New Article: A Stitch in Time: H.D.’s Craft Modernism as Transhistoric Repair

Current Research:  In her poem “Patchwork,” Eavan Boland writes:

My sumptuous
trash bag of colors—
Laura Ashley cottons—
waits to be cut
and stitched and patched

but there’s a mechanical feel
about the handle
of my secondhand sewing machine,
with its flowers
and Singer painted orange on it.
And its iron wheel.

My back is to the dark.
Somewhere out there
are stars and bits of stars
and little bits of bits.
And swiftness and brightness and drift.

But is it craft or art?

The line between craft and art is often a blurry one, exemplifying the tension–as Boland’s poem demonstrates–between technology and the hand, history and memory, and beauty and labor.  My research examines how modern and contemporary authors deploy art-making as a form of critique that surpasses our usual frames of historical, gendered, and national reference.  I’m interested in shaping an interarts critical method that pays sustained attention to the mediums and processes of making that underpin these critiques.  As such, I recast the critical connection between aesthetic concerns and feminist, postcolonial, and human rights issues by looking at not only what kinds of visual and material artifacts authors respond to but also the ways in which these artifacts are made, presented, circulated, and preserved.  I work primarily on British and Irish writers with an additional interest in diasporic and Caribbean authors from the early 20th century to the present.

Digital Scholarship:  “’Making Splendid Things’: The Potter’s Wheel Online Archive” is a digital archive collection focused on the lives and works of the Potters, a women’s art collective that created a handmade, multimedia magazine.  This group of early-20th century women writers, artists, and designers lived and worked in St. Louis, Missouri.  This site aims to do three things: 1) preserve digital copies of fragile manuscripts, 2) facilitate the interdisciplinary study of women’s art, literature, and scholarship, and 3) provide a teaching resource for scholars and students of literature, cultural studies, art history, and beyond.


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