving is an ancient technique typically performed by women, to create and provide cloth to dress their families with. Weaving was often a group activity, which would be accompanied by sharing stories and songs. It is also connected to various mythologies: The Tapestry of Life and The Threads of Destiny.

The symbolic presence of the cloth in the photographs was used to inspire the sharing of stories. Cloth can both hide and reveal, protect and constrain, wrap wounds or carry loads. The photographic sessions enabled both the subjects and myself, to share experiences, within a safe creative space. By excluding their faces, the participants were inspired to become completely open and honest in front of the camera. Many women are self-conscious of their bodies, which are an ever-changing landscape, shaped by pregnancy, motherhood and the passage of time. Bodies that can create life and carry the legacy of our mothers and grandmothers.

The creative sessions of this project encouraged a sharing of motherhood stories, creating an open platform to explore the role of a mother, of all our mothers and of motherless mothers. The images represent women and motherhood; the cloth (almost tribal) symbolising a tribe of women surrounded by ancient wisdom and reclaiming the power to be free. Expressing their unique and personal journeys, through a collaborative and performative photographic process.