Textiles, whether in the form of clothing or household items, are present in the lives of humans from the time we are born until we die. We develop intimate memories with these textiles and use them to comfort ourselves in times of despair. The use of textiles and patterns in my work originates from my relationship with my grandmother. As a quilter, she taught me the importance of working with my hands at a young age. Many of the patterns to which I’m drawn are reminiscent of fabrics she used in her own work and had within her home.
Some of my happiest childhood memories are of my grandmother’s house, which was filled with objects she had made by hand: colorful blankets, curtains, dolls with elaborate clothing, and stuffed animals. When she died, her quilts and fabric remnants were left to me. The floral, chintz, paisley, and other patterned fabrics have become some of my most valued possessions.
My relationship with fabric and my overwhelming desire to re-experience that precious time I had at her house influence my research about how objects evoke nostalgic memories and experiences. Colors, patterns, tactile sensations, or the scent that fabric retains can vividly revive memories. The patterns that I digitally design and incorporate into my work are inspired by patterns that remind me of my grandmother and her house.
I am drawn to the cold, hard permanence of metal in contrast with the fragility and soft, warmth of fabric. The processes I use are equally important as my materials; the repetitive nature of sewing, embroidery, beading, drilling, and piercing soothe me and echo my intent to share that comfort with the viewers.

Alison L. Bailey