Sharing stories is an essential part of being human. In the tradition of visual storytelling through textile art, Kathryn Ruppert-Dazai is currently producing a series of works on maternity and motherhood illustrating stories that are often not given their voice in contemporary art.
Ruppert-Dazai is a storyteller transforming a format traditionally reserved for painting. She uses a toy knitting machine and a computerized knitting machine to create large-scale “knitted canvases” together with hand crocheted, often recycled fibres to relay these narratives. She works in an explorative manner, as such, she is constantly investigating non-conventional materials to incorporate into her work such as: hand-woven grocery store cardboard boxes, shredded vintage cocktail dresses, scented Parisian toilet paper, fur, and 23- carat gold. For Ruppert-Dazai, materials evoke emotions and natural yarns provide something more honest, provoking an almost bodily response. With the tactile nature of textiles she is able to explore more difficult subject matter while still inviting the viewer into the work.
Thus far, her body of work has been predominantly autobiographical, and organized around specific geographical locations. The 2006 work entitled, The Mother, depicts a black-headed faceless rabbit feeding a fanged tiger. Milk is pouring from a cashmere breast onto the ground but also into the tiger’s mouth in an attempt to illustrate the story of a mother breastfeeding her child. The work was constructed from the stories told to the artist from other mothers experiences before she had her own children and her own experiences with breastfeeding.