Way-finding, mapping, and place-making with Sarah Pedlow: Artist Spotlight
About the Artist
Sarah Pedlow makes stitched photo-based drawings and textiles that honor traditional embroidery, handmade clothing, and home decor, exploring memory, folklore, and the intersections of culture, heritage, and identity in a globalized world. In 2009 while in Budapest for an artist’s residency, she visited the Ethnographic Museum and fell in love with the traditional clothing and embroidery. The visit inspired her to seek out women who stitch a particular style called written embroidery in Transylvania, Romania, and start the education and preservation project ThreadWritten in 2012. Residencies in Iceland; Oaxaca, Mexico; and Holland, as well as textile research in Ukraine and Portugal, inform her current practice. She holds an MFA from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University and a BA in Studio Art and French Studies from Scripps College, Claremont, CA. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she moved to Amsterdam, NL in 2019 where she now lives and works.
My practice is a form of way-finding, mapping, and place-making. In my adopted home of Amsterdam, I document a popular contemporary lace curtain fabric spotted again and peeling posters that mimic the sleeve of a blouse in the transitional spaces where the city and I meet. A window serves as a threshold between exterior and interior, visible and invisible, public and private, known and unknown. I cut images, piercing the façade, peeling back the membrane from one realm to another, making the image three-dimensional. Photographs toggle between 2-D and 3-D by humble means in the age of virtual reality. I am interested in transgressing the printed image itself and the frame within the frame. The hand-stitched and drawn patterns come from folk embroidery and printed textiles collected while working with traditional embroiderers in Eastern and Southern Europe and researching textiles in The Netherlands. A poppy from a Ukrainian scarf, a 1700s lace collar, the zigzag line of a pleated apron, and the sweeping fringe in a Coromandel Coast chintz imported by The Dutch East India Company converse across space and time, mapping a new path and revealing an image within the image. With these references, I explore parallels between window dressing and dressing the body. What do we present? What do we expose and, what is revealed?
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