Atrophy 1, 2 & 3 (rust details from ANL Wahroonga) was created as Clare steamed from Australia to China on the ANL Wahroonga container ship.
The ANL Wahroonga was an ecosystem of care where ship and crew kept each other from what the other could not survive. For the crew, this meant that the vessel kept them safe from the immensity of the sea while for the ship; this was protection from the impact of seawater. As Clare walked around the decks of the ship, she found endless evidence of this relationship. Tiny rectangles of grey, similar dimensions to the embroidery, covering a section where a crew member had angle-grinded back the rust and repainted it. At 16 years old the ANL Wahroonga was patch-worked in layers of these rectangles, both an indication of how relentless seawater can be, but also of the years of labour invested in the ship by the crew to keep it mobile.
Constructed using 21 different cotton colours, 47,520 stitches the three cross-stitches took around 500 hours of work, which Clare did both on board the ship and back in her studio in Melbourne. Consequently, in the time the work took to be created, the ANL Wahroonga had boomeranged back and forth between Australia and China three times, the crew toiling over the atrophy of the vessel the whole time. In labouring over a section of rust for so long, and with such attention to detail, the cross-stitches paid tribute to the symbiotic relationship between man, machine, time and the elements – a creation of decay that in its formation froze the atrophy of a small section of the ship indefinitely.
Atrophy 1, 2 & 3 was exhibited as part of The Place Between at the Mission to Seafarers, Melbourne, 2018.
Atrophy 1 (rust detail from ANL Wahroonga).
Atrophy 2 (rust detail from ANL Wahroonga).
Atrophy 3 (rust detail from ANL Wahroonga).
You Are Here
In 2017 Clare used Google street view to explore the layers, textures and tones of Havana. The panoramic photographs that she found were filled with tiny glitches – faces morphed into cobblestones, dogs congealed with humans and the shadow of the photographer cutting across façades. These glitches represented the edge of the internet, a moment unmapped where anything was possible. Pixel-by-pixel Clare converted the glitches into pocket-sized cross-stitches before travelling to Havana where she completed the embroidery on the original site. In the photographs of her site-specific stitching her body now blocks the information that the glitches once covered - a fragment of the city remains unmapped, a place where anything is possible.
By Clare McCracken with Andrew Ferris, 2017-19. Exhibited as part of Intercambio, curated by Damien Smith for the Bienal de la Habana 2019.
Remembering the Whitebuilding
As Cambodia rapidly urbanises it is the urban poor that are forcibly removed from their homes to make way for shiny new apartment towers they cannot afford. In 2014 during a residency at the White Building, a medium-density slum in central Phnom Penh, Clare stitched pocket-sized cross-stitches of the ornate bricks of the building and its 1950s wrought iron window grills over the top of cross-stitch patterns of Angkor Wat. She gifted these tiny works to the residents she met - something they could take with them as a reminder of their community when it was demolished. In 2017, as the Cambodian government demolished the building, Clare created another series of the works: in memory of a community that had now been dispersed and destroyed.
By Clare McCracken 2017. This work resides in the Wangaratta Art Gallery permanent collection and numerous private collections across Australia and South East Asia.
Thread of a Conversation
Over 12-months Clare spoke to six international artists she had never met in China and Germany. As they talked, the artists drew each other’s portrait using the blind contour drawing technique. The drawings and conversations were then turned into a series of finished artworks that the artists shared with each other when they met in person six-months later in Shanghai. Clare’s response used the international language of cross-stitch to explore how women for centuries have used the medium of textiles to maintain and develop relationships across distance. By painstakingly stitching the portraits - pixel by pixel - she demonstrated how the act of making can forge a type of intimacy, which is difficult to foster over mobile technologies, particularly when there is a language divide.
Thread of a Conversation was exhibited as part of SkypeLab curated by Maggie McCormick, Henning Eichinger and Yong Lei in 2015 at the Chinese Consulate, Shanghai and in 2016 at the Städtische Galerie, Reutlingen. Thread of a Conversation: Javiera Advis and Yuemin Huang where exhibited in 2017 as part of the Wangaratta Art Gallery Textile Award Exhibition. Thread of a Conversation: Yuemin Huang resides in the Wangaratta Art Gallery permanent collection.
Stitching Javiera Advis
My Place, Your Place, Our Place
Public seating is designed so it can only be occupied for a short periods of time. The My Place, Your Place, Our Place cushion project encouraged the residents of Dandenong to claim their public space, and to sit for as long as they wanted. 300 hand-crafted Cushions were scattered throughout the square, and handed out to visitors over the six-hour period of the Civic Centre launch, ensuring that they could sit and enjoy the free public events at the Square, for as long as they wanted, in comfort.
By Clare McCracken, 2014. Commissioned by City of Greater Dandenong’s. Produced by Nadja Kostich.
Clare McCracken acknowledge the Woi Wurrung and Boon Wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nations on whose unceded lands she lives and works. She respectfully acknowledge their Ancestors and Elders, past and present.