How does the cloth tell the tale?
Thread and the resistant surface.
The space that I am drawn to work with belongs to a liminal in-between world, between the everyday of cloth that polishes, cleans, covers and toils and the world of memories inhabited by photography, pixels and printed paper. Here I create installations, photographs and prints working with cloth, light and shadow, pencil, paper and thread.
My work is inspired by a love of beauty in battered and worn cloth. The worn imperfection of the used and the hand-me-down white cloth and a bit of blue thread left to clutch onto tightly, become a reminder of home at the southern tip of Africa.
This work examines the worn cloth of the past and present that connects across decades to closely bound, knotted and gnarled migrated bundles, this has become a work of unravelling.
I currently unravel a bundle containing two cloths one white and one blue. Both share colonial and postcolonial histories alike but different. I unpick through a close looking, shifting focus through the process of drawing and stitching the tactile details.
Stitch by stitch through a familiar encounter with cloth, word and paper the possibilities unravel. I tug to pull thread slowly through the resistant, heavy and weighted surfaces. Tearing and puncturing, this resistance work uncovers the labour of different hands.
What thoughts, what lives, what worlds live in such fine stitches and marks that decorate the puckered and dyed surfaces?
How does the cloth tell the tale?
Spatially and materially aware, working at room scale, I transform and craft thread, paper and cloth into textile installations. The light sensitive and opaque qualities of particular materials are integral to the work as are the transitory qualities of cyanotype and indigo dye.
In this work, I translate the unpicked echo’s and shadows revealed through research.
The memories of sunlight washed white cloth mingle with prickly flora and the feel of soil so hot feet burn, this textually complexity I develop into prints.
My work is not about stitching perfection but designed to be evocative and arrest attention. Experimentally led, my stitch-making is a unique embroidery form that fits in-between the stitch that is aiming to be pretty and that which is raw. My stitch aims to be subtle and finely honed, resistant when required, moving off the surface dimensionally to pull the rough edges into focus.
Always striving to connect and cross boundaries between disciplines and dislocation, my decisions are made to evolve and express the stories carried in cloth.
Pop-up Exhibition, East Street, Farnham
Continuum 2, Group Exhibition, London Design Festival, London
Eleven, Group Exhibition, The Strand Gallery, London
Postgraduate Exhibition, UCA, Farnham
Makers at Menier, Group Exhibition, London Design Festival, London
Contemporary Narratives, Crafts Study Centre (CSC) and UCA, Farnham
Artist Demonstration Day, Watts Gallery, Compton
Feb, Apr 2017
Ethel Mairet Response, Ditchling Museum, Ditchling
Craven, M. (2019) Reflecting a Diaspora: In-between Whitework and Indigo.
In: Textile, Cloth and Culture. Volume 17, 2019 – Issue 4: Textile and Place.
London, Taylor & Francis.
Craven, M. (2016) Skirt Cloth.
In: Contemporary Narratives, School of Crafts and Design project 2015-2016 [Catalogue].
Farnham: Crafts Study Centre and University for the Creative Arts.
In-between Whitework and Indigo Resist Cloth.
Fashioning Inclusivity 2019 Symposium: Textiles and Materials strand,
University of the Arts, London
Reflecting Cultural Dislocation: In-between Whitework and Indigo Resist.
Postcolonialism, Postcommunism and Postmodernism, 2nd International
Interdisciplinary Conference. Gdansk, Poland
The artist printed-form: a craft in-between letterforms, exhibition, July 2018 audience and meaning.
Craft and Text conference: Crafts Study Centre and International Textile
Research Centre, UCA, Farnham
Reflecting a Diaspora: In-Between Whitework and Indigo Resist.
Textile and Place Conference: Politics of Migration, Displacement strand.
Manchester School of Art and the Whitworth Gallery, Manchester
The Absent Presences – In-Between Whitework and Indigo Resist
Nordic Summer University: Summer Symposium Absences and Silences
Circle 7 Artistic Research | Performing Heterotopia. Roosta, Estonia
In-Between Whitework and Indigo Resist.
IAFOR, International Conference on Global Studies (GLOBAL2018),
Fearful Futures strand. Barcelona, Spain
Mona is part-time practice-based PhD candidate at the University for the Creative Arts (UCA), Farnham. Working within an art-textile framework, with cloth, postcolonial critique and intersectional considerations her practice crosses media boundaries between the disciplines of digital technology, photography, print and textile media and methods. Mona physically works in ‘in-between’ space to reframe research.
Her practice includes facilitating research-led creative response in the arts, museums and education sector. Mona offers a broad art and design skills-base with a resourceful and thorough approach to tasks. This also draws from a substantive career as a design-director and creative arts teacher.
2015 – 2017
MA Textiles, Post-Graduate School of Crafts and Design (Distinction)
University for the Creative Arts
Post-Graduate Higher Education Diploma, Rhodes University, South Africa
Bachelor of Fine Arts, Rhodes University, South Africa
Fine Art Studies, Port Elizabeth Technikon, South Africa