In 2016, Poppy Szaybo, Mary Morris, Debbie Lyddon and Denise Jones formed ‘The Archive Project’ as a forum for discussion about ideas related to the archive, with the intent that they would hold an exhibition of artwork as an outcome. Their first exhibition was held at Haslemere Museum, Surrey in 2016, and focused on collecting, selecting, ordering and classifying.
Their second exhibition will be held at, The Cello Factory, Waterloo in May 2017. This exhibition will evidence how the group have shifted their thinking and are responding to specific objects and texts, within and beyond formal public archives.
The scope of what constitutes an archive has been expanded to include more than what, textile academic, Janis Jeffries refers to as, ‘the traditional reservoir of data associated with records, documents, photographs, manuscripts, contracts, plans and other material considered significant for preservation’ (Jeffries, 2016:101). This exhibition includes objects and texts that have been in everyday use and within family collections to widen our understanding about what gets to be collected, kept or passed on. It draws attention to our continuing entanglement with objects and people from the past.
The group agree that looking farther than public and civic repositories of knowledge, and by scrutinising material objects, an overlooked space may be opened up. This space may be where more intimate, affective and relational knowledge can be revealed and where textile can seamlessly intersect.
The group creatively employ the richness of textile and mixed media. They also invite an exchange of thinking about the archive, which will direct future discussion and their next exhibition.
Jeffries, J., Wood Conroy, D. and Clark, H. (eds.)(2016) The Handbook of Textile Culture. London: Berg.