WONDER WOMAN // Eddy Carroll, Textile Artist.
I am enamored with Eddy Carroll. She has lived everywhere; Istanbul, Laos, Guatamala, India and on the Thai-Burma border are just the places gleaned from our forty minute conversation. Eddy is fascinated with the art of communication, with the stories we tell through the clothes we wear and the objects we create.
Eddy’s textile work is exquisite, each piece telling a vivid and complex narrative. At Radical Yes! we believe that the stories behind our collections are just as significant as the product itself. Thus it’s a little slice of serendipity that Eddy Carroll will be exhibiting her intricately sequined silhouette of Radical Yes! founder Kerryn Moscicki, in store all through August for the 2016 Craft Cubed Festival.
I had the total pleasure of sitting down with Eddy to talk travel, philosophy and examining the shadow self.
Article & Interview by Alex Birch.
Tell us your story. You’ve travelled the world extensively, living and working in the most intrepid circumstances. How has this informed your creative process?
I didn’t go straight to Uni. I went travelling. I lived in Crete and read Homers Odyssey and then I discovered Sappho and discovered feminist philosophers, it was very autodidactic.
I was working in Laos and one night I woke up. I’d had this reoccurring dream of not being able to get into a school locker and I just knew that I had to go to art school. I was really into contemporary arts but there was a coldness to the contemporary art scene. Through studying drawing I found the solid line and through the solid line, the line of enquiry came to me.
Living in Guatamala I discovered the language of embroidery patterns; I was completely fascinated and I just wanted in on it, I wanted to be able to communicate in that way. I love that in those places, in Laos, in Guatamala, in India, you don’t have to go to all the museums to understand the culture. There was a way of communicating at a real, honest level that was completely heart opening. I thought, if I can chuck out all the stuff in my head that says you’re not good enough and you’re not worth it and why are you doing this; If I can just make from that place where I have these conversations, if I can make art that represents that, great! It doesn’t mean that I always can but that’s what I’m trying to figure out, that emotional resonance.
When I was a teenager I saw this ballet called the protecting veil and it profoundly moved me. When I’m talking to somebody I don’t want there to be any veils between us, I’m really interested in that as a psychological metaphor.
I did a project where I went from Central China to Shanghai following floating migration. I went on the trains and I made a sleeping bag out of maps of China and got people to sleep in it on the train. There’s an incredible strength to fragility, that is my philosophy.
Textiles and sewing; it’s seen as dainty. Feminist comedians joke about it all the time, Like what am I going to do? Sit down and cross-stitch? Embroider? But cultures are kept alive; women’s expression is totally platformed with garments. [Archetypically] we’re seen as the weaker sex, yet the strength is what I want to resonate; that there’s strength in fragility.
You work from the studio at your home. How would you describe the space?
It’s my studio but it’s totally open too. It’s just got stuff left over from all the other jewelers and ceramicists that lived there beforehand. I’ve got my meager amount of furniture and everything else is just kind of jumbly. And I love it, like I really love it.
The whole thing about my practice is that it’s a nomadic practice. I wanted to be able to move with my practice and this is the medium that I can fold up and move with. It’s about textile, it’s about language, it’s about traditional women’s roles, it’s about quietness, it’s about meditation, it’s about repetition.
There’s this aesthetic made popular by social media and maybe that’s how those people’s studios really are but it’s not how mine is, you know? It’s in flux all the time and I’m working on so many different things so there’s all these different components to it; there’s the stuff that I inherit that I have to sort out and there’s my materials and then there’s my projects and there’s this shape shifting of the space so it never looks kind of like, neat.
Where did you first discover your relationship with sequins?
With my Nana! My Nana was a ballroom dancer and when I was in high school I took a bag of sequins and beads and sat in the car [to Adelaide] and beaded the whole way, I really surprised myself with the outcome. Both my grandmothers had costumes from the 1920s and we just grew up in them. There’s never one perspective with them, they just reflect light and they are so über feminine.
The more that I look at the history of embellishment the more I realize that it’s about a woman’s worth. Whether it’s financial worth or emotional worth, we, as women are worth something; when we’re sold into weddings, when we are given away. We’re expensive to have, still in certain countries we’re expensive commodities to keep. And yet, look at her, she’s all shiny and shimmery, my practice is really about looking at the worth of this being.
You’ve created a sequined silhouette of our very own Radical Yes! founder, Kerryn Moscicki. What is this piece about?
So I knew that I wanted to make a piece and what I thought was really amazing about Kerryn, a part from the fact that she’s really intelligent, is that she has this brand that she’s really passionate about. She’s got this capitalist-economist way about her yet she is completely underpinned by a yoga practice and a very compassionate enquiry. She’s really genuine and really cheeky.
I looked at the idea of the shadow self. The part of us that we don’t necessarily want to examine. It’s not necessarily an evil, it’s just the other. I also thought about women in architecture and muses and the body and what we leave behind.
I was thinking of doing nine muses and she’s the second one. It’s about the backstory to the object; the object being the shoes, the artwork, the thing that is crafted. This piece is the backstory to Kerryn. The yogi, meditative, thoughtful person that is strong. I’ve given her three legs. The three legs developed and I thought that’s really interesting, it’s kind of Shiva-ry.
What does being radical mean to you?
I think being radical is going out beyond what you think your limits are. I find that when I surprise myself and go out beyond my limitation’s, that’s when I find the most freedom. There’s a radical step that you need to take to find that freedom.
“You, sent out beyond your recall, Go to the limits of your longing”- R. Rilke
Photography by Breeana Dunbar