red thread

2006 - 2017

About the project

series, ongoing

textile prints 21cm x 14 cm
cotton | digital transfer print | thread

‘placental’ labyrinth
digital drawing

‘capturing the wind’ labyrinth
digital drawing

‘red thread’ collaborative performance
photographic documentation | cafe reason butoh dance | oxford improvisers

‘An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet regardless of time, place or circumstance. The thread may knot, stretch or tangle, but it will never break.’

(Chinese proverb)

In Chinese tradition it is believed that the unborn child is connected to everyone who will be important in his or her life by an invisible red thread.

There are other versions of the legend in which a man and woman who are destined to be together are connected through a red thread tied to their ankles. This also appears in Japanese traditions.

Other cultures and traditions have similar associations with red thread. Theseus is said to have rescued himself out of the labyrinth of the Minotaur by following a red thread, given to him by Ariadne.

In Scotland, rowan twigs tied with red thread were believed to offer protection from evil and were often tied around the tails of cattle and above thresholds. Women sometimes wore necklaces of rowan berries strung on red thread for the same reason.

In Judaism, is the kaballah in which a red piece of wool is worn as a bracelet on the left wrist, knotted seven times, and anointed with Hebrew blessings – again to protect the wearer from evil.

Through these artworks I am exploring, whether the connection of the red thread to those important to us can survive life’s experiences (death, illness, misfortune, ‘evil’…) or is broken by them. ‘Red thread’ is an ongoing project that represents several years of research, development and experimentation. The complete project will be exhibited at ‘Da Gadderie’, Shetland Museum and Archives, during 2019.