Textile Art and Activism?

By Naomi Wright, Artistic Associate, Significant Seams & Art & Energy

As freelancers, artists often wear a number of hats, different shapes and sizes to fit the partner organisations and audiences, project of the moment, their evolving practice.

Image from Framlingham’s Histories – two hats fro times gone by!

Artists often research and communicate feelings about a cause, they sometimes become more activist in their creative endeavours.  Many artists hope that their work will change a heart, or make people think differently, aiming for environmental or social change.   

One of our artist associates, Naomi Wright, is in the Art and Energy collective, and working on a project call Moths To A Flame.  This project is seeking to raise our understanding of, and take action for, our energy systems, the natural world and the Climate Emergency.  It is a project with positive and optimistic endeavour, people can join together and express their love of the planet and use energy systems differently.

Cocooning 2020 – Oak Eggar Moth has been her commission with Significant Seams.  Her textile cyanotype moths and cocoon reflect the lockdown experience.  They literally capture energy from the sun, and translate that into a life cycle, thoughts on emergence, reforming anew.

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Oak Eggar and Human Cocoons, Commissioned by Significant Seams, with Support from Arts Council Englamd, by Naomi Wright 2020

Naomi says ‘I noticed my nephew curled up in his quilt, an adult teenager, waiting for change within and outside his cocoon.  This, and our experience with Covid19, led me to consider cocooning, and the soup that moth larvae become to emerge as a the winged adult creature.

I am hoping that I have shown the human and moth relationship, the flow of energy through that relationship, the cyclical world in which we live.  I like working collaboratively and experientially and so the commission ended being the work of three people together.

Moths have their beauty and role in our ecosystem as secret night-time pollinators. Their numbers have reduced in numbers by 80% since the 1930s.  Their attraction to light, has partly led to their downfall.  Humans are also drawn to light, we love what it gives us, and we are being destroyed by what it does to the planet.’

Oak Eggar Moth
Some of Naomi’s cyanotype prints

Naomi, along with her Art and Energy colleagues and hundreds of other people are creating a mass participation art installation to take up to Glasgow for COP26 (the United Nations conference on the climate emergency) in November 2021.

‘The visual art of thousands of moths, with a soundscape of whispers of hope for the future, will show how, as a big community, our whisper can become a roar for change.’

Art and Energy have a Crowdfunder that is aiming to fund Moths To A Flame creative climate action activities for a wide range of community groups and children at schools. Have a look and see how positive and optimistic activism could grow from this.

Art and Energy also have a survey out, to help them decide on any changes they need to make on their journey forward with the Moths To A Flame project.  https://forms.gle/rUbACkcv9rbdr7BN7

‘I hope that Significant Seams followers and supporters might be interested in supporting this project by visiting the Art and Energy survey and Crowdfunder.  Many of Significant Seams participants are sewing the seams of community, their own activism to bring about the social change that they wish for.’


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