Single denim to double denim – the gathering of social threads after Lockdown

Detail from Single Denim – collagraph print 2020, Andy Brooke

Having lived a strange, slightly edgy existence for several months, we are starting to know and live the new normal. From separate cells of one or two, moving at a distance from other social cells in our immediate orbit, we are beginning to take more chances and get closer, with or without masks. Distances are being stretched and pulled according to need and desire, tentative contacts are being made.

Denim is made to be strong and protective, but without the stitching edges get frayed and strengths of weave are pulled apart. We don’t exist well without the social stitching which makes possible the healthy warp and weft of life.

The digital world has its own strengths and has been invaluable in keeping mental connections alive (and working tasks possible) but we need more than this to be fully human. Physicality is part of the social world we crave, while the knowledge of its danger right now is a new factor to be constantly dealt with.

Double Denim – collagraph print 2020, Andy Brooke

These two prints are the starting point for a commission by The Stove Network, Dumfries, as part of “Elsewhere” – a project which will have a physical outcome in the town centre as a stained glass panel celebrating the return of folk to the town.

Double Denim is an image made from strips of denin woven into the warp and weft of denim – it represents the strength of fibres woven together into a protective mesh of interwoven strands. These could be the tight weave of a face mask or the looser weave of people moving across and around each other in a courageous march to a joint future…

I’ll be posting more images as the work progresses over the coming weeks.

Friendship, 1963, incised gold leaf and gesso on canvas – Agnes Martin (MOMA)

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