'I believe these traces tell stories. Of attempting, failing and trying again. about taking risk and having a make-do-and-mend attitude' Henrike Gootjes

Soft Borders of Northern Ireland

 

I came to Northern Ireland as Interdiciplinary Master Student Artist Educator for a month.To listen, think, learn, reflect, make, be and do in this place.
I decided to not be shy, to trust, to be generous, to dedicate fully, to listen deeply.
I asked people to help me understand this place. I met women and man who had lived and worked in this city, this county, this island. People who had thought and felt this place. To understand the struggle, the dynamics, the trauma, the hope, their envisioned future. 


I started to connect. Following the tradition of textile making of this city I made the soft borders of Northern Ireland. Soft borders and hard borders. Walls and barbed-wire and neighbours being enemies. And enemies being lovers. Real Imagination. Both Austerity and nature in abundance.

I leave many traces of the working process. The cutting, the use of the broken sewing machine. Skipping stitches, having to start over. I believe these traces tell stories. Of attempting, failing and trying again. Of working with what you have. About taking risks and have a make-do and mend attitude. Using the roughness and using the beauty, the prettiness of beads and golden treads. Of shimmer. To seduce, to be playful, to wrestle and change. To be here in the in-between. 

 

 

Soft borders of Northern Ireland

I came to Northern Ireland.
Me. Master Student Artist Educator.
For a month.
To listen, think, learn, reflect, make, be and do in this place.
I decided to not be shy, to trust, to be generous, to dedicate fully, to listen deeply.
I asked people to help me understand this place. I met women and man who had lived and worked in this city, this county, this island. People who had thought and felt this place. To understand the struggle, the dynamics, the trauma, the hope, their envisioned future. 


I started to connect. There is a rich history of textile industries fueling the economic life of this city by woman for 3 decades. A Blue dream. There are woman and man with stories, and jeans and shirts. There is politics and policies and corruptness. There is truth and untruth.

Following the tradition of textile making of this city I made the soft borders of Northern Ireland. Soft borders and hard borders. Walls and barbed-wire and neighbors being enemies. And enemies being lovers. Real Imagination. Both Austerity and nature in abundance. In my work I leave many traces of the working process. The cutting, the use of the broken sewing machine. Skipping stitches, having to start over. I believe these traces tell stories. Of attempting, failing and trying again. Of working with what you have. About taking risks and have a make-do and mend attitude. Using the roughness and using the beauty, the prettiness of beads and golden treads. Of shimmer. To seduce, to be playful, to wrestle and change. To be here in the in-between. 

 

In this space of soft borders we can gather and explore new narratives. Let us speak about how we have borders ourselves. Hard ones. How we describe our identity, that what gives us security, that what gives us sense of safety. It brings shelter but it also keeps out. Hurts others. Excludes. And then there are the soft borders. Invisible and effortless to cross. They are bushes, trees, rivers and the great majestic sea. 

Let us listen, think, learn, reflect, make, be, do and take this troubled beauty forward... 

© 2019 by Henrike Gootjes