JGM Gallery https://www.jgmgallery.com/exhibitions/forthcoming/

9th Nov – 23Jan 2023

The idea for Creature Comforts initially came about after a conversation between myself and Jennifer Guerrini Maraldi, the Director of JGM Gallery. We were discussing quilts; handmade, traditional, enchanting. Their allure was not only their tessellating, colourful designs but, on a more basic level, the amount of intricate, tender care that was required in their construction. I remembered seeing a show of Gee’s Bend quilts and being blown away by their complexity, but also by the way the artists re-used everyday textiles like denim trousers and imbued them with immense value.


As we reminisced about these quilts, Jennifer and I decided that a textile show would be a great way of showcasing remarkable talent, whilst also examining the medium’s complex context in relation to history, gender and notions of value. Intrinsically, I think textiles are comforting. They are soft, and we usually wrap ourselves in them, or sit on them. They have been fundamental to human life since the beginning of civilisation; they furnish our dwellings and they keep us warm and comfortable. And yet these tenderly woven, embroidered, hand-knitted surfaces have been used to showcase a myriad of apocalyptic events. The Bayeux Tapestry details the battle of Hastings in 1066. The Unicorn Tapestries, quietly resting in the Met Cloisters, presents us with a disturbing and perplexing hunt for a mythological beast. The Apocalypse Tapestries in Angers, with its delicate fibres contorted into biblical scenes.  The violence of these masterpieces never ceases to shock me.


Creature Comforts explores these multifaceted aspects of textiles; of comfort, chaos and conflict.

From one side, we have comfort; immensely tender quilts, hand stitched and stuffed with hay, and hanging tufted sculptures of blissful pastels. We see embroidered images of the everyday and woven stools, hand spun and hand-dyed. They are lovingly made and reinvigorate local craft traditions.


We have chaos: strange, plushie dog-like creatures clambering out of the pillar and embroidered Korean “Dokkaebi” spirits breathing life into old gloves and socks.  On the walls, there are cross-stitched  abstractions and tufted rugs of mystifying, otherworldly scenes.


And lastly, conflict, appearing in the woven and knitted tapestries, harbingers of something sinister. Whether it is a mysterious threat, an internal, mental conflict or the suffocating feeling of impending environmental disaster, the soft appeal of the tapestry pulls one into its madness. The exhibition traverses the endless playful possibilities of the medium and the ways in which its 14 artists embrace and play with its expectations.


– Written by Karolina Dworska (Curator of Creature Comforts)