Recycled sari silk ribbon bundles from women cooperatives in India.

I am fascinated by the idea of giving a new lease of life to discarded materials. My technique is a twist on the traditional pezzotto (from the Italian pezza, i. e. rag), used in the rural communities of the mountains of Northern Italy to recycle old fabric into rugs. I have come up with a way of rolling strips of textile into long, twirling irregular coils, inspired by the twisting and turning of living things such as tree roots, branches, algae, spider webs and other wonderful tangles of the natural world.

I strongly believe in the ethics of recycling and repurposing. In my works I combine humble materials such as, for instance, ripped nylon stockings, silk waste from the industrial production of saris in India and everyday household items like kitchen foil with more precious materials, such as pearls and silver. I like the idea of turning discarded materials into objects of beauty. I believe the artistic process is all about transmutation and sublimation. It's like the magnum opus of ancient alchemists, the search for that elusive magic formula by which it was believed a base metal could be transformed into a noble one, the prized alchemical gold from which the elixir of life was distilled.

My visual imagery reflects my interest in the natural world and my art historical background. The palette is vibrant, intense and rich, and the designs are intricate and sculptural, inspired by organic forms, textures and colours. I'm also fascinated by the labyrinthine coils of medieval art, by those enigmatic forests of parchment, ivory, glass and stone, teeming with fantastic creatures struggling to free themselves from the tangles of overflowing vegetation. In my imagination those whimsical, phantasmagorical worlds become an allegory of life itself, a symbol of the eternal conflict between the trappings of materiality and the longing for transcendence.



Copyright: Francesca Cecchini 2014