Esperanza and Sharon McElroy's collaboration arose through a mutual interest in social and gender connections, crafts and traditional skills. This installation combines Esperanza’s crochet skills, passed down through her maternal grandmother with Sharon’s site and community responsive practice. The piece explores common features that are found within domestic crochet and commercial fishing environments. Pattern, repetition, line and form are expressed through the knotting, looping and stitching of yarns and threads and a series of digital ‘video drawings that reference the waterfront of a working harbour. Juxtaposing these structures and contexts, the artists highlight the notion of the decorative and the functional, and ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine’ traditions.
Esperanza Perkins and Zahura Hussain work with sculptural drawing; converting painting into 3D line using colored threads and crocheted cotton. The artists are particularly looking at the bond between the mother and child, from the protective and secure bond to that which is fraught with the loss and separation of the mother. This relationship, filtered through the Internet examines ideas of comfort and protection alongside restriction and control.
Esperanza Perkins explores relationships, particularly the bond between mother and child, and relationships between couples. I work predominantly in crochet, a skill that I was taught by my maternal Spanish grandmother when I was a child. Traditional skills were often passed down in families from one generation to the next and ours was no exception. My fondest memories are of being with my mother and grandmother, crocheting, knitting, sewing or embroidering together. It was a way to communicate, pass down knowledge, and to strengthen our bond as a family, whilst sharing something we loved to do. Many of my projects involved crocheting traditional doilies and tablecloths. Today these memories live on in my crocheted pieces.
My love affair with crochet began in childhood when my grandmother patiently passed down her knowledge, and today it remains as strong as ever. Crochet is both an acknowledgement of my history and a reflection of that tradition. History around family and memory affects us profoundly and it is something we can all relate to. Indeed, identities are created through memories. Family history and sharing memories is there to be passed on to our children and on to the next generation. Not only do I find that crochet has endless creative possibilities, but I also find crocheting relaxing and comforting. Comforting to know that every stitch I crochet holds a thought or a memory and connection to my family, and to my family’s history.