I found myself reading between the lines of the tapestry postcards, the occasional email between myself and participants, and the postings on social media during the time that these were being delivered to my inbox. My readings often took place while camping by a billabong in a remote corner of Australia. The internet is a wonderful thing, and without which this type of exchange is unlikely to occur and certainly could not be shared widely.
The ideas of value and preciousness is hard to forget when it comes to tapestry – when Findinghome Postcard exhibition took place, it was the Australian post office that subverted the idea of a tapestry postcard being sent unprotected through the mail. One postal worker carefully put the tapestry postcard into an envelope, and enclosed a handwritten note saying that she thought it might be damaged if it went through the mail unprotected.
Some 14 years on, it was the occasional participant that subverted this idea of ‘naked’ tapestry postcards by carefully enclosing the cards in envelopes and packaging, paying for a tracking number.
The Postal Service intervened by stamping the back of the card with ‘not machinable’ or ‘do not automate’ another form of protection, though perhaps itself protection from the automated sorting machine jamming from a non-standard item rather than protection of the card. Just think–tapestries as dangerous objects! Occasionally a post office worker would not allow the tapestry postcards to be posted without packaging – negating the low cost of postage for a card ignoring the fact that It is a card that could be stamped and franked, just like any other post card. Sometimes the system works against those that wish to subvert it.
Sending a tapestry through the mail is fraught at the best of times. When tapestries can sell for thousands of dollars, exchanging one with someone you do not know and may never meet, undermines the economic system, forcing weavers to find another system of value: that of what interests are in common, friendship, sharing emails/thoughts about tapestry, home, place, and life.
Here and (T)Here places and people that are far apart joined by fragile threads of communication, whether actual threads or virtual messages. Does it take a special type of person to let go of preconceptions and send these fragile messages and greeting? Or perhaps it is just a matter of where we are at the moment – Here or There. I invite you to take a look at some of these connections seen in the post cards presented in our gallery highlighting Here and (T)Here.
Dorothy Clews emigrated from the UK, and has lived in outback Queensland, Australia for the last 30 years, and has recently moved to the Wet Tropics in Far North Queensland . Graduating from SWIT, Warnamboool in 1997, she has continued to push the boundaries of tapestry; exploring structure; its textile nature, and the characteristics that endow her tapestries with qualities of fragility, reflecting the land she inhabits.