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Threadstories

Updated: Apr 30, 2020



Artist 223

Threadstories Masks Textile Art

Threadstories is an Irish visual artist who produces wearable art objects.

By creating a crotched balaclava base, the artist uses a variety of techniques to produce various malleable and draped textile masks which obscure and transform the wearer. Once the masks are activated by the wearer they are either photographed or captured on film and shared primarily via instagram. The documentation of the masks comment on privacy and manipulated imagery in the age of social media.


She starts each mask with a crocheted balaclava. This began in 2015 when the artist was making a mask to wear to a festival. In her own words, “I stumbled on the combination of techniques while trying to figure out how to make the idea I had in mind. First I made a balaclava which I had never done before, that balaclava then acted as a ground or a surface on which I began to build form and sculpt by adding yarns. This method of building a malleable form struck me as having endless potential and there began the compulsion. “


She speaks of her experience in slipping into a state of paralysis through analysis for 10 years after studying Fine Art and had already mourned the loss of being an artist. She continues, “With hindsight I see that the emphasis placed on idea over object within a Fine Art degree was in conflict with a stronger educational influence in my life, my childhood. I grew up surrounded by gifted makers, I realised that I was better suited to working with materials and felt more comfortable working ideas out in the making. It took me a long time to convince myself that this too is a valid way to make art, I started to suit myself in the studio.”

Threadstories views her masks as never finished but in a state of flux. When asked about where Threadstories ideas comes from they responded, “I don’t have any one line of enquiry or source of inspiration. Everything from traditional basket making to Francis Bacons portraits to the sight of someone with really crooked teeth or an episode of Blue Planet might inspire a mask. Thematically I am questioning how the erosion of personal privacy online effects how we view and portray ourselves. I am constructing facades — masks in response to these questions. We are all so over exposed and to what end? Privacy is precious.”


In the response to why Instagram is the key platform for their work Threadstories explains, “As the work has developed, Instagram with its interplay of the personal and the artificial has become an interesting platform to share the kind of art I make. The work is questioning how the erosion of personal privacy in the digital age shapes how we view and portray ourselves online. The masks deny the viewer the full story of who the sitter is, echoing the curated or false personas we portray and view online daily.

Most of the time we know what we see on social media is untrue or falsified but we still buy into it on some level, for example that can be applied to someone’s physical appearance, lifestyle or even just photos of food. My masks are photographed against a sanitised white square, I know there is often chaos, mess and noise just beyond the margins of that photograph in reality, the messiness of life doesn’t make the edit for social media. Along with the online curated life comes the constant grooming to overshare, I believe personal privacy is precious and it is fast becoming a thing of the past. The hashtag I use “anticeleb’’ encapsulates some of this for me, the striving for exposure or fame for fames sake. “

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