Occasionally, we just like to show you a body of work from an artist we admire. Today, it's literally body parts we are talking about and the embroidered and stitched works of Sally Hewett.
My practice centres around ideas of beauty and ugliness and the conventions which determine our definition of each. I am interested in how we see things and how we interpret what we see: does my particular way of representing bodies, using fabrics, stitching and embroidery, affect how the content of the work is seen? To some extent I see my work as an investigation of the divide between craft and art.
I love bodies. And it is not the conventionally beautiful bodies that take my eye, it is bodies which show their history, that have been altered by their experiences, that are decorated with bruises, scars, spots, stretch marks, freckles, pigmentation, veins. Bodies that have the marks of life on them. But also bodies which have been deliberately altered and decorated - by man rather than by life – scarification, tattoos, plastic surgery, fillers, etc. Are some characteristics of bodies inherently beautiful, or ugly, or disgusting? Or because we see everything through the veil of culture, fashion and convention is it almost impossible for us to see bodies objectively?
I am currently making a series of medical/surgical pieces, showing bodies that have been altered by disease or surgery. My granny (an upholsterer and seamstress of great skill) had her breast removed as a result of cancer and was hugely grateful to the surgeon for saving her life. But she was almost equally appreciative of what a beautiful stitching job he had done. She was very proud of her scar. —Sally Hewett