Hanging by a thread - Karen Byrne

©Victoria and Albert Museum, London View Inspiration Details

Artist Statement

Karen Byrne

The agate cup and saucer from the C18th intrigues me. I was struck by the delicacy of the shape, the organised chaos of the decoration and the way in which the patterns of the clay are an intrinsic part of the making rather than just on the surface. I was also struck by the fact that it sits unused in a case looking down at us from history, a storyteller now rather than a practical vessel.

I wanted to explore how I might bring some of theses qualities to my own work exploring themes around chaos and delicacy using the shapes and colour palette of the cup as a springboard. It was important to me that the piece, “Hanging by a thread”, should echo and respond to the cup rather than duplicate it but the pattern is again part of the structure, unlike the cup it moves gently and is free to be seen in the round.

The piece is made from cotton threads laid over a form and held together by dilute PVA glue. I created a number of individual ‘cups’ and then hand stitched my preferred iterations together after exploring how they might work most effectively to create a singular artwork. I learnt the initial thread technique as part of the textiles course I attend at the City Lit and have been able to develop the technique to fit with my own creative interests. The course has been a constant source of inspiration to me allowing me to develop both creatively and from a skills perspective

Hanging by a thread - Karen Byrne

©Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Inspiration details:

Cup and saucer

Tea bowl and saucer of marbled earthenware

Staffordshire, England (made)

ca. 1750 (made)

Unknown (production)

Marbled earthenware with clay

V&A collection reference number(s):
414:1041/&A-1885

2015 Exhibition Guide

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