Martha McDonald

Martha McDonald‘s performance at Craft Victoria, Monday 8 March 2011. This video  shows Martha extra ordinary Weeping dress – very moving.

DEATH BE KIND martha mcdonald

Martha McDonald, Untitled (Portrait) Optical Type C print, 11 x 14 in 2010

The Further the Distance, the Tighter the Knot

A performance installation by Martha McDonald 31 October – 8 November 2009

photography: Christian Capurro

American performance artist Martha McDonald brings her unique blend of folk song, historic narrative, personal confessional and obsessive hand crafts to Linden – Centre for Contemporary Arts. In seven exclusive performances McDonald will fill Linden’s exhibition spaces with an excess of hand knitted memento mori, riffing off the domestic crafts Victorian women made while sequestered in their homes, bound by the elaborate rituals of 19th century mourning culture.She will guide intimate groups of audience members on a personal journey through her installation: singing Old Time American folk laments about lost loves and longing for home; knitting and unravelling love tokens for the audience; and musing on the slippery nature of memory and her own longing and nostalgia for home as a recent immigrant to Australia. Taken from Linden Centre for Contemporary Arts website

And here is the video of part of Martha’s performance.

“During the knitting lessons, I passed on purls of wisdom, using knitting as a metaphor for accepting your life, mistakes and all, while reflecting on how I used knitting to cope with the recent death of my mother, my first knitting teacher.”
“I taught myself to knit in order to make this piece and I became obsessed in the process. I knit dozens of hats and scarves. I even knit my husband a surfboard bag. That bag was the basis of the knitting teacher’s dress. I have a hard time following patterns so I knit instinctively, making it up as I go along. I wanted to make the kind of dress that an obsessed knitting teacher would wear—one that screamed “handmade.” Purldrop knitwear designer Erin Weckerly crocheted Penelope’s coat. A crew of knitting friends helped knit the backdrops on size 50 needles.”

photos: J. J. Tiziou

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