August 2006

A brief history of stencils #5


J had just finished taking a photo of the mattress when a guy pulled up in the car.
He had a quizzical look on his face so she decided to ask him, “what do you think it means?”

He replied “I’ve been trying to work that out”. And then added, “yesterday it just said ‘you never think it will happen to you’, and then today somebody else has added ‘Then one day it does'”.
“I reckon it’s a couple splitting up and they have both written different things.”
And then he added, “I’m going to take a photo too”.


Exhibition Dates
Tuesday August 29 – Saturday September 16 2006
Tuesday – Friday: 11am – 5pm
Saturday: 12pm – 4pm

I was stencilling stories onto dumped mattresses in the streets of St Kilda when the fabric on their covers caught my eye. A whole history of textile design was going off to the tip. They were too gorgeous to stencil, too precious to leave. So I started collecting mattresses, piling them onto the roof of my car and taking them home. As the garage began to overflow I wondered what to do next. I wanted to give these mattresses another life.

I started sewing pyjamas, carefully cutting each garment to fit the cloth avoiding the blemishes where possible but retaining the intimate history. The pyjamas draw our gaze and invite our touch. But as they attract, they also repel, because of their past, their proximity to the skin of a person or persons unknown. They embody someone else’s story but prompt the question “how do you sleep?”

Image: ‘Mitford Street Pyjamas’ 2006

fortyfivedownstairs – 45 Flinders Lane Melbourne