Archana Pathak is exhibiting at the Selvedge Fair on Saturday 2 December
Crafts Council Maker of the Week, Archana Pathak, talks to us about getting into making, what inspires her and her favourite part of the making process.
Who or what got you into making?
I always loved being hands-on with my work and wanted to be a maker, ever since I started my journey around 14 years back in India. It all fell in place when I went to study at Chelsea College of Arts and Design, for an MA in Sustainable Textile Design.
I used this time to focus my practice and got an opportunity to be more inward-looking. I started to make work that was not commercially driven, and focussed on work that is connected more closely to my own ideas and self.
I think this freedom to make, focus on sustainable textile design and most importantly the connection of my work to myself is what led me towards being a maker and an artist.
Could you please tell us a bit about your work?
My work is about exploring the self and the interplay between memory, place and identity.
I collect and work with found memory artefacts such as old photographs, postcards, letters, diaries and maps. Through these, I explore the interplay between memory, place and identity. Often these artefacts are old maps that evoke the evolving nature of boundaries – both physical as well as psychological. Along with these constantly evolving boundaries, are the identities that are being re-shaped. I use few tools and stitch to try and capture a sense of belonging that often requires listening and nurturing.
What are your inspirations?
I get my inspiration from a wide variety of places and people. I am hugely inspired by artists Agnes Martin and Anthony Gormley - their work as well as their being, are an inspiration for me. Gandhi and his life has always been an inspiration. I also draw inspiration from philosophy, theosophy and poetry, for example, Rilke's poetry. Though the most important inspiration for me is silence and listening, I make time for this and it's now a very integral part of my creative process.
What is your favourite part of the making process?
I enjoy the entire process of making and working with my hands. However, I enjoy witnessing the way the work leads and guides itself and my thought process. For me that is the most exciting and enriching part.
I also like looking for old discarded objects like photographs, letters and maps which are often the starting point of my work. I am not a collector and so it is very important to find something which really appeals to me and that I can use it in my work at some point. Researching and reading for my work is another aspect of my work which I really enjoy and make time for.
What are you working on right now?
I am working on my new pieces of maps which are based on old found map of India as well as world maps. I am further exploring identity and borders through these. I am putting together a body of work for the Transformation 10: Contemporary works in Found Material exhibition in the US, which is scheduled next year in summer.